The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Great news: there’s a wide range of adjustments on hand, so we reckon you should have no issues getting comfortable, whatever your build. This includes seat height and lumbar adjustment on all trims, and plenty of variance to the steering wheel’s height and reach.
You’ll also enjoy good seat support and a relatively high driving position – although it must be said that the Karoq is no skyscraping Range Rover. Even so, you’ll feel usefully taller than you would in a Mazda CX-30, and well above folk in regular hatchbacks.
Life is made easier still by well-sited, sensibly grouped buttons and switches, as well as the ultra-clear instruments. Digital instruments are available and are arguably clearer than the regular analogue speedo and rev counter. They also can show a good spread of information in an easy to read manner.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Combining a raised driving position with thin windscreen pillars and big side windows means the Karoq is one of the easiest cars in its class to see out of. Pulling out of T-junctions, manoeuvring around multi-storey car parks and changing lanes on the motorway is a breeze.
It also scores heavily over the Vauxhall Grandland X and Peugeot 3008 when it comes to over-the-shoulder vision. That’s thanks to its relatively slim rear pillars – a rare treat these days – which are a real boon when reversing. As a back-up, all models have rear parking sensors, with SE Drive models and above gaining front sensors and a rear-view camera. Jump up to SE L trim and you’ll get LED front headlights, too.
Sat nav and infotainment
Even in entry-level SE trim, an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system is fitted, and comes with beautifully clear graphics and simple, responsive menus. Put simply, it’s one of the best touchscreens in the class. And, while sat-nav isn’t standard, you do get SmartLink. This includes MirrorLink that allows you to operate and view several smartphone apps – including your phone’s sat-nav – via the touchscreen, and also provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Move up to SE L spec for in-built sat-nav with live traffic reports, along with a wi-fi hotspot, while top-of-the-range Edition trim boosts the screen size to 9.2in and adds wireless charging and gesture control. The latter is designed to let you swipe in mid-air to scroll through things such as music playlists; in truth, it’s a gimmick that’s tricky to master, and it feels more instinctive to physically swipe the screen instead.
Meanwhile, rear-seat passengers are kept amused, with the aid of a couple of holders for tablet computers. This is an inexpensive option that we’d recommend adding if you have young children. The standard stereo has eight speakers and offers reasonable sound quality, but music lovers can opt for an upgraded 550W Canton system with 10 speakers.
Borrowing styling cues from the Kodiaq, the Karoq’s dashboard feels more modern than those of the Tiguan and Ateca, while a few metal and piano black trims add a touch of class. You’ll find plenty of squishy plastics atop the dashboard and doors, while harder materials lower down still carry a good sheen.
It is not just the finish that’s good; everything fits well, too. This lends the Karoq an air of solidity and imparts a confidence that it’ll see out the rigours of family life. We have to say, though, that as good as it is, the Karoq still doesn’t have the visual wow factor of the 3008 inside.