First look at the ŠKODA Karoq.
I recently attended a Product Training Day in Auckland to get a better understanding of the all-new ŠKODA Karoq SUV and how it weighs in compared to its competitor models. Although I’m sad to see its predecessor (the Yeti) being replaced, the Karoq stood strong against its SUV opponents in what is definitely the toughest division in the car industry today.
I’m a 27 year old Marketing Coordinator representing over half a dozen of New Zealand’s top motor vehicle brands. Chances are you’re here because you are researching into purchasing an SUV. If you’re purchasing a new vehicle in Christchurch you’ll most likely end up buying from a dealership I work for. If you have Karoq at the top of your list, well done, you have the prime contender in mind.
Unlike the typical vehicle launch you’d see in our showroom, the ŠKODA Karoq Drive Day Program is a launch dedicated for the dealer network. No canapés, bubbles and flashy reveals, we leave that for you guys. Events like these allow us to digest core product features and information before they are launched to the public so our team can provide the information you needed to make the right decision when you visit our showroom.
So how did it compare to the other models in its field?
To make this happen a selection of competitor models were made available for us to explore. We began to dissect the competition’s features, benefits, positives and negatives like scientists until we all got itchy feet and decided to ditch the lab coats and take it to the streets.
A 10 car convoy from Mangere (south) to Waimauku (north) and back included a number of stopovers as we reviewed each model’s suspension, acceleration, noise, handling, comfort, infotainment etc. Through the terrifying Auckland motorways and condensed traffic (I love the South Island) to some beautiful rural windy/hilly roads, the Karoq began to truly advance on the competition for me. By the time we returned to home-base I’d fallen in love, especially with the interior and exterior finishing, ride quality, driver assistance and infotainment system.
I couldn’t help but share this with you. Check out this awesome feature when you open the front doors!
Comparing the important parts.
When comparing the Karoq, common elements stood strong against its rivals. For me, those were:
- Styling and Quality: a touchy subject and a definite ‘each to their own’, but I thought the ŠKODA was easily the leader in interior and exterior finishing. The easiest way to describe it for me is – imagine you have one person in charge of designing and then manufacturing every element of the vehicle, everything fits with a purpose in unity. ŠKODA’s choice on quality materials also play a part in my comparison.
- Performance and Ride Quality: The 110kW diesel and petrol models packed plenty of punch whilst they silently went about their way. Noticeable compared to other models was the cloud-like suspension that retained responsive handling. It was an effortless, quiet and relaxing driving experience.
- Space and Comfort: let’s be honest, a lot of the current SUV models in the market are similar in space. With the VarioFlex option adopted from the Karoq’s predecessor you can now fold or remove the rear seats to begin your own furniture removal business. Did I mention heated seats?
- Safety and Driver Assistance: a 5 star Euro NCAP safety rating is a good start. ŠKODA’s Driver Assist technology; such as Blindspot Detect, Rear Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist and Front and Rear Parking Sensors, out-performed its rivals. I found competitor models to be excessively naggy, where the Karoq’s Driver Assist was relaxing and informative.
- Infotainment and Multimedia: The Karoq’s colour touchscreen really showed-off the vehicle’s modernity with a sense of luxury, even at the entry level. Smartphone connectivity such as Apple Carplay and Android Auto is effortless and polished, whilst the Amundsun Navigation system is a noticeable step above competitor navigation systems.
- Cost: Put it this way, for a Karoq Ambition + (entry level Karoq) to be sitting in your drive for $38,990, you’ll receive a lot more car than you would if you decided to replace it with the majority of top spec competitor models commonly priced at $55,000.
Special Edition Wheels.
As it came to the end of the Drive Program a transporter dropped off a couple of Karoq models with Anodised and Gloss Black machined finished versions of the Karoq Style alloy wheel. Don’t quote me on this, but for around $120 (speak to one of our Vehicle Specialists for actual pricing) a wheel, this really put the icing on the cake for me, so I took a few snaps for you to check out.
Please note that imagery and specifications may be of overseas vehicles and include optional extras.