The entry-level 1.0-litre engine is surprisingly sprightly and has good low-down shove, which is ideal if you spend most of your time in town. However, we would advise buying a gruntier engine if you frequently cover big miles or carry heavy loads. The 1.6 TDI is more flexible and the ideal choice for company car users looking to keep their monthly tax bill low, but of the diesels it’s the 2.0 TDI that offers the best blend of power and economy.
With 148bhp and 251lb ft of torque, the 2.0-litre unit’s straight-line performance is more than adequate and, thanks to a slick DSG gearbox (a six-speed manual is also available) with well-spaced ratios, the engine is kept suitably quiet at cruising speeds. In fact, if you’re planning on travelling five up with luggage on a regular basis, you’ll appreciate the firepower under the bonnet.
However, we’re most smitten by the 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol. It has an identical 148bhp as the diesel that proves to be a great match with the Karoq, delivering punchy performance in a refined manner. There’s plenty of power from low in the rev range, so you don’t have to work the engine hard to make reasonable progress, and the 0-60mph sprint takes a brisk 8.1sec. That’s enough to whisk you and your family up to motorway speeds on all but the shortest of slip roads. Our only criticism is that an equivalent Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 feels just a little sprightlier still.