Skoda Karoq Scout 2019 Review
The Karoq is one of many SUVs from across the
Volkswagen Group stable but while they use a shared platform and common
components, each brand strives to give its models individual personalities. On
the face of it, it is about corporate grilles, bold badges and varied marketing
but the changes go more than skin deep.
There are some wider Volkswagen Group styling
cues - from the high waistline crease to the angular tailgate design - but the
Karoq is easily identifiable with its Škoda face and similar proportions to the
larger Kodiaq. It is neat without being showy and it is a sensible size
delivering good interior space within a modest footprint.
And now the Karoq has been given the Scout
treatment: lightly ruggedised styling and some extra capability on top of the
sensible Škoda values we have come to expect.
On list price alone, the Karoq Scout is the
dearest in the range at 11 grand more than the entry SE, so what does it offer
to differentiate itself?
The styling elements - scuff plates on the front
and rear bumpers, covered sills and plastic wheel arch protectors - all add to
the chunkier appearance. 19-inch ‘Crater’ anthracite-coloured wheels complete
The interior is welcoming. There is an emphasis
on common sense rather than glitz but the material finishes and attention to
detail stand out, especially with the black ‘Microsuede’ upholstery with brown
inserts on the Scout. Despite a simply laid-out facia and conventional
controls, the look is smart and effective. It’s practical too, with plenty of
interior storage places and a flat boot with low lip easy for loading.
The Scout is available with all-wheel-drive and
therefore only comes with with the larger 2.0-litre diesel engine - but there
is a choice of 150 or 190 PS power outputs. This diesel offers decent torque
(340 Nm for the 150PS; 400Nm for the 190PS) which makes it an ideal model for
lugging kit about or towing.
Equipment-wise, it comes fairly well loaded and
in line with its rugged visual cues, includes an off-road mode with hill
descent control. Other less rugged styling additions for the Scout are the
chrome effect window surrounds and roof bars, privacy glass and panoramic glass
sunroof. Other kit highlights are the powered tailgate, satnav, auto wipers and
lights (with automatic high beam) and auto dimming mirror, all-round parking
sensors and a rear parking camera.
For anyone travelling off the beaten track, it’s
worth noting that there isn’t any form of spare wheel as standard, just the
repair kit - so damage a tyre at your peril. Ticking the box for an optional
space saver wheel makes sense.
The Karoq Scout also misses out on adaptive
cruise control, lane assist, blind spot detection and traffic sign recognition,
all of which really should be standard at the Scout’s price point.
On test we have the 150PS Scout, lively enough
and pleasingly frugal, averaging mid-40s mpg overall on a good range of journey
types. It is an easy drive: everything from the well-weighted controls to the
neat displays make it a relaxed affair and compared to its closest rival from
the Volkswagen stable, the Seat Ateca, the ride is slightly more supple. In fact,
it is an excellent balance of comfort and control.
In summary, the Karoq manages to be both smart and understated. It is also a testament to its good design that in many ways it feels unremarkable: it simply does everything extremely competently, without fuss or drama.
The Scout is a more expensive way to enjoy the Karoq though. Even in the more basic trim with the clever 1.0-litre petrol engine, it’s a sweet thing and offers a good balance of kit, cost and performance. However, for those after that little extra capability, the Scout might just be the thing.
About the Author
Andrew is a freelance motoring journalist with a background in IT and the vehicle leasing industry. With a lifetime’s passion for all things automotive, he can be found behind the wheel of everything from vans to supercars. In addition to reviewing the latest vehicles and technology, Andrew also runs a couple of classic British motors. He lives at the edge of the Peak District with his son and cat.
Andrew Wright @theMotorWriter