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New Skoda Karoq vs used Volvo XC40: interiors

Both of these family SUVs come highly recommended and can be had for well under £30,000. But should you go for a new Skoda Karoq or a used Volvo XC40?...

Skoda Karoq - interior

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Each car offers a wide range of adjustment for both the steering wheel and driver’s seat, including adjustable lumbar support. However, the seat in the Volvo XC40 is better shaped, so it’s more likely to keep you free from back ache on a long drive. As a bonus, it has four-way electric adjustment, whereas the one in the Skoda Karoq is fully manual.

You get big door mirrors and relatively thin windscreen pillars in both cars, but while the XC40 sits you slightly higher for a superior view forwards and to the sides, over-the-shoulder visibility is compromised by a rising window line and rear pillars that are thick enough to obscure a whole car. This isn’t such a problem in the Karoq. However, each car comes with bright LED headlights that make driving at night much easier and safer.

Both come with rear parking sensors, too, but it’s the Karoq that goes further by providing a rear-view camera and front parking sensors as well.

Volvo XC40 interior

The biggest difference comes when you compare interior quality, though, because the XC40 feels much plusher. True, the Karoq is solidly screwed together, but there’s more hard plastic, including on areas you touch regularly, such as the door handles, while the fold-out picnic tables in the back of the car feel rather flimsy.

A 12.3in digital instrument cluster is standard in the XC40; this is easier to read at a glance than the Karoq’s more traditional dials. However, you can add digital instruments to the Karoq for £470, with this setup being far more configurable than the XC40’s.

Infotainment systems

Skoda Karoq

Skoda Karoq 2021 infotainment

The Karoq’s system scores for having large, easy-to-hit icons and menus that are simple to navigate. There’s virtually no delay after pressing the 8.0in touchscreen, making this system much less frustrating than the XC40’s. Admittedly, the smaller screen doesn’t look as high-tech as the XC40’s, but we like the shortcut buttons at the sides to make navigation easier.

Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 infotainment

The XC40 has a 9.0in, portrait-orientated touchscreen. Its graphics are sharp and it swipes left and right like a tablet, but it’s not Apple-slick and many of the icons are quite small. Most of all, it’s distracting to use while driving. The standard sound system is very good, but look out for a car with the optional 600-watt Harman Kardon system with 13 speakers and subwoofer.

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