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    2021 Skoda Karoq India Review | First Drive | Price

     

    Skoda Karoq Review

    Skoda was the first to show Indians way back in the day that you did not have to stretch your budget to Mercedes-Benz levels to have premium, well-built, and engineered cars. And that earned it a reputation as a very aspirational carmaker. But that was a long time ago.

    These days there are a lot more players in the market. Well, those brands offer you a small and more affordable car than they did before. It is the new Skoda Karoq that is coming to claim its place.

    Skoda’s reputation took a hit when it came to after-sales. Although that is on the mend and well, the product lineup has since stagnated into four products only. Most of which are niche-specific.

    All about to change with Skoda Karoq has taken the reins for the whole Volkswagen Group in India.

    Say hello to the Skoda Karoq an SUV. That will sit in the Skoda India lineup below the Kodiak. And above the upcoming Hyundai Creta rival Skoda Kushaq. But, unlike its two SUV siblings, the Skoda Karoq will be a full CBU import. That means it will attract heavy import duties. And it will likely be priced higher than its size suggests. 

    So, while it is about the size of a KIA Seltos on the outside. The price is close to its rival, the Jeep Compass. But coming to battle with one arm tied behind. But Skoda has a few clever tricks up its sleeve too. Tell us in the comments what you think of the Skoda Karoq?

    Skoda Karoq Exterior

    Skoda Karoq Standing outside

    I quite like the way it looks. It does not have the quirkiness of the old Skoda Yeti. But it has got that understated elegance that people love about Skoda. There is a resemblance to the Skoda Kodiak. But it has more conventional SUV proportions. 

    The front end is a little less extravagant. It has simpler designed LED headlamps and bumper. But over to the side, you will be happy to find prominent character lines and a sharp set of 17-inch alloy wheels.

    At the rear, you get the new staple of large Skoda lettering across the tailgate. And I particularly like the shape of the LED tail lamps. And while we are talking about back, let us talk about the boot. That is quite generous at 520 liters. The seats can be dropped at the pull of a lever to free up 1630 liters.

    And there are a few of Skoda’s clever touches like –

    • Bag hooks,
    • Velcro luggage separators,
    • Magnetized LED flashlight to help you change your tire in the dark,
    • And full-size spare tire.

    Skoda Karoq Interior

    Space in the back seat of the Skoda Karoq is good, but not one of these car USP. I am 6 feet tall. And well, I have got enough knee room and about enough Headroom. But I suspect taller passengers might only find it adequate. 

    They might also find that the backrest is a little bit upright. But apart from that, this is a great back seat. It is very supportive and very comfortable.

    And it is placed high enough that you get a good enough view out of the front. Plus, there are these quarter glasses behind me. That lets in a lot of light.

    And if you want more light, this car has a massive panoramic sunroof. So, it is more comfortable in the backseat than its exterior size would suggest. 

    The front, this being a Skoda, quality levels inside here are pretty high. They have added quite a few embellishments like brushed aluminum strips down the passenger side, chrome around the AC vents. And my favorite the digital instrument cluster, which is a highlight of this car.

    It is a practical cabin with loads of storage spaces. Like one down the center tunnel for your mobile phone. Although, there is no wireless charging. And this nice sliding armrest that reveals a big bin with cupholders that can be removed, if you do not want them.

    Skoda Karoq Interior with dashboard photo

    There are also big door pockets and even a small storage bay up on the dashboard. They have also managed to load up with loads of equipment with the likes of:-

    FEATURES SKODA KAROQ

    • Adaptive Full-LED headlamps
    • Auto headlamps & wipers
    • Digital instrument cluster
    • 8-inch touchscreen
    • Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
    • Panoramic Sunroof
    • Powered driver seat memory function
    • Dual-zone climate control
    • Tire-pressure monitoring
    • Ambient interior lighting
    • Keyless entry & go

    We would have loved things like wireless phone charging and three-zone rather than two-zone climate control. You have to admit they have chosen to include several big-ticket features like

    • The power driver seat,
    • Panoramic sunroof,
    • And digital dials,
    • ESC,
    • 9-airbags.

    Skoda Karoq Test Drive

    Before anything else, the first thing you notice is how comfortable these front seats are. The driver seat is power-adjustable including, 4-lumbar support. So there are many ways you can fit around to get into the perfect driving position. It even has a memory function.

    The next thing you notice is that visibility is rather good. The dashboard is low, and the A-pillars are thin. So, you get good visibility forward. And if you look in the rearview mirror. You get a great view of the windscreen at the back.

    It is the Volkswagen Group 1.5-liter direct-injection turbocharged petrol engine. And first impressions are rather good. It has a very refined low down, and as long as you keep it under 2,000 RPM, it stays that way.

    Okay, you might hear a little bit of a buzzing noise once you cross 2,000 rpm. But it is not too intrusive. When you get closer to about 4000 or 5,000 RPM it gets quite booming. That is only when you reach the limit in this car. And that seems rather unlikely because this is quite a relaxed engine.

    Skoda Karoq

    Performance Figure

    It encourages you to drive in a relaxed manner. It does not have a punch in the mid-range. Nor does it Rev like an absolute maniac. So you do get a bit of a step up in power in the mid-range as you would expect from a turbocharged petrol engine.

    But it is not a solid hit that makes you want to go for the accelerator. This car is best driven at 80 percent of the limit. Still, it makes 150 horsepower and 250 Newton meters of torque. So performance is pretty decent against our testing equipment it did 0 to 100 kph in a respectable under 10 seconds. And kick-down acceleration was pretty Swift too.

    Helping here is the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic the Volkswagen Group DSG. That does its part to make the driving experience smooth at lower speeds and shifts quickly at higher speeds.

    In the true Skoda fashion, they have managed to nail an excellent blend of the ride and handling. It is not perfect in either aspect. But then you could not complain about either of those aspects. Either the ride might have a very slight firm edge. But it still can not be called uncomfortable.

    And the upshot is that you get tremendous stability. When you encounter a rough road, and the Skoda Karoq suspension pummels it into submission with little interference inside. The cabin reminds you of the old Skoda Yeti.

    Likewise, the handling is not pin-sharp. Yes, the steering can feel a bit mushy in the corners when you are pushing it hard. But for the most part, it is easy to drive. And that what matters the most.

    And the way the suspension is set up, the body control is good. So, the Skoda Karoq 2021 has a nice middle-of-the-road driving dynamic that should suit both the enthusiast and the everyday driver fine.

    Skoda Karoq Price – 25 lacs Ex-Showroom India

    Skoda Karoq standing in the showroom

    Conclusion

    Skoda’s big India 2.0 plan is kicking in 2021. But it is got a few products to tide us over. Until then, Skoda Karoq is an excellent start with following the footsteps there is Skoda Kushaq.

    Sure, those looking for value for money size ratio in their SUV might want to look elsewhere. But then Skoda customers tend to prefer cars with a bit more substance to that end.

    They have made sure to spec the Skoda Karoq well with all the desirable equipment buyers want. But they do not seem to have overdone it either.

    Leaving out some non-essential equipment that you would find on the European model. They have left out all-wheel-drive which, seems fine for an urban SUV like this. But what this points to it is a price tag that might be more aggressive than we thought.

    The new 1.5 TSI engine is not the most exciting, but it gets the job done. But what Skoda fans will appreciate is the quality interiors of the all-conquering ride. The tidy dynamics and the solid build quality, and the right price. It may have what it takes to jumpstart Skoda back to the glory days of old.

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