First Drive

First Drive: Skoda Karoq 1.6TDI SE

The story:
Skoda has joined the crossover sector at last, with the Karoq coming in below the Kodiaq seven-seater as a rival to the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and CCT100 Corssover of the Year Seat Ateca.
Key rival:Nissan Qashqai
Skoda Karoq 1.6TDI SE
On sale:Now

While many manufacturers are launching small crossovers, Skoda has moved to fill a literally larger gap in its range with the new Karoq, a crossover slotting into the Nissan Qashqai and Peugeot 3008 category that’s bigger in terms of both dimensions and sales.Skoda Karoq 1.6TDI SE - Image 8The Karoq comes in three trim levels, and with two petrol and two diesel engines: 115hp 1.0 and 150hp 1.5 TSI units for the petrol and 115hp 1.6 and 150hp 2.0 TDI diesels, the latter being available only with four-wheel drive, the sole 4×4 in the range.

That gives it a predictable emissions disadvantage, although less predictable is that the 115hp diesel driven here is, in SE trim, actually less efficient according to the official figures that the 115hp petrol engine. That’s a bizarre anomaly that makes the diesel a borderline irrelevance for the company car market, because it has a P11D that’s £2,030 higher, so will cost another £27 per month on BIK. That pays for a lot of fuel, although the diesel, despite the comparable CO2 figures, is 8.1mpg better off on the outgoing NEDC official fuel economy.

The Karoq is the epitome of a sensible purchase. It’s unobtrusive to look at, because it’s an almost complete mini-me of the larger Kodiaq SUV. Park the two side by side and, especially from the front, one is a shrunken version of the other, rather than having its own individuality.

Inside is the same, all very nice, functional and spacious, with a big boot, but lacking in character. But it’s almost the perfect company car, and is a typical Skoda in that it does everything asked of it in a fuss-free manner. It isn’t exciting, but there’s a lot to be said of a car that fails to irritate in any major way, and just goes about its business.Skoda Karoq 1.6TDI SE - Image 2And that’s before you get to the excellent residual values, with KeeResources predicting a huge 48.3% compared with 38-39% for the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008 and Vauxhall Grandland X, and the Kia Sportage and CCT100 Crossover of the Year Seat Ateca at 45%. However, the Qashqai’s 99g/km and the 104g/km of the Peugeot and the Vauxhall do significantly put the Karoq’s 120g/km in the shade.


Paul barker

The verdict

It’s not the most characterful of cars, but the Karoq is a vehicle without significant weakness, slightly high emissions apart, that will do everything expected of it without fuss.