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Czech car manufacturing giant, Škoda, has just released a sporty addition to it compact SUV line-up. The new Karoq Sportline brings with it an impressive host of exterior styling revisions, which include gloss black front grille inserts, gloss black rear diffuser, Sportline-specific exterior bumper design, black roof rails & mirror covers, and 18” ‘Mytikas’ black alloy wheels. The sporty theme continues inside, by way of a flat-bottomed sports leather steering wheel, Sportline-specific front seats with fabric upholstery, darkened headliner cloth, and an aluminium sports pedal cluster.

The Karoq name, and its spelling, originate from the language of the Alutiiq, an indigenous tribe who live on an island off the southern coast of Alaska. The name KAROQ is a combination of the terms ‘KAA’RAQ’ (car) and ‘RUQ’ (arrow). The Karoq is one of a family of vehicles sharing the VW Group’s latest MQB platform – it’s effectively a sister-model to the SEAT Ateca, and is one of its chief rivals. Other competitors include the Peugeot 3008, Ford Kuga, VW Tiguan, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Renault Kadjar and the Toyota RAV4.

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Engines & Trim Levels;

With the new Karoq there is a choice of four engines and three trims levels – Ambition, Style and Sportline. Petrol power is supplied courtesy of a 1.0TSI with 115bhp or a 1.5TSI with 150bhp. Diesel engines consist of a 1.6TDI with 115bhp or a 2.0TDI with 150bhp. A seven-speed automatic (DSG) gearbox is available with all but the 2.0TDI engine, but four-wheel-drive is reserved only for the 2.0 TDI – in 6-speed manual guise. Depending on the engine and drivetrain chosen, annual road tax will only cost between €200 and €280, due to the low carbon footprint on offer.

Test Car;

My test car was a Karoq ‘Sportline’, 2.0TDI 150bhp, 6-speed manual, finished in striking Quartz Grey metallic paint. While the standard equipment in the entry-level ‘Ambition’ model is impressive, my Sportline model came with a ‘Bolero’ 8.0” colour touchscreen radio system with Bluetooth™, parking distance control with rear view camera, dual-zone air-conditioning, light & rain assist, KESSY (keyless entry, start and exit system) with push button start, Smartlink with voice activation, LED headlights with dynamic headlight control, customisable interior ambient lighting, hill-hold control, rear privacy glass, front fog lights, Front Assist, and a host of standard comfort, convenience and safety features. The only optional extra fitted to my test car was Škoda’s Virtual Cockpit, which is very reasonably priced at €594.

Spacious Cabin & Boot;

The new Karoq’s practicality is boosted by massive front door pockets, which can each accommodate a 1.5-litre bottle of refreshments, a removable bin and four handy shopping bag hooks in the boot. These hooks can be easily slid along a plastic bar for to accommodate larger shopping bags if the need arises. The new Karoq provides ‘best-in-class’ boot space, with between 521 and 1,630-litres available depending on the positioning of the rear seats. There is even an umbrella stored beneath the front passenger seat – such is the attention to detail that goes into every Škoda. The cabin of the new Karoq will please both the driver and passengers in equal measure, with masses of leg and headroom, making it easy to get comfortable for the journey ahead. A raised driving position combined with thin windscreen pillars, and big side windows, means visibility out the front, or side, is good.

 

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Sporty Dynamics;

On the road, the Karoq Sportline feels agile and sporty, while the steering has a natural-weighted feel to it allowing the driver to swoop from corner to corner with confidence-inspiring accuracy. My test car provided efficient and refined performance, while the excellent chassis produced a good mix of comfort and driving pleasure. With power ranging from 115bhp to 150bhp across the Karoq engine range, none of the petrol or diesel engines will disappoint even the most demanding of compact SUV drivers. Across the Karoq range, you can expect to achieve fuel consumption figures from 4.3l/100km to 5.5l/100km on an extra-urban driving cycle.

 

Pricing;

With on-the-road (OTR) prices starting at just €29,100, it is easy to see why Škoda refer to the new Karoq compact SUV as ‘The Compact with Impact’. The Karoq Sportline is priced from €34,850 OTR.

Fact Box

1)    Three Trim Levels

2)    Petrol or Diesel Engines

3)    Manual or Automatic

4)    Excellent Driving Dynamics

5)   Range Starts At €29,100 (OTR)