Sunday, 17 January 2021

Improved model ticks all boxes

Improved model ticks all boxes

A MEASURE of how popular the Škoda Karoq has become in a short space of time was when the 250,000th Karoq rolled off the production line at Mladá Boleslav in the Czech Republic.

The Škoda Karoq reached this milestone in late 2019 in just two years, which begs the question why?

Invoking the old adage size matters, it is clear that the Karoq appeals to buyers because it is the right stuff, or more accurately, the right size.

Among a plethora of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) available to buy today the Škoda Karoq is of the medium-sized variety.

Indeed, it is the brother-in-the-middle of three SUVs in Škoda’s line up, the others being the smaller Kamiq and the larger Kodiaq. This might prove a tad confusing to any buyer but is in keeping with most carmakers these days. It also gives buyers greater choice.

Carmakers today have tended to plump for making available three sizes of SUV. And it is that one in the middle — the medium sized SUV — that often proves the most satisfying to drive.

This week I have been driving a Škoda Karoq with the new SE Drive trim level. This new trim gives this already popular SUV a further boost. It is a while since I drove the Karoq and this 2021 model year version is much improved.

Standard equipment here includes 17in Aero alloy wheels, unique SE Drive upholstery and LED ambient lighting. Amundsen satellite navigation with Infotainment Online for one year, colour trip computer, front and rear parking sensors and a rear view camera are also included.

The extra kit would normally cost SE buyers an additional £1,345 in options but the SE Drive costs £855, offering customers a £365 saving by choosing the new model. The Karoq SE Drive is available with two petrol engines with outputs of 115PS and 150PS. I have been driving a car with a 1.5 TSI 150PS petrol engine.

I have said it before but it is worth repeating: these smaller TSI petrol engines in Škoda cars are quite superb. They are economical but what is just as satisfying is the consummate power these engines display. They are also available for this car, two diesels that generate 115PS and 150PS. The 2.0 TSI 150PS petrol and the 1.6 TDI 115PS diesel can both be specified with the excellent seven-speed DSG transmission.

For 2021 model year the Karoq will be available with optional
tri-zone Climatronic air conditioning for the first time and can now be equipped with Area View and Trailer Assist, too.

In the summer new infotainment systems were introduced into the Karoq as well as the Superb and Kodiaq SUV as part of model year updates.

There is the Laura digital voice assistant, and other online features, including Internet radio and wireless SmartLink technology.

A built-in SIM card has a permanent Internet connection, which enables Infotainment Online services to be used. Škoda provides the required data allowance for these.

Smartphones can be paired via wireless SmartLink technology and Android Auto, Apple CarPlay or MirrorLink, and infotainment apps include news or weather reports.

The Bolero infotainment and Amundsen navigation systems each come with an 8in touchscreen, while the top-of-the-range Columbus navigation variant has a 9.2in screen. Map and software updates or on-demand functions such as navigation for the Bolero system are updated “over the air”.

Owners can take their preferred settings with them when buying a new Škoda or access them in another Škoda — for example within the family or fleet of company cars, or when renting a vehicle.

Up to 14 owner profiles and one guest profile can be set up for each car using the on-board system. All data is stored online in the Škoda cloud and is constantly synchronised.

Preferred layouts for the Virtual Cockpit instrument panel and lighting settings as well as seat and mirror positions are all stored.

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