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Skoda Karoq Style 2023 review

John Law

It may be the smallest midsize SUV but Skoda’s genre-splitting Karoq might just be the perfect family car – it’s a shame there’s not enough stock to go around

Good points

  • Incredible packaging
  • Affordable servicing
  • Excellent road holding
  • Surprise and delight practicalities

Needs work

  • Newer ‘TSI Evo’ engine is smoother
  • Price is high on paper
  • Style only gets torsion beam
  • Need to option safety equipment

Skoda has had a tough run in Australia with the Karoq, its SUV that slots between the smaller Kamiq and three-row Kodiaq in the Czech brand’s lineup.

The midsize SUV is Australia’s most popular market segment, so the Karoq should be Skoda’s best-seller. Yet factory fires, chip shortages, covid shutdowns and extreme European demand have meant the Karoq has never been treated to a proper advertising campaign or media launch in Australia – let alone having floor stock for buyers.

To illustrate this, since arriving in 2018 Skoda has only shifted 4968 Karoqs while the segment-leading Toyota RAV4, itself affected by supply issues, racked up more Australian sales in just the last two months (5023).

Skoda Karoqs 2022

With the arrival of the more aerodynamic facelifted Karoq – it’s a handsome job Skoda’s stylists have done decluttering the front bar, adding new LED lighting and actually improving the Karoq’s appearance – this is set to change. Skoda Australia doesn’t have expectations of dethroning RAV4, CX-5 or Tucson, but from next year Karoq supply should improve.

It also means we’ve finally had a chance to sample the Karoq in depth, over the Great Dividing Range, about two hours west of Sydney. As before, Skoda offers two variants of Karoq: dearer 140TSI Sportline ($49,990 driveaway) and 110TSI Style in which we spent the bulk of our time.

The Style is front-drive only and is now $3000 more expensive. Skoda attributes much of the price increase to equipment additions such as LED headlights, wireless phone charging, front parking sensors and 18-inch alloy wheels, among other features add up to $4600 more kit, claiming that the new Karoq is, in theory, $1600 better value than before.

Skoda Karoq Style 110TSI 2022 rear 3/4

What hasn’t changed is the Karoq’s ‘goldilocks’ sizing. Looking at exterior dimensions alone, the 4390mm Karoq is more compact than a big midsizer such as the Kia Sportage (4660mm) and even shorter than a Mazda CX-30 (4395mm). Yet this SUV is truly big enough for four full-size adults and their luggage.

I’m already impressed, and we haven’t even got to how slick Skoda’s SUV is to drive. If we had the Karoq at Chasing Cars’ midsize SUV megatest, the crown may very well have ended up on the Skoda’s head.

How does the Karoq Style drive?

Skoda’s two-strong Karoq range is quite diverse. The Style we elected to spend our time in is a front-drive car with a 1.4-litre petrol engine, focus on comfort and fitting a torsion-beam rear end. The wholly more athletic 140TSI Sportline gets a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol, seven-speed DSG, AWD and the option of adaptive dampers. Pick your poison, says Skoda.

Skoda Karoq Style 110TSI 2022 driving

Ultimately, the Style is going to be plenty for most. The 110kW power figure isn’t going to set your world alight, but 250Nm torque is generous enough. The real-world speed difference between each variant isn’t as pronounced as you’d expect either, the Style’s 1400kg kerb weight is 165kg less than the Sportline and is still good for a 0-100km/h sprint in 9.2 seconds.

The 110TSI engine was considered a fairly sweet unit, but there is a sweeter motor that lives under the same name. In more recent Skoda products (including the soon-to-launch Fabia Monte Carlo) the brand has started rolling out the ‘110TSI Evo’ engine. The new motor’s outputs are identical, but greater fuel efficiency and refinement are the headline figures.

If there’s one crutch to the 110TSI Style’s experience, it is the slightly gravelly engine note. And although the eight-speed torque converter automatic is easier to get used to, it isn’t as slick or clever at speed as the Sportline’s DSG.

Skoda Karoq Style 110TSI 2022 driving

The facelifted Karoq is now fitted standard with drive mode selection. There are no adaptive dampers but switching the Karoq into sport mode firms up the steering and sharpens the throttle response. It’s a welcome shift, and amps the Karoq’s engagement on a back road. The Karoq isn’t a sporty SUV, but its roadholding is excellent and a keen driver will be engaged through the corners.

The Karoq’s chassis is expertly judged: just firm enough to keep body movement under control, but with a more loose-limbed, comfortable ride than, say, Volkswagen’s Tiguan, even on the 18-inch alloys shod in 215/50 R18 Michelin Primacy 3 tyres.

Around town, the Karoq’s small size and boxy shape make it such an easy SUV to thread down narrow lanes. There is a minimal rear three-quarter blindspot, and this SUV will fit into the kind of tight parking spaces that would make a Toyota RAV4 and Kia Sportage wince.

Skoda Karoq Style 110TSI 2022 driving

Skoda’s safety suite is fairly full in the Karoq and includes front AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, low-speed reverse AEB, adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. To get the full kit including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, as well as stop & go for the adaptive cruise control you’ll need to pay $5900 for the tech pack.

Drivability scorecard
Power & performance
Ride & refinement

How is the Karoq Style’s interior?

The Karoq fronts up a concept of buying once and buying nice. It may be more expensive than some peers, but the materials, build quality, approachable technology and surprise-and-delight features (for example, hidden umbrellas in the doors) means this is an SUV that may well keep growing on you over time.

Skoda Karoq Style 110TSI 2022 cabin

The Kia Sportage may boast a larger 10.25-inch infotainment screen, but Skoda’s 9.2-inch display with navigation and wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay (part of the $5900 tech pack) is more than adequate. It’s also so easy to interact with – certainly more so than Volkswagen’s Golf – with high-resolution graphics. The main controls for the HVAC remain below the touchscreen, too, so this is a very user-friendly SUV.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Karoq’s standard 8.0-inch touchscreen is small, so it’s probably worth opting for the pack. That is apparently very common, with around two-thirds of all Skoda buyers choosing to spec up their Karoqs with extra features.

Unlike the related Volkswagen T-Roc (although this is soon to change with the T-Roc facelift), Skoda appoints the Karoq’s dash in soft-touch plastic. Even the hard plastics below the beltline are a cut above those from Toyota, Hyundai and Ford thanks to their classy graining.

Skoda Karoq Style 110TSI 2022 driver's display

Adding to the tech pack, all Karoq Styles on launch featured the $10,900 premium pack that bundles electric leather-appointed front seats with a heated steering wheel and heated outboard seats. The leather gives the Karoq’s cabin a lift and should be easier to clean, but Skoda’s cloth is still a fine choice. Regardless of what upholstery, the pews themselves are supremely comfortable and supportive.

The same is true of the rear bench. The Karoq’s back seat is a nice place to be, with just enough space for my 188cm frame – headroom and toeroom are extremely generous, only the knee room is somewhat compromised. The door tops do go to hard plastic in the back, but a pair of air vents, two USB-C charging ports, a fold-down armrest and great vision out make the Karoq comfortable for four adults.

It gets even better when you start fiddling with the Karoq Style’s ‘Varioflex’ seating system. Each of the rear seat positions are individual; they can all be slid fore-and-aft, folded, and even removed. For maximum rear occupant comfort the middle seat can be removed, and the outboard seats slid inboard for extra shoulder room away from the doors.

Skoda Karoq Style 110TSI 2022 boot

The practicalities continue to wow in the Karoq’s cargo space. There are nets standard as well as a reversible rubber boot mat – things you pay extra for from other brands. Cargo space varies between 479L with the rear bench in its furthest back position to a vast 588L with the bench forwards.

Interior scorecard
Layout & materials
Cabin technology
Driver comfort
Passenger space

What are the Karoq Style’s running costs?

Tidying the Karoq’s visage up was about more than just looks, it also improved the SUV’s aerodynamics. In turn, fuel consumption dropped from 6.6L/100km before to 6.5L/100km in the combined ADR cycle.

We nearly managed to match Skoda’s claim, recording 6.6L/100km in testing. The Karoq also requires 95-octane premium unleaded fuel rather than the 91 some rivals – including the Hyundai Tucson turbo – will accept.

Skoda Karoq Style 110TSI 2022 driving

Maintenance is due every 12 months or 15,000kms matching mainstream rivals. Skoda now offers a seven-year service pack that costs $2400 for the Karoq, while five years/75,000kms costs $1550.

Traditionally, European cars have been thought as expensive to service, however Skoda’s plan is cheaper than the very similar Volkswagen Tiguan ($2200 for five years/75,000km) and more affordable than a Hyundai Tucson turbo-petrol ($1595 for five years/50,000km).

If you choose to buy a seven-year service pack for the Skoda Karoq, until December 31 this year, Skoda will extend its warranty cover to seven years/unlimited kilometres.

Running costs scorecard

The final verdict

The Skoda Karoq is one of the most impressively-packaged vehicles on sale right now. The compact exterior dimensions that make this SUV so easy to live with in the city manage to hide almost an excess of space within.

Skoda’s ‘simply clever’ surprise and delight features are helpful inclusions that make all of its cars feel a little special and really grow on you over time.

There is the elephant in the room of course, and that is price. Skoda is no longer the ‘budget’ arm of the Volkswagen Group it seems, and if you need a family SUV for less money, then a Honda CR-V, atmo-petrol Hyundai Tucson or Toyota RAV4 may be better choices.

However, if you want a midsize SUV that’s easy to park, big on space, packed with technology, has a slick European driving experience, efficient turbo-petrol engine and affordable service pricing then it’s nearly impossible to beat the Skoda Karoq… Provided you can find one.

Overall rating
Overall rating
Running costs
Overall rating
Running costs

Variant tested STYLE

Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges

Key specs (as tested)

1395 cc
110kW at 5000rpm
250Nm at 1500rpm
Power to weight ratio
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
50 litres
6.6L/100km (claimed)
Average Range
757km (claimed)
Front Wheel Drive
4382 mm
1841 mm
1603 mm
Unoccupied weight
1353 kg

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