Home / Home / New Skoda Karoq Driven; Coming to India in 2020


The new Skoda Karoq is headed to India and we’ve been behind the wheel in Skoda’s home turf in Mlada-Boleslav, Czechia.

Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI

The growth of SUVs, and their sales, too, is something of a phenomenon. Cars have grown in size with evolution logically adding a fair bit of kit to the mix when it comes to safety and connectivity. However, while large SUVs are popular, the masses seem to prefer compact SUVs over conventional hatchbacks and sedans. Whether it’s the all-road ability, capability of dealing with bad or even no road conditions, or simply the need to sit higher than the person in the car next to them, buyers are taking to compact and mid-size SUVs like moths to a flame. In India, however, there is a sub-four-metre onslaught, but when it comes to moving up above that bracket, there aren’t too many credible options. The Skoda Karoq aims to conquer that space.

Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI

Essentially, the Skoda Karoq is the next Yeti. The Yeti was a practical, sensible and capable car but, to a large extent, was let down by what many consider odd-ball styling. The Karoq fixes that by appearing more as a smaller Kodiaq than a beefier Octavia hatch on stilts, while incorporating the traditional Skoda design elements. The LED headlamps, ribbed front grille, and smooth proportions give it a very butch stance and it looks like it came off a clean slate.

Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI

The interior packs the latest goodies in the form of a full-colour dynamic cockpit display; derived from the Virtual Cockpit used in the new Audi models, drive modes, wireless charging, flexible seating, and, of course, extremely robust and tank-like build quality – a trait they’ve always enjoyed in the eyes of many.

Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI

The car we drove was the Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI in Sport Line guise. That means a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine making 150 PS and 250 Nm. The engine also packs Active Cylinder Technology which shuts down two of the four cylinders – being an evolution of the old 1.4 TSI that received it before bowing out. This improves economy. The Miller cycle, where the intake valve stays open for about a fourth of the compression stroke, allows for an improved compression to expansion ratio leading to better output from the air-fuel mix. This cycle needs a good amount of boost to work at its best and that’s where the turbocharger comes in. On the move, the motor pulls cleanly and sounds very refined and rather unstressed, making a good amount bottom- and mid-range grunt. As the revs pile, though, it sounds a little gruff and, as such, is happy being operated at the upper section of its peak torque band, or between about 2,500 and 5,000 rpm. The six-speed manual shifts cleanly and the clutch action is light and easy-going. The steering feel, brakes, suspension set-up and overall handling dynamics are commendable and very assuring of its capabilities. It’s comfortable and refined and is, dare I say, simply clever in everything it does.

Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI

The boot volume is huge at 521 litres with the rear seat upright. That expands to 1,630 litres with the seat-back folded down. Skoda have never really had issues with boot volume, have they? The seats are ergonomic and very comfortable, front and rear. Passenger room is plenty and there are a lot of smart and very usable storage spaces around for all sorts of items from water bottles to smartphones and knickknacks large and small.

The new Skoda Karoq is, simply put, a practical all-rounder that will probably get every job done regardless of how big the ask may be. It feels extremely robust and reassuring and there aren’t really any negatives to the car. Even the design looks very modern and appealing and should quash all not-so-good memories of the Yeti anyone may have. The efficiency of the petrol engine is claimed to be as high as 21 km/l, with a low of 15 km/l. There is also a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel with an equal 150 PS but higher 340 Nm of torque on offer. Both can be had with an optional 4×4 driveline, albeit not necessarily in “Sportline” trim. Expect a price of between Rs 17 and 22 lakh, depending on specification, when Skoda Auto India launch the car by the middle of next year.

Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI

Need to Know – Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI Sportline

Price: Rs 17 lakh (estimated)
Engine: 1,498 cc, in-line four, turbo-petrol
Max Power: 150 PS @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
Max Torque: 250 Nm @ 1,500-3,500 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed, manual, front-wheel drive
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
Weight: 1,278 kg

Story: Jim Gorde


About the author: Jim Gorde


Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible immediate future until hydrogen FCEVs take over.

t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia/@jimbosez


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