Though SUVs continue to rise in popularity, there’s a decent percentage of people who don’t like the idea.
You’ll hear arguments against them saying they’re not very roomy for their size, and that an estate car or MPV of the same dimensions would offer much more space. In many cases, I’d be inclined to agree as some SUVs are often a bit like a reverse Tardis; massive on the outside but tiny inside.
However, the Skoda Karoq is the car to prove this statement wrong, as the endless practicality of our long-termer has never ceased to impress me in the last month. I collected the keys to KY73 YSU just before Christmas, and over the festive season and into January it’s been a hugely useful car to have.
Though the Karoq is only Skoda’s mid-size SUV, if you don’t need the seven seats that the larger Kodiaq comes with, I see no reason why you’d ever need to upgrade. The boxy shape of this SUV is a huge advantage and leads to a massive boot area.
Over the festive break, it swallowed a boot full of Christmas presents with ease, while also handling all of my many car valeting stuff, whether it was pressure washers, buckets and vacuum cleaners, all of it was fitted in with ease. Usually, I find this spills into the rear seats, but with the Karoq it was all nicely contained in the boot area.
I’m also a keen golfer and it’s surprising just how many golf bags won’t fit in the boot of many SUVs. But again, it’s no such worry with the Karoq as the wide and square load area means a set of clubs fits in with ease. Another win.
In fact, I noticed that during the first few weeks of running the Karoq, the only photos I’d taken of it were of everything that I’d managed to fit in the boot – really demonstrating its practicality capability.
My colleague who specced up this Karoq handily chose a plastic boot liner, which has been a lifesaver when it comes to our dog Merlot going in the boot. Usually, I fret about any dog being in a car but with a wipe-clean mat in the boot, there aren’t any of these worries, while the boxy shape, large rear window and low sill make it ideal for those with pets.
If you choose a mid-spec SE L trim level on the Karoq, as ours is, you also get clever VarioFlex rear seats. With these, each rear seat individually slides, folds flat and also forwards. You can even remove the rear seats entirely. Though I’ve never had a use to do this, I thought I best try it out the other day, and it’s a surprisingly quick process.
The seats are a bit numb to remove as they’re quite heavy but once they’re out, you have this huge boot area that’s ideal if you need to carry larger furniture, or for the occasional car boot, for example.
One bit of the Karoq that’s not so practical – albeit no fault of its own but rather my colleague’s – is the optional cream leather interior. Though it might look great in the showroom, it’s amazing how grubby it gets even with light use. I’m a bit obsessive about not having dirty leather seats and seeing it noticeably grubby (dye transfer from wearing jeans shows up easily) all the time drives my OCD mad. So much so that I’ve already cleaned the leather seats several times, and it’s just not a practical choice at all.
Over the last month, it’s also snowed on several occasions and though this Karoq is not a four-wheel-drive model, it’s proven fairly admirable in wintery conditions, while its 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine has shown to be a great all-rounder so far.
There’s only one element of the Karoq that’s been annoying me in the past month and that’s a slight rattle and vibration that seems to be coming from within the digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. Certain roads show it up more and it’s quite an annoyance when you know it’s there, and something I intend to investigate over the next month.
But aside from that the Karoq is proving to be a superb car for daily duties, handling anything I throw at (or in it) and being comfortable at all times. There are plenty of longer journeys planned in it over the next month, so I’ll report back my findings.