There seemed to be universal approval for the Yeti that Skoda launched in 2009, but now the Czech-based company has dispensed with the funky-looking Yeti and replaced it with the Karoq. The Yeti arrived in the midst of a recession when motorists wanted a durable car that provided value for money.
One critic said that it was an ‘abominable decision’ by Skoda to get rid of the Yeti. That probably sums it up; the Yeti spawned some terrible headlines.
Obviously the change of name and direction has much to do with marketing, but I would be reluctant to criticise Skoda as over the past 27 years they have grown very strong. When VW took over Skoda in 1991 the company had become a joke after the communist regime had ruined a respected car manufacturer by producing inferior cars.
Skoda has blossomed under VW, with sales of over 15 million, but I suppose one of the downsides of sharing platforms with other cars in the VW group is that you end up with similar looking cars. And that’s why the Yeti’s replacement, the Karoq is being likened to the Seat Arona and VW Tiguan.
The boxy profile of the Yeti is gone and we now get a car with a sleeker appearance, more in keeping with the current design being rolled out by Skoda. The Karoq could be described as a more compact version of the classy looking Kodiaq which comes in five and seven seats. The Karoq only has only five seats. For Skoda ‘K’ seems to be the letter in vogue right now.
I’m sure Skoda are well aware that the competition in this sector is tough where they will be competing with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai Tucson for customers. But I know it’s a challenge the marketing people in Skoda’s Liffey Valley headquarters will relish.
I liked the high driving position and the massive sun roof. And if it’s speed you are after, you can get from zero to 100/km/h in just over eight seconds. Skoda is famous for their little clip on the windscreen which will hold your parking ticket. My test car had iPad holders for rear-seat occupants, but I reckon they would be regarded as an extra.
On the dash you get an easy to use 9.2-inch infotainment screen which has Apple CarPlay. There is plenty of leg and head room for five well-built adults. The boot space is massive and the really good news is that you get a proper spare wheel, rather than a repair kit.
Prices start at €26,950 for the 1.0-litre Ambition version. The 1.6-litre diesel I drove starts at €29,100 for the Ambition version, while the higher speced Style version will cost you €31,700. Road tax is €270.
The Yeti was funky-looking, but its replacement the Karoq is really class. It was a pleasure to drive and travel in.
The visit of Pope Francis to Ireland at the end of August provided Skoda with some great publicity as he used their neat Rapid to get around. I think the Pope should upgrade to the Karoq, which would provide him with much better views of the places he travels to.