Currently, the Czech-built Karoq is available in one spec level and it is front-wheel drive only. A more powerful AWD version is expected later in the year. Pricing starts from an attractive $29,990 plus on-road costs for the manual variant, with the more popular automatic version at $32,290. For the money, the level of standard equipment is generous. In typical Skoda fashion there’s also a few handy extras such as an umbrella under the front passenger seat and a torch in the rear.
Like most European models, however, a comprehensive list of highly desirable options, including Premium, Tech and Travel packs, add significantly to the purchase price. Our Karoq, which was fitted with all three packs, as well as the excellent Virtual Cockpit and metallic paint, had an as-tested price of $41,590. While the Karoq has an excellent five-star ANCAP rating and a good suite of safety equipment, some of the advanced features designed to help avoid a crash, such as blind-spot detection, lane assist and LED headlights with AFS (adaptive frontlight system) are in the option packs.
There’s a strong Skoda family resemblance in the Karoq’s slightly conservative but practical body styling and interior. Clean, subtly rounded lines give the boxy-shaped SUV wagon an appealingly smart appearance. The cabin presentation, trim materials, instrumentation, switch positioning and controls all have the familiar VW Group look, quality and ease of use, and it’s nicely topped off with a dose of Skoda individuality.
Plenty of bolstering in the front seats provides good comfort and support. There is more head and leg room than expected in the rear and the luggage space is bigger than many of its peers. You’ll also find lots of small storage compartments throughout the cabin. What really sets the Karoq apart from most of its peers, however, is the rear seats’ clever VarioFlex system. Sliding, folding or removing the three rear seats individually allows a wide variety of configurations. The Karoq can be a five, four, three or two-seater depending on your passenger and load requirements. While removing the seats is an easy operation, lifting them out can be a little awkward and they need to be stored safely.