Skoda Karoq SE L review
Is the high-spec Skoda Karoq SE L the best model to go for? Read all about it here
The Skoda Karoq is one of our favourite SUVs. It sits between the Skoda Kamiq and Kodiaq in the brand's SUV range, so it's a medium-sized car that costs around the same as the Peugeot 3008, SEAT Ateca and Kia Sportage. The Karoq is practical, good to drive, comfortable and efficient, so it's a great choice if you're looking for a family car.
If you've decided that a Karoq is to be your next car, you need to choose which model to go for. Here we're looking at the SE L model. It's a high-spec car, as it's more expensive than the SE and SE Drive models. However it's not a top-spec car, as the Sportline and Edition models are pricier still.
Four engines are available with the Karoq SE L. The two petrols are a 1.0-litre three-cylinder with 108bhp and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder with 148bhp. Both are excellent, offering a good mix of fuel economy and smoothness. The diesel options are a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with either 114bhp or 148bhp - these are great for fuel economy on the motorway, and for towing. Four-wheel drive is available on the more powerful diesel only.
All Skoda Karoq models are reasonably well-equipped, as even the basic SE includes cruise control, two-zone climate control, DAB radio, Bluetooth and autonomous emergency braking (AEB). SE Drive adds larger alloys, different interior upholstery, a touchscreen sat-nav and all-round parking sensors.
Yet we think SE L is the best model to go for in the whole range. It comes with all the equipment from the lower trims, plus 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, LED headlights, suede upholstery, heated seats, a reversing camera and keyless entry. It also gets a touchscreen sat-nav system that also includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for your smartphone. The touchscreen is one of the best around as it's easy to use and loads quickly.
There are some options extras to pick from, including lane assist, blind spot detection, a larger touchscreen display, a powered tailgate and a panoramic sunroof. Ticking lots of options can get expensive, but Skoda's extras are reasonably priced so there's no reason not to choose the ones you really want.
Unless you cover a lot of miles each year, we’d recommend sticking with the 114bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine, as it’s good value, economical and powerful enough. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes a reasonable 11.1 seconds, and it’ll return 44.8mpg with the manual gearbox. With its low CO2 of 142g/km, this engine’s also a good option for company-car drivers.
The 1.6-litre diesel engine with 113bhp is good for 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds and 55.4mpg, and is a fine choice for higher-mileage drivers. There’s also a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel that offers the same fuel economy figures and a 8.8-second 0-62mph time but it's a bit more expensive to buy. The 1.5-litre TSI petrol is a good choice for all-round use as it delivers 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds and returns over 42mpg.
The Karoq is nearly as good to drive as the SEAT Ateca but, crucially, it’s more comfortable thanks to slightly softer suspension. Big potholes won’t be so jarring in the Skoda, and it still corners nicely without too much body roll. Visibility is good, and there’s little wind or tyre noise at speed.
Skoda’s SUV also impresses with a fairly luxurious interior - especially in SE L, with its suede upholstery - and the Karoq features more soft-touch materials than the Ateca. It really benefits from VW ownership, as the build quality is up there with a Volkswagen Golf, and the technology is intuitive and familiar.
Skoda is thought of as the practical arm of the VW Group and the Karoq delivers on this with lots of headroom in the front and rear. Legroom in the back could be better but you can improve it with the SE L’s VarioFlex sliding seats. The boot is easily big enough for normal family stuff, and there are lots of clever touches like a removable torch and 12V socket in the boot, an ice scraper in the fuel filler cap and an umbrella under the passenger seat.
The Skoda Karoq is one of the best family SUVs, and it is great value in SE L form, which offers all the luxuries you could wish for. We doubt you’ll be disappointed if you go for the slightly less expensive SE Drive model but upgrading to SE L adds really useful extras and doesn’t cost a lot more. Plus, most drivers will be happy with the 1.0-litre petrol.