Skoda Karoq long-term test review

Can the Kodiaq's smaller sibling convince a long-time fan of estate cars that SUVs are a better option?...

Skoda Karoq long-term test review
  • The car  Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI 150 DSG SE L
  • Run by  Will Williams, photographer
  • Why it’s here  This is our favourite trim of one of our favourite family SUVs, so we want to see how it stacks up in the real world
  • Needs to  Be comfortable, smooth-riding and economical on a colossal commute, with plenty of space for photography equipment

Price £25,820 Price as tested £27,650 Miles covered 9750 Official fuel economy 50.4mpg Test economy 33.8mpg CO2 127g/km Options Three-spoke leather heated multi-function steering wheel (£150), upgraded Canton sound system (£550), Family Pack (£120), heated windscreen and washer nozzles (£250), Isofix front passenger seat (£35), metallic paint (£575), steel space-saving spare wheel (£150)

24 September 2018 – Saying goodbye to the Skoda Karoq

And so, it’s time to wave goodbye to the Karoq. A chance to impartially weigh up the pros and cons of ownership without allowing the nostalgic smog of a happy five months together to blind my verdict. But truly, living with the Skoda has been incredibly easy.

Some get their kicks from chasing the rev counter’s red line and getting your car up on three wheels round a corner. But the Karoq dishes out its thrills via the useful ice scraper concealable in the fuel cap, and the reversing camera which washes itself before use. This is living. Granted, it’s not exciting, but then that’s not the remit – or at least the primary one – for anything in the family SUV class.

Skoda Karoq

The Karoq majors on practicality, and that’s what counts here. The boot withstood all manner of practical chores thrust its way – be it moving house or carting around my photography paraphernalia. There was loads of helpful storage space around the interior, too. Being able to take the rear seats out was helpful but, admittedly, didn’t happen very often – I’m still convinced this is something we’ll see in more cars in the future though.

It was reliable, too. In our time together the only mechanical gripe was a tendency for the infotainment system to feel overwhelmed and freeze every now and then. But that can happen to the best of us. And I soon discovered that holding down the volume control for 10 seconds or so reset the system.

It was lovely to drive too, with a comfortable ride and a relaxing manner. Of the different drive modes available I soon settled on an individual mode that allowed me to put the steering in Sport mode – making it weightier – and left everything else in normal. It’s great that it allows that element of personalisation.

The one thing that didn’t quite float my boat was the colour. Skoda’s subtle navy blue didn’t quite do it for me; if I was to spend my own money on a Karoq I’d want it in the fetching Meteor Grey that Skoda offers. But that’s just personal preference. Like the driving position. If you love a high position then this is bang on, but I prefer a more low-slung stance.

Other negatives were only minor. On long journeys with other passengers I found myself wanting more than just one USB port. People struggled to hear me if I called them through Apple CarPlay, but my dulcet tones were crystal clear when using just Bluetooth. The boot got a bit stiff when it was open for a while. The sat-nav wasn’t great, either; I’d sometimes leave at one junction of an A-road only to rejoin it at the next one.

Skoda Karoq

Coming from a mile-munching diesel to this petrol I found the range a bit disappointing, too. The best I could get out of a tank was 400 miles, if I was feeling brave. Not bad, and I was expecting worse, but racking up the miles I do I think diesels still make more sense for me – especially as the test fuel economy I managed isn’t that impressive.

Despite those few niggles, though, we end on a positive note: the Karoq is one of the best family SUVs on sale today, and the way it makes simply living with it so easy is enough to tempt many owners into buying one. Certainly, I can see why you would be tempted. For me, it's one of the most practical cars I've had on long-term test, and yet more proof of why SUVs are fast becoming the go-to choice for family motoring.

Skoda Karoq - test data

Dealer price now £21,533 Private price now £19,140 Trade-in price now £19,602 Contract hire £339.68 Cost per mile 16p Total running cost £1610 Insurance Group 15 Typical insurance quote £501

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