The Škoda Yeti was unique. Unique looking. In a sea of sameness it stood out. It was divisive but for those who drove it and owned it, it was peerless. It had personality. It was a pioneering small SUV offering a whole range of engines and transmissions to suit all buyers and their lifestyles.
Its replacement, the Karoq, has fallen into the trap of compliance and familiarity. It arrives after the massively popular Kodiaq which nearly won the 2018 Irish Car of the Year it was that good. The styling, and this is not an insult, is Mini-Kodiaq. The Karoq espouses the by now very familiar Škoda corporate look which is clean cut, crisp and creased. It’s just that I’d have preferred the replacement to build on the Yeti’s iconic image and be distinctly different. Still, I write about cars, not design them. I do however occasionally get exposed to car designers and have the utmost respect for them working in the ultimate compromise industry, car design. They did, however, score a nice design touch with the projection of the Škoda name under the door as it opens, cool.
I had the 1.5l TSi petrol Style (€32,315) model with that magical figure of 150bhp that surprised me in delivering 7.7ltrs/100kms which I reckon can be bettered. It is quite a potent car and for an SUV handles nicely, not sportingly. Škoda really are the masters of cleverness and seem to have added top quality interior materials to their quiver as well.
My stand-out clever item is the VarioFlex system for the rear seats, thankfully retained from the Yeti, which is an exercise in advanced mathematics to calculate the number of configurations available and are exactly what a multi-purpose lifestyle car should have. I wish they introduced a bit more colour inside as the black and grey is a bit boring now.
Colour selectable interior lighting just doesn’t cut the mustard for me, I’m afraid.
My hankering for the retention of the idiosyncratic Yeti look isn’t a factor for most buyers as there is currently a huge demand for the Karoq.
For a car that is all angles and sharp lines it is a very well-rounded car. There are, as you know, a lot of competitors in this sector and I’d strongly suggest you drive a shortlist of your favourites. I’d place a strong bet the Karoq will be on it.