CarAdvice has had the 2019 Skoda Karoq as a long-term loan for the past three months, and now it’s time to begrudgingly give it back.
The Karoq has been a much-loved medium SUV while it’s been in our capable hands, with much of the office staff always happy to take it for a spin.
Only one variant of the Karoq is available in Australia, with the front-wheel-drive 110TSI priced from $35,290 drive-away. The 110 in its name comes from the 110kW and 250Nm produced from a 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine. Earlier this year, Skoda announced forthcoming changes to the range, with a new 1.4-litre 110TSI and 2.0-litre 140TSI Sportline on their way.
Our long-termer has a raft of options fitted, including the premium and tech and travel pack, 10.25-inch virtual cockpit digital instrument binnacle, 19-inch 'Crater' alloy wheels, Quartz Grey metallic exterior paint, and side steps, which pushes the price to $46,690.
The features included in those packages are almost endless, and to get the full rundown on them, check out our introduction review here that looks at them in detail.
Standard features, meanwhile, are just as impressive with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED daytime running lights, privacy glass, dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, keyless entry and start, a three-spoke leather multifunction steering wheel, automatic headlights and wipers, front fog lights, silver roof rails, two tablet holders for rear-seat passengers, a double-sided luggage area mat, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, a rear-view camera, driver fatigue monitor, and seven airbags.
Inside the rather handsome exterior styling of the Karoq, you’ll find Skoda’s famous 'Simply Clever' touches, including the removable rubbish bin in the extremely large driver’s side door pocket, LED torch and umbrella in the boot, and a plastic clip on the windscreen to place parking tickets.
The interior quality appears refined, but once you start feeling the door trim, the plastic is scratchy and rattly, with hard rubber covering the majority of the console. Storage is excellent, with a sunglasses holder, room for a purse in the central armrest, and a cubby housed behind the gear selector that covers even large phones on the optional wireless phone-charging dock.
The two cupholders can be removed and turned upside-down, which converts into a tray for your wallet or spare change. However, the glovebox is tiny, even with its small owner's manual in there. USB and 12-volt connections are found up front.
We found the layout of the climate-control dials nice and simple, but the position of them is placed low, which requires eyes off the road completely. The 10.25-inch virtual cockpit digital instrument cluster is of high resolution and clear, and even though this was an option in our Karoq, it is now standard in the MY20.
Strip lighting on the doors and dash, along with big and bright LED lighting, makes the interior shine and really shows off the abundance of white stitching on the seats that, mind you, are also heated. The driving position isn’t as high as, say, the Kia Sportage, so you will feel nestled in very quickly. It also has great visibility for head checks.
The second-row seating reclines and slides, and is rather comfortable, with a good height providing support for your legs and back. Head and toe room are fine, but if there are tall peeps in the front, leg room could be hindered. ISOFIX points on the rear outward seats can be found, and three top tether mounts.
The door pocket storage is huge, and with two wide map pockets and cupholders, back-seat passengers will have plenty of areas to hide things. Below the adjustable air vents with fan speed is a small shelf that is not big enough for a phone, but a phone or iPad can be attached to holders installed on the back of the front headrests instead. Another ‘Simply Clever’ feature. Also, for those who carry a lot of clothes, four coat hooks are in the second row.
The practicality continues to the boot, where the second row has VarioFlex seating, which can be folded, tumbled, and removed altogether. The standard boot size is 479L, and by sliding the outer seats forward that stretches to 588L. But wait, there’s more. With the back seats folded, it grows to 1605L, and with the seats taken out, add another 205L. That’s half the cargo space of a Volkswagen Caddy van.
The floor is very low, yet there is still room for a space-saver under the floor. Our Karoq is fitted with the optional electric tailgate, which can also be opened by waving your foot under the rear bumper, and taller folk will love how high it opens, too.
Power from the 1.5-litre turbo engine is sent to the front wheels and is matched with a seven-speed DSG transmission. We found the ’box to be a little jerky at lower speeds, and can sometimes be confused as to what gear it needs to be in when moving away from a standstill. There is also a fair amount of pedal travel on the throttle before the car gets going, which can take some getting used to.
But once the throttle is planted, it has a decent amount of power to get the SUV rolling at a quick pace, with a 0–100km/h time of 8.6 seconds and a top speed of 203km/h. The cabin is well insulated, but you can hear the car crashing over bumps on the larger optional 19-inch alloy wheels.
The Karoq has 'Active Cylinder Management' technology, which shuts down two of the four cylinders under low-stress driving, and can aid in fuel economy. For the time we had the Karoq at CarAdvice, it was averaging between 7.4–8.0L/100km, which is more than the claimed 5.8L/100km. Keep in mind it does take a minimum 95RON, so a visit to the petrol station will cost a tad more.
Skoda has a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. Servicing is 15,000km or every 12 months, whichever comes first. Below are the servicing costs.
We were very impressed with the Karoq. Its versatility, practicality, and features outshone some niggly things like its hesitant DSG and cabin plastics. It can sometimes be overlooked in the fully loaded medium-SUV segment, which we think is a downright shame.
MORE: Long-term report one: Introduction
MORE: Long-term report two: Cabin comfort and practicality
MORE: Long-term report three: Infotainment and tech
MORE: Long-term report four: Urban driving
MORE: Long-term report five: Highway driving
MORE: Karoq news, reviews, comparisons and videos
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