Skoda Karoq TSI Am­bi­tion+

The Karoq is a bit like the Tardis – it seems much big­ger on the in­side, says Cathy Parker.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

It’s a ve­hi­cle that is not large on the out­side – ap­par­ent when it is parked in my garage and pre­sent­ing me with ex­tra space to move around it, but Skoda still man­age to fit in gen­er­ous front and rear leg room and a well-shaped luggage area, which fits larger items bet­ter than some phys­i­cally larger ve­hi­cles. The Karoq is big­ger than a typ­i­cal small SUV, but smaller than most mid-size ones. For ex­am­ple; length­wise the Karoq is 4382mm, whilst a Mazda CX-5 is 4550mm and a CX-3, 4275mm. Driven here, is the TSI petrol model (the range com­prises two petrol mod­els in ‘Am­bi­tion +’ and ‘Style’ trim lev­els and the TDI diesel in 4x4 ‘Style’ trim). It is al­ways quite re­fresh­ing to drive a petrol ve­hi­cle af­ter a string of diesels; the petrol’s rev bet­ter and all just seem to have a dif­fer­ent driv­ing feel. They do lose out on the low­down torque of a diesel, and you do no­tice slightly higher fuel con­sump­tion, but this pretty much evens out when RUC’S are fac­tored in. The 1.5-litre petrol de­liv­ers the same power as the 2.0-litre diesel at 110kw, but at a higher 5000-6000 rpm range than the diesel’s maximum power peak, which is be­tween 3500 and 4000 rpm. The diesel wins the torque bat­tle with 340Nm trump­ing the petrol’s 250Nm. In turn, the petrol beats the diesel to 100km/h by 0.7 of a sec­ond (8.6 Vs 9.3) and has a com­mend­ably fru­gal 5.6 l/100km fuel con­sump­tion (5.2 for the diesel). Com­bined with the 7-speed DSG gear­box, the Karoq’s en­gine per­forms well, with just a lit­tle surg­ing from the DSG dur­ing low speed ma­noeu­vring. The on-road ride is nicely com­pli­ant, the seats hug you with great sup­port, whilst the steer­ing and han­dling in­spire con­fi­dence. The ‘Am­bi­tion +’ is the lower spec level; but is still gen­er­ously fit­ted out with a 9.2-inch touch screen sys­tem, which gives the usual phone, au­dio and re­vers­ing cam­era func­tion­al­ity, along with Carplay and An­droid Auto phone mir­ror­ing, but no in-built nav­i­ga­tion. Other fea­tures in­clude Emer­gency As­sist Brak­ing in­clud­ing pedes­trian safety, lane as­sist, blind spot de­tec­tion, rear traf­fic alert, emer­gency brak­ing when re­vers­ing out of a park, key­less ac­cess and stop/start and park­ing sen­sors. The ‘Style’ grade picks up nav­i­ga­tion, adap­tive cruise con­trol, elec­tric tail­gate with vir­tual pedal, dual zone air-con­di­tion­ing and elec­tric ad­just­ment for the front seats for a $4,000 pre­mium. You can add ex­tra cost options such as sun­roof, Var­i­oflex rear seats (three seats that can slide back and forth or be re­moved in­di­vid­u­ally to add to the car­ry­ing ver­sa­til­ity) and heated seats, whilst most of the ‘Style’ items can be op­tioned to an ‘Am­bi­tion +’. A great sur­prise and de­light fea­ture is the light­ing pro­jec­tor in the bot­tom of each front door that projects the word “Skoda’’ on the ground when said doors open – not overly use­ful, but very cool. Over­all, the Karoq is a great pack­age which lets you have a phys­i­cally smaller ve­hi­cle with­out sac­ri­fic­ing larger ve­hi­cle us­abil­ity.

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