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Skoda India’s fresh product offensive starts with new Karoq

S Muralidhar | Updated on May 28, 2020 Published on May 28, 2020

Premium features and above-average size in the segment could give it the edge

With the pandemic and its possible negative impact on demand during the months to come, Skoda might be missing out on having a hatchback in its current portfolio. The Fabia is a bit of a distant memory now, though most of the owners are still in love with theirs.

But, while it is missing out on a small car, Skoda is strengthening its mid and top range as part of its strategy for the next few years. The Volkswagen group company is still gung-ho about its growth prospects in the Indian market. Earlier this week, the company launched three fresh models as part of its plans for the year. The new Rapid 1.0 TSI and the Superb 2.0 TSI joined the all new Karoq premium compact SUV effectively bringing new vehicles across the price range from Rs 7.5 lakh to about Rs 35 lakh.

With the Karoq, Skoda has taken the lead, and the VW T-Roc will probably follow later into the market. Both the vehicles are built on the VW MQB platform.

Worldwide, the Karoq replaced the Yeti. With this premium compact 5-seater, Skoda now has two offerings in the Sports utility vehicle space. The 7-seater Kodiaq will be positioned above the Karoq in the price and size hierarchy. The Karoq that debuted here this week is dimensionally identical to the version sold globally, but the India-spec does have a lot of other differences.

Design

At about 4.4 metres in length, the Karoq looks like a spacious 5-seater

 

The Karoq has a very strong VW flavour, except for some of its specific Skoda signatures like the butterfly grille, the mid-bonnet creases and the unique LED elements. There is a sense of simple elegance and premiumness to the exterior design. At about 4.4 metres in length and with more than 2.6 metres of wheelbase, the Karoq looks like a spacious 5-seater and that 521-litre boot is understandable. The trademark butterfly grille with a thick chrome surround and LED headlamps with what Skoda calls ‘illuminated eye-lashes’ lend a lot of character to the front design. The high-set fog lamps with cornering function, the dual-tone 17-inch alloy wheels and the electrically adjustable panoramic sunroof are some of the other features. The C-shaped LED elements in the tail-lamp is another Skoda trademark. If needed, the boot volume can be expanded to 1,630-litres by folding down the rear seats.

The Karoq’s cabin gets a beige and black colour theme and the perforated beige leather upholstery gives the interior a big boost in quality. There are a number of chrome highlights and the design of the dashboard and centre console elements look clean and fresh. Vertically oriented aircon vents, a clearly divided, stacked dashboard and the high shoulder line also give the Karoq cabin very strong SUV flavour. The driver’s seat is 12-way electrically adjustable and offers memory function too. There is LED ambient lighting and there is 2-zone climate control for front and rear passenger comfort. The Karoq gets the new-gen Amundsen infotainment and navigation system with a floating capacitive touchscreen for driver interactivity. There are a number of wireless connectivity options that are available and the system also offers voice command control. Skoda has also developed a virtual cockpit and the digital instrument cluster is customisable so that the driver can enable all the relevant driving data and navigation related info to be thrown up on the screen.

Engine and transmission

In other markets, the Karoq is offered with a range of three petrol and two Diesel engine options, but we will only get the 1.5 TSI petrol engine. In fact, Skoda has, for now, eliminated diesel powertrains from its portfolio in India, except for the Kodiaq. But, Diesel engines are still in the reckoning apparently and may come back in the future, especially for the Superb. Though the Karoq gets all-wheel drive variants, the India-spec Karoq will be only front wheel drive. But it is offered with the option of a rough road package for enhanced engine bay and underbody protection.

The 1.5-litre TSI family engine delivers 150PS of peak power and 250Nm of peak torque. TSI stands for turbocharged stratified injection and it is a VW group technology that helps generate higher torque at low engine rpms from smaller displacement engines. The engine in the Karoq is mated to an automatic 7-speed DSG gearbox. The engine’s rated fuel efficiency is 16.95kmpl and rated top speed is 202 kmph. To maximise fuel efficiency, the engine also features active cylinder tech which deactivates two of the four cylinders during low power demand situations such as during cruising.

Package

The Karoq’s perforated beige leather upholstery gives the interior a big boost in perceived quality

 

The Karoq is offered with a number of electronic safety aids including stability control, hill brake assist and an electronic differential lock. Nine airbags are standard as are a raft of other safety features, one of them also being a tyre pressure monitoring system. The Karoq also gets a speed and exterior light sensitive ‘adaptive front lighting system’ that features headlamp swiveling and cornering function.

The Karoq is being offered only in one variant - Style AT - at an ex-showroom price of ₹24.99 lakh. Skoda also launched the new Superb at Rs 30 lakh and the new Rapid 1.0 TSI at a starting price of ₹7.49 lakh. All of them are BS 6 emissions compliant.

Published on May 28, 2020
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