Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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Launched in India in May this year, the all-new ŠKODA KAROQ is a dynamic, power-packed proposition for those who are looking for a premium SUV. With class-leading performance, build quality, safety and style, the KAROQ has what it takes to come out on top. Here’s an in-depth look at what makes this the ideal set of wheels for the discerning buyer

The upwardly mobile, new-age Indian car buyer is ambitious, and for most, the object of desire is a premium SUV. This is a very demanding set of buyers, so the vehicle in question must offer literally everything – styling, power, performance, build quality, safety, fuel economy, ride comfort, handling prowess, infotainment, and what have you. It’s a tall order but ŠKODA AUTO India, with the new KAROQ, is poised to deliver.

Power and Efficiency
For SUV buyers, what matters is what’s under the hood. And the KAROQ is amply endowed in that department. It’s powered by a state-of-the-art 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged, direct-injection petrol engine, which produces an impressive 150 PS of power and 250Nm of torque. This is a 1.5 TSI engine; that’s ‘turbocharged stratified injection,’ a technology that allows improved torque delivery at lower engine rpm, along with great fuel economy. So, more power and better efficiency – now that’s definitely in keeping with ŠKODA’s ‘Simply Clever’ tagline. But wait, there’s more. The KAROQ’s engine also features ACT (Active Cylinder Technology). With this, two of the engine’s four cylinders are automatically switched off in certain driving conditions, where a lot of power is not required. This helps conserve fuel. Of course, the minute you step on the accelerator pedal hard, all four cylinders start working again automatically, delivering full thrust. Again, this is the best of both worlds – power when you need it, with the best possible fuel economy.

Space and Comfort
In addition to its impressive power and fuel efficiency, the KAROQ also boasts dimensions that give it admirable road presence. The numbers (4,382mm length, 1,841mm width, 1,624mm height, and 2,638mm wheelbase) translate into a generous amount of cabin and boot space. The cabin, which can easily seat five adults, features carefully designed seats (with luxury-grade, leather upholstery) that offer excellent ergonomics. The driver’s seat is 12-way electrically adjustable, the front passenger seat is height adjustable and the 60:40 split rear seat means extra boot space is available on demand. At 521 litres, there’s already ample boot space for most everyday requirements, but with the rear seats folded down, this goes up to 1,630 litres – useful when you’re hauling some serious luggage.

To ensure that there’s never a dull moment when you’re driving the KAROQ, Škoda has provided an advanced infotainment system with a 20.32cm full-color TFT LCD touchscreen, and 8-speaker sound system. There’s onboard navigation, smartphone mirroring (certified smartphone apps and their functions can be displayed on the car’s infotainment screen), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, USB connectivity, and voice command control. The driver also has access to steering wheel-mounted buttons for controlling audio output. And finally, the KAROQ also features ŠKODA’s ‘Virtual Cockpit,’ which means the digital instrument panel is fully customizable; the driver can choose whatever driving data or navigation maps he wants to see on the panel.

Another thing that’s important in the Indian context is air-conditioning, and that’s very well taken care of in the KAROQ. There’s a two-zone automatic climate control system upfront, while the rear seat occupants get their own adjustable AC vents. The powerful AC ensures that the cabin remains chilled even when outside temperatures are sizzling hot.

Ride, Handling and Safety
ŠKODA makes cars that are great fun to drive and the KAROQ is no different. Its TSI engine is extremely responsive to driver input and the power is delivered to the front wheels via a 7-speed twin-clutch DSG automatic, which is extremely fast and precise. The suspension setup comprises McPherson struts with a torsion stabilizer at the front and a twist-beam axle at the back. Spring and damper rates are carefully chosen and work equally well on smooth expressways, and broken, pitted city streets. Great ride comfort combined with low- and high-speed handling prowess can be a difficult thing to achieve, but Škoda engineers have pulled it off with aplomb.

In terms of safety too, the KAROQ is second to none. It features powerful disc brakes all around, with anti-lock braking (ABS) and electronic stability control. There are a total of nine airbags in the cabin, which have been designed to keep occupants safe in all kinds of collision scenarios. There are also Isofix child seat anchorage points.

Another notable safety feature on the KAROQ is its AFS (Adaptive Front-lighting System), which has been designed for optimum illumination. With AFS, the headlamps can respond to changes in speed, ambient light, and weather conditions.

Best-in-Class Deal
As an overall package, the ŠKODA KAROQ is somewhere at the top of the leaderboard, representing excellent value for those looking for a premium European SUV. Riding on R17 ‘Aronia dual-tone Anthracite’ alloy wheels that give it an imposing stance, and with its sharp, angular, and very contemporary styling, the KAROQ has the street-cred which SUV buyers demand. The 1.5-liter TSI engine is refined, powerful and responsive, the high-tech DSG automatic transmission is unmatched in the way it works and cabin space, fit and finish, comfort, convenience and features are second to absolutely none.

For discerning SUV customers who will simply not settle for second best, we recommend you pay a visit to your nearest Škoda dealership today. Click here to know more.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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