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2023 Škoda Karoq review

The upgraded 2023 Karoq: Škoda me the money.

All you hear about these days is inflation.

It’s driving the price of everything higher and higher. A lettuce is now a bargain if you can find it under $10, but it’s still the same lettuce it was 6 months ago.

Mortgage rates are increasing as the government struggles to stop prices racing out of control.

In fact, my colleagues at Finder have put together a whole cost of living resource about what’s getting more expensive, where, by how much and any other question you might have about inflation.

Inflation is stealing your money, without giving you anything extra in return.

Exception: the updated Škoda Karoq, where the good folks at Škoda are seriously adding value.

Yes, the price of the Karoq has increased. However, both grades of the upgraded 2022 Škoda Karoq have been kitted out with extra features and functionality in order to give you more bang for your buck.

With this in mind, we headed to the launch of the 2022 Karoq to see what has changed and more importantly, if it is really worth your hard-earned money.

There are 2 grades to choose from in the Karoq line-up:

  • The 2022 Karoq Style, which now starts at $42,990 driveaway. The previous model was priced from $39,990. While that is a $3,000 increase, the new style gets around $4,500 worth of extra kit.
  • The Sportline 4x4, which has also gone up by $3,000, has a $49,990 driveaway price, but similarly adds $4,100 worth of features.

What’s been updated outside?

Up front there is a redesigned bumper and grill, as well as new headlights featuring Matrix LEDs and new 18-inch wheels.

The new, extend rear spoiler is said to improve aerodynamics to the point where it reduces CO2 emissions by 1.2g per kilometre.

The Sportline 4x4 adds rather funky-looking 19-inch anthracite alloy wheels, full matrix LED headlights at the front and full LED tail lights at the back. The latter feature one of those interesting start-up animations you see people pointing at all over Instagram.

2022 Škoda Karoq Style

Hidden out of sight are new fuel tank covers, which are said to reduce CO2 emissions by 0.7 grams per kilometre travelled.

What is the 2022 Škoda Karoq like to drive?

Before I drove the Karoq Style, I had been in the Sportline for the majority of the day. Going from the top-of-the-line model to the entry-level vehicle wasn’t as big of a shock as I expected.

The Karoq Style comes with a 1.4-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that produces 110kw of power and 250Nm of torque. It sports an 8-speed transmission and power is sent to the front wheels.

For a family mid-size SUV, it does everything you want, when you want it. It won’t set any quarter mile records, but has enough grunt to overtake and get up to speed. For reference, it is 2.2 seconds slower to reach 100km/h than the powertrain in the Karoq Sportline.

It’s fairly frugal too when compared to rivals such as the Mazda CX-5 MAXX or the Kia Sportage. Where the Mazda consumes 6.9 litres and the Kia 7.7 litres per 100kms on a combined cycle, the Karoq Style will sip 6.5 litres.

At cruising speed it plods along comfortably enough – and some of the roads we were travelling on were in need of some pretty urgent repair. On these potholed roads, the ride was well sorted and despite some jolts, you couldn’t say that any other mid-size SUV would have breezed over them any easier – some of them were more craters than holes.

Jumping in the Sportline, you notice the firmer set-up almost immediately. Less sidewall on the tyres no doubt plays a part. No question that the new anthracite wheels, officially called “Sagitarius”, do look the part.

It also feels sharper, getting a more powerful 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and a 7-speed DSG gearbox. It feels a bit more playful and nimble and pushes just the right amount of power with the powertrain producing 140kW of power and 320Nm of torque.

Where the power in the Style is sent to the front wheels, the Karoq Sportline gets 4-wheel-drive which should give you better traction on a wide range of surfaces.

It is just as frugal as the Style too, consuming 6.6 litres per 100kms of travel. The fuel tank carries 5 litres more fuel than its sibling, which means that at today’s average fuel price in Sydney of $1.80 for unleaded 91, it will cost around $99 to fill up.

Despite the range of drive modes, we found ourselves in “comfort” most of the time – it is a family car after all – and that mode is a good compromise.

What’s the updated 2022 Škoda Karoq like inside?

In the entry-level Style:

You get manually adjustable cloth seats and a chunky, leather-wrapped steering wheel that feels great in the hand.

For the touch points and switch gear in general, Škoda is right up there in terms of quality. I was seriously impressed with everything from console bin lids to blinker stalks. They feel heavy duty and solid – akin to that solid door thud that we all used to hear.

So what about the 2022 Škoda Karoq tech?

  • There’s an 8-inch touchscreen for media and infotainment and the same 10.25-inch digital driver’s display. You can connect both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wirelessly. This is not a feature in the competing Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 Touring. In terms of interior features, the Škoda comes up trumps against both those models.
  • You get DAB+ digital radio and an 8-speaker sound system throughout the cabin.
  • Škoda’s software for the infotainment unit is easy to navigate. If you want satellite navigation though, you will need to tick the “tech pack” option on the spec sheet, which costs $5,900.
  • A wireless phone charging bay sits up front along with dual-zone climate control and 2 USB-C connection points.

Both grades offer plenty of storage too, whether it is in the door, in the centre console bin or the surprisingly deep-lidded storage area on top of the dash.

For a growing family, there’s plenty of space in the back. A good amount of legroom and headroom figures that are in line with competitors mean you won’t be left wanting in this department.

Interestingly, the big advantage that the Style has over the Sportline is a feature Škoda calls "VarioFlex", which is a system for modifying the rear seating.

You can basically play Tetris with the rear seats to accommodate whatever you need in the back. You can slide the 2 outboard seats forward to expose more boot space. You can fold them up against the 2 front seats for further space as well.

Kids having an argument? Remove the middle seat completely.

(Better yet, remove all of them and leave the kids at home.)

In the upgraded Sportline:

The seating is upgraded to sport seats, featuring a new super-breathable fabric trim Škoda calls ThermoFlux. The new seats also offer more bolstering and some silver stitching, lifting the premium feel.

If you’re a fan of leather, you can option a leather seats pack. For a small investment you’ll get electronically adjustable leather front seats, automatically folding door mirrors with auto dimming and a memory and tilt function.

Priced individually, this would add roughly $4,600 to the bill, but is offered by Škoda as a pack for $3,200, a saving of 30%.

Even if you don’t opt for the upgrade, stainless steel pedals and some decorative piano black and carbon looking trim around the cabin come standard.

The Sportline gets all the same tech inside as the Style. In both models you can replace the standard 8-inch touchscreen with a 9.2-inch unit that boasts satellite navigation. The pack has different names for both models. You can option the “tech pack” on the Style or the “premium pack” on the Sportline, both of which cost $5,900 each.

Adding this pack gets you access to a bunch of features including parking assist and lane assist (we've popped a full list at the end of this article). Škoda says that optioning either of these actually adds roughly $8,330 for the tech pack on the Style and $9,230 for the premium pack on the Sportline. This means you’re getting a discount of 24% and 36% respectively.

What’s the 2022 Karoq’s boot like?

With the VarioFlex seating in the Karoq Style, there are a number of different capacities, depending on how you arrange things.

General numbers for the Style are 588 litres of space with the rear seats up and up to 1,810 litres with the rear seats removed.

The Karoq Sportline doesn’t offer VarioFlex seating so it is a bit more straightforward: 521 litres of space with the rear seats in place and 1,630 litres with them folded down.

The Style is the clear winner here.

The verdict

The upgraded Karoq makes a compelling case for itself as a European mid-size SUV that offers value to Australian families. It’s stylishly designed and kitted out well, and I was particularly impressed with just how solid the build quality of the package felt.

Over the course of 2 days I spent time driving both trim levels of the Karoq. I never thought I would say this when a model has “sport” in the name, but I think the Style might just be the pick in the range.

Not only is the drivetrain nice to live with, but families get the added flexibility of VarioFlex for the rear seats. Not to mention that you can also add the tech pack for $5,900 on the Karoq style for roughly the same price as a Sportline 4x4.

That’s not to discount the Sportline though, it just depends what you are after in a mid-sized SUV.

2022 Škoda Karoq full list of options

Karoq Style

Tech pack: $5,900 (Overall: $8,330 in value, a 29% package discount)

  • 9.2” satellite navigation with gesture control
  • Full Matrix LED headlights with adaptive high-beam
  • Automatic parking assist
  • Lane assist
  • Surround area view camera
  • Traffic jam assist
  • Emergency assist
  • Ambient lighting

Premium pack: $10,900 (overall: $14,430 in value, a 24% package discount.)

  • Tech pack features plus leather appointed seat upholstery (black or ivory)
  • Electric front seats with memory
  • Front and rear-outboard heated seats
  • Heat insulating windshield
  • Heated steering wheel with DSG paddles and headlight washes

Panoramic sunroof $1,900

Side steps $1,200

Karoq Sportline

Premium Pack $5,900 ($9,230 in value, a 36% package discount)

  • 9.2” satellite navigation with gesture control
  • Front and rear-outboard heated seats
  • Heat insulating windshield
  • Headlight washers
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Adaptive chassis control
  • Park assist
  • Lane assist
  • Area view camera
  • Traffic jam assist and emergency assist.

Leather seats pack: $3,200 (overall: $4,600 in value for a 30% package discount)

  • Comfort leather seats (front)
  • Electrically adjustable front seats with memory function and lumbar support
  • Automatically foldable door mirrors with auto dimming
  • Memory and tilt function

Panoramic sunroof $1,900

Side steps $1,200

Side assist with rear traffic alert $1,250

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