Skoda Karoq long-term test review
Can the Skoda Kodiaq's smaller sibling convince a long-time fan of estate cars that SUVs are a better option?...
- 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 11,046 Official fuel economy 50.4mpg Test economy 36.4mpg CO2 emissions 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)
3 August 2018 – Flexing and speccing
I knew my gym membership would pay off eventually. You see, one of the most practical tricks up the Karoq’s sleeve is its ‘VarioFlex’ seats. It enables each rear seat to individually slide and recline, but it also lets you remove them from the car completely.
This nifty disappearing trick is something you find in some huge MPVs, but it’s a rare trait to find on other cars. Not so with the Karoq, which gets these seats as standard in every trim apart from entry-level SE, where they are a reasonable £450 optional extra.
Just like a Houdini act, however, there’s quite a lot of effort that goes into making it happen. The seats are effortlessly collapsed and tumbled forwards with easy-to-reach buttons and levers, but the real challenge is lifting them out. Once they are liberated from their fastenings, they are very heavy indeed.
I’m not saying you have to be on a weightlifting training programme to be able to move them, but it would certainly help.
Of course, my biceps laugh in the face of such a task, but those of a less athletic build than myself (what are you laughing at?) could grow weary of lifting the seats in and out of the car regularly. But then, if you were doing it that regularly, you'd probably just buy a van rather than a family SUV. The point is, you will only need to do this occasionally, and when you do, you'll be grateful for its versatility and willing to put up with an arm workout in the process.
My appreciation of VarioFlex made me take another glance at some of the other features listed on my Karoq’s spec sheet. I’m very pleased with the optional extras we chose. Okay, the heated steering wheel and windscreen might not seem so crucial in the current Saharan heatwave, but the excellent £550 Canton sound system is something I appreciate the whole year round.
The only thing I’d consider adding that I don’t have is the automatic high beam lights. For £200, it would be a nice luxury to have for winter evening drives.