Skoda touts Karoq's 'van-like' roominess

The Karoq will arrive at dealerships in the second half.

Skoda unveiled its Karoq on Thursday, touting the compact SUV's generous interior room and luggage capacity as key selling points.

The Karoq replaces the boxy Yeti in the Volkswagen Group brand's lineup. Its launch is a key part of Skoda's efforts to expand its offerings in the booming SUV market to help reach its midterm goal of selling 1.5 million units, up from to 1.13 million last year.

Among the Karoq's features is a flexible arrangement of three separate rear seats that can be removed to expand trunk capacity to 1,810 liters, turning into a "van-like" SUV, Skoda said. With the seats folded down rather than taken out, capacity is 1,630 liters. Without the seats folded, capacity is 521 liters. The front seat also folds down to transport long items.

The 4382mm-long SUV will be offered with five engines -- two gasoline and three diesel units. The top diesel has four-wheel drive, while a new 1.5-liter gasoline engine has cylinder deactivation to reduce fuel consumption.

The top Karoq models will have a WiFi hotspot. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink connectivity will be standard or optional depending on the trim level.

Driver assistance systems include features to keep the car at a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, to make it easier for the driver to stay in a lane, and to assist when parking.

The Karoq has an "emotive and dynamic" design with many crystalline elements, Skoda says.

The Karoq will go on sale in Europe in the second half, joining the Kodiaq, Skoda's first large SUV. Skoda is also said to be developing a subcompact SUV.

The Karoq is underpinned by VW Group's MQB platform like the VW Tiguan and Seat Ateca compact SUVs.

Just as with the Kodiaq, the Karoq's name links it to Alaska to associate the model with the outdoors and adventure. Karoq is said to come from the words 'Kaa'Roq,' which mean 'car arrow' in the language of an indigenous Alaskan tribe. The Kodiaq's name links it with a bear and an Alaskan town.

Skoda did not disclose prices for the Karoq but German motoring press said it could start at 20,000 euros.

You can reach Paul McVeigh at pmcveigh@crain.com.


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