When you’ve had to drive around the country on family business and at the end of a week you have clocked up 750 miles, you just thank goodness that you had a good car to look after you for the journey. And the car I had was the Skoda Karoq Sportline. It was just perfect – speedy, comfortable and good looking as well.
Skoda is a Czech car manufacturer which was started in 1895 by a company called Laurin and Klement. In 1925 it was acquired by the Skoda Works and then it became state owned in 1948. Nut then the Volkswagen group took it over in 1991 and it has become more and more successful with Skoda selling in more than 100 countries and 1.3 million cars sold last year.
The Karoq is one of ten different models which Skoda have and prices range from £21,000 to £28,000. This model has a range of petrol and diesel engines and you can choose between front and four-wheel drive. There are six trims with either a manual gearbox or the seven speed automatic box which has always been excellent.
There are in fact five engines which are either diesel or petrol giving you between 36mpg through to 60mpg and there is a two year warranty
The Skoda Karoq’s entry-level is the 1.0 TSI 110 petrol engine while the more powerful 1.5 TSI 150 petrol is regarded as the pick of the range with 148bhp and 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds. At the top of the range is the 2.0 TSI 190 petrol, which gets four-wheel drive as standard and is available only in Sportline trim with 0-62mph in seven seconds
There are two 2.0-litre diesels with either 114bhp (2.0 TDI 116) and 148bhp (2.0 TDI 150) with the 150 being just about as fast as the petrol model and that’s the car I had for my marathon trip – the Sportline model.
Mine also had a four-wheel drive which gives you more traction for extra confidence. I even considered going across a field to cut out a road hold-up but then things cleared so I wasn’t able to have some fun.
Being part of the VW family which includes SEAT, the Karoq sits on the same platform as the Ateca and Tiguan so there is a lot of items which cross that platform. But the Karoq is pretty agile with plenty of grip and certainly not too weighty. It handles itself extremely well.
The Skoda Karoq’s entry-level SE trim comes with an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system as standard, plus clear graphics and a simple operating system. But there is no sat nav which is a bit of a bummer but there is the Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring, so you can use Google Maps to help you home.
All of the other trims do have in-built sat-nav, while top-of-the-range Edition trim has a larger 9.2in system that can be controlled by hand gestures which is also optional on SE L and Sportline models. As standard, the stereo has eight speakers with excellent sound quality.
The dashboard comes from the bigger Kodiak which has a touch of class and nothing is at all cheap. Everything is solid which is a way of life with Skoda these days. These last 30 years have seen the company raise above the bar beyond almost comprehension.
The manual gearbox is light and easy to handle as is the clutch. The auto models can be a tad jerky when you start but generally they change gear smoothly and better than a human hand!
The Karoq has a raised driving position with thin windscreen pillars and big side windows which make driving so much easier. Pulling out of junctions or going through car parks and changing lanes on the motorway are considerably safer. It made my 750 miles journey something of a doddle.
As a back-up, all models have rear parking sensors, with SE Drive models and above gaining front sensors and a rear-view camera.