By Bill McCarthy
IT only seems five minutes ago since the stylish Skoda Karoq was launched in 2017. But now it has had an upgrade, looking even more aerodynamically stylish, with an upgraded interior, sustainable materials, more state-of-the-art assistance and safety systems and, to judge by the public reaction, attractive colours.
Together with bigger sibling the Kodiaq and small family member the Kamiq, it makes for an impressive SUV range. Very impressive in fact, offering style, practicality comfort, value for money and, on this model, excellent performance.
Upgrades include new body-coloured sporty bumper sitting below the wider, restyled hexagonal grille, smart roofbars, slimmer lights to front and rear, privacy glass and panoramic roof, and Karoq lettering is featured on the doors sills and 19-inch alloy wheels.
The new shape improves aerodynamics by nine per cent, which delivers lower emissions and better economy.
Latest upgrades include a new 10.25-inch virtual cockpit digital display and the centrepiece on this version is a 9.2-inch touchscreen, controlling functions like navigation, infotainment and smartphone connectivity. Bluetooth and DAB radio is available as is a permanent internet connection for Skoda services.
There are three trim grades, SE Drive, SE L and SportLine and three petrol and two diesel engines. All are well equipped,with this model offering all the bells and whistles you could wish for.
The microsuede heated and powered seats are comfortable and supportive with good head and legroom available. it also features brushed metal dashboard inserts, soft touch finish and smart multi-function two-spoke steering wheel and aluminium pedals while the SportLline logo is prominent throughout.
In practical terms, the split rear seats offer a number of combinations for maximum stowage, while the large, almost cavernous boot space has hooks and netting to keep cargo secure. It also features the virtual pedal, which allows you to simulate a pedal under the boot for it to open electronically.
On the road, the two-litre190ps petrol engine delivers plenty of grunt. Mated with a seven-speed auto gearbox, it hits 60mph in just seven seconds – an impressive turn for speed for the type of vehicle. It is particularly impressive on the motorway, cruising effortlessly with plenty in reserve for rapid overtaking.
It is a smooth and refined engine while the gear changes via the DSG box are seamless. It’s a sporty engine and a sporty suspension set up allows the car to handle well, while at the same time smoothing out the worst of our roads, while the car always feels stable and composed, particular on twisting country lanes.
When conditions require, Skoda’s tested all-wheel drive capability gives extra traction and has proven over the years to be a more than capable off-road performer.
Considering the performance available, it is still pretty frugal with nearly 40mpg claimed. Not bad for a car with 4×4 capability.
Skoda’s Simply Clever gizmos have been around for a while now and originally thought of as gimmicks, they are all in fact practical touches and include door pockets to hold water bottles, umbrella under the passenger seat, a mini waste-bin, which really isn ‘t that practical and the always useful ice scraper inside the filler cap.
It is packed with safety kit with a full range of airbags, and active and passive features which include stability control, driver drowsiness alerts, cross traffic warning, front race with automatic braking and a host of other features.
Skoda Karoq Sportline 2.0 TSI 190ps DSG 4×4
Mechanical: 190ps, 1,998hp petrol engine driving all wheels via wheels via 7-speed auto gearbox
Max Speed: 137mph
0-62mph: 7 seconds
Combined MPG: 38mpg
Insurance Group: 21
C02 emissions: 174g/km
Bik rating: 37%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles