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Time to Karoq & roll

Car of the Week: Skoda Karoq SE L 1.5 TSI
Price: £27,645 (as tested)

WHEN YOU have to do more than 500 miles over a long weekend in the recent inclement weather you need a vehicle that you can trust. And that was the case for yours truly as I made a round trip from London to Manchester via a stopover in Birmingham.

The said vehicle and my companion as I completed those journeys was the new Skoda Karoq. The small sports utility vehicle (SUV) market is full of good contenders, and the Karoq has already placed itself near the top of the tree in my humble opinion.

The Karoq is the smaller sibling of the Skoda Kodiaq – one of the very best models in its class – so to say expectations were high when it launched is an understatement.

The shorter Karoq has five seats instead of the Kodiaq’s seven and a slightly smaller boot, but there’s still plenty of room if you don’t need to carry six passengers.

It handled itself more than competently, not only on the capital’s roads, but also on the M1 and M6 with sheer class. I completed my trip(s) refreshed rather than stressed, which can often be the case with some long haul trips in the wrong vehicle.

Say goodbye to uncomfortable car journeys. Heated electric seats and ambient lighting provide home comforts on the move.

INVENTIVE

This Skoda is designed around what matters to you, whether you need to pop to the gym or head off on a cross- country adventure. It’s a self-assured compact SUV with a big sense of adventure. The spacious interior and inventive design creates a home from home, whatever you’re packing into your day.

The CANTON sound system, which belted out my Spotify tracks, was a useful aid on my road trip and is on the options list for £550. The heated windscreen and washer nozzles (£250) got full use, too, as the recent snow and fog tried its best to hinder me.

Families will be reassured that the Skoda Karoq was awarded the full five-star score for crash safety by Euro NCAP in late 2017, and it’s fitted with an impressive roster of safety equipment.

There are four trim levels and a host of engine choices; a 1.0-litre with 113bhp or a 1.5-litre TSI with 148bhp, both of which can return just over 50mpg and have CO2 emissions from 119-125g/km.

The most economical diesel is the 1.6-litre TDI with front-wheel drive, managing 61.4mpg with a manual gearbox or 62.2mpg with Skoda’s DSG seven-speed automatic fitted.

Higher up the range there’s a 2.0-litre diesel with 148bhp and standard four-wheel drive, able to return up to 56.5mpg.

The Karoq has a far softer suspension than many of its rivals, providing it with a better ride quality, but without losing too much composure.

I was a happy, and impressed man, when I stepped out of the Karoq for the last time. Skoda have built a very special SUV indeed.

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