New Skoda Karoq vs used Volvo XC40: which is best?

Family SUVs have been gaining in popularity, but is a new Skoda Karoq a better bet than a used Volvo XC40 for the same money?...

25 April 2019
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New Skoda Karoq vs used Volvo XC40 – driving

Neither family SUV is a sports car in terms of handling, with both of them erring on the side of comfort more than anything.

Both cars have light steering that helps with parking, although the Karoq is a bit more precise compared with the XC40. Also, the manual gearbox in the Karoq is relatively slick when pitched against the rather rubbery, long-throw affair in the XC40. The XC40 is also let down by the softer suspension setup fitted to Momentum models, because it isn’t as controlled over crests and speed humps as the sportier suspension fitted to R-Design models. Side-to-side jostle can also be an issue, but this is a problem shared with most SUVs. Things are fine at motorway speeds, where the XC40 breezes over expansion joints and rippled surfaces.

New Skoda Karoq vs used Volvo XC40: which is best?

Overall, the Karoq is the nicer of the two to drive. It feels smaller on the road and the standard suspension has little trouble maintaining composure both in urban environments and out on faster roads, although the Karoq suffers more from suspension, wind and road noise than the XC40 does.

With each car sporting a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, you wouldn’t think there’d be much difference in terms of performance, and for the most part, there isn’t. In everyday driving, you’ll find either car to be perfectly pleasant, with enough grunt to get up to motorway speeds swiftly, and neither is particularly loud once at a cruise. The Karoq is the quickest to 62mph by nearly a second, because it's lighter and has slightly more torque at its disposal.

New Skoda Karoq vs used Volvo XC40  – costs

There’s not much to differentiate the two when it comes to price, because the £24,955 (without metallic paint – a £550 option) you’ll pay for a Skoda Karoq 2.0 TDI SE Technology is pretty close to the £25,000 you can expect to pay for a 2018 Volvo XC40 D3 Momentum.  

The XC40 is supposed to get the better fuel economy of the two, at 51.4mpg versus 50.4mpg, but in the real world, we’ve found that the actual figure can be lower than that. A D3 XC40 equipped with an automatic gearbox got 42.9mpg in our True MPG test, so expect to get a figure slightly higher in a manual one. Both the XC40 and Karoq will cost you £145 per year in road tax.

New Skoda Karoq vs used Volvo XC40: which is best?

Every new Skoda comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty with the option to extend it for a fee. The XC40 has the same warranty from new, so a year-old car will only have two years left. If you buy an XC40 from Volvo’s approved used program, though, you get the option of a 12-month used car warranty.  

Volvo finished in joint 20th place out of 31 car manufacturers in our latest What Car? Reliability Survey, sharing the spot with Audi. This is a better result than in previous years, but nowhere near as good as the seventh-place finish Skoda managed. We therefore expect the Karoq to be a more dependable family SUV than the XC40.

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