Skoda Karoq SUV - Interior & comfort
Plentiful space and up-to-date tech make the Skoda Karoq a good place to spend time
Edition-trim cars fitted with the Columbus infotainment system look especially swish, thanks to a 9.2-inch glass capacitive touchscreen – even if it is a bit of a fingerprint magnet. For an even more advanced look, you can add Skoda’s optional Virtual Cockpit, replacing traditional instruments with a digital display. Interior build quality impresses, too – many of the surfaces feel more tactile than those in the SEAT Ateca and the Alcantara-suede seats of the SE L seem especially plush.
In late 2018, the Karoq Scout and Karoq Sportline versions were added to the range, bringing unique exterior and interior looks that favour off-road and sporty driving respectively. The Scout gets tough-looking bumpers and wheelarch trims, unique alloy wheels and protective underbody trim.
There’s no such thing as a bare-bones Karoq, with the SE trim boasting features like 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear parking sensors and even an umbrella under the passenger seat and an LED torch in the boot – two features the Ateca does without.
Another new trim level called SE Drive was added to the Karoq range in early 2020, fitting in between the SE and SE L. It adds 17-inch alloy wheels, all-round parking sensors, a reversing camera, LED ambient lighting and Amundsen sat nav.
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Upgrade to the SE L trim, and you get the VarioFlex seats, front and rear parking sensors, an eight-inch touchscreen, keyless entry, sat nav and LED exterior lighting, along with a reversing camera, Alcantara upholstery, heated front seats and chrome roof rails. This is an impressive haul of kit, especially when you consider that it costs £1,200 less than the equivalent Peugeot 3008.
While those trim levels should be perfectly adequate for most buyers, the Edition trim adds lots of extra features like 19-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting, leather upholstery and added safety kit to make Karoq ownership more enjoyable. Edition also includes the 9.2-inch Columbus touchscreen with wi-fi, gesture control and a wireless smartphone charging pad. But these additions push the price into Kodiaq territory, and the Karoq looks less like good value when it’s approaching £30,000 – or even exceeding it.
Added to the range in October 2018, but now discontinued, the Karoq Scout trim gave the SUV a more rugged look, thanks to different bumpers and side sills with silver scuff plates that were part of a ‘Rough Terrain Package’. The Scout model had 19-inch wheels and black seats with contrasting brown accents, wooden trim, a panoramic sunroof and a powered tailgate.
The Karoq Sportline, meanwhile, gets black interior trim instead of silver parts for a more aggressive look, while the bumpers and wheelarches are body-coloured. Inside, there are sports seats with ‘Thermoflux’ breathable upholstery, a perforated leather steering wheel, stainless steel pedals, a black headliner and ambient lighting.
While it might not be very exciting, we’d definitely recommend the space-saving spare wheel for £150. You can add the driving mode selector to SE models for around £100 and if you plan on going off road, the Rough Road package adds engine and chassis guards for just under £200.
To improve convenience, a reversing camera can be fitted to SE models for £300, while adaptive cruise control costs the same amount for any trim. A heated windscreen and washer jets could be £250 well spent in winter, although that much money does buy a lot of antifreeze if you don’t mind standing in the cold.
Upgrading the SE L model to the Columbus infotainment system costs £1,000, while an enhanced Canton sound system costs around £550. It’s also possible to add Skoda’s Virtual Cockpit digital instruments, that allows you to customise views and even prioritise the sat nav over traditional information. This costs just under £500, which seems a bit steep when a digital instrument display comes as standard in rivals like the Peugeot 3008.