Skoda’s Karoq has a lot going for it. It’s incredibly spacious, comfortable, well-equipped and one of the most versatile cars in its class.
There’s very little wrong with it at all, but perhaps one area where it always fell short of rivals was when it came to that sporty factor.
That was until Skoda announced a racier Sportline version of the Karoq, which sits very close to the top of the Karoq line-up. Think of it as a vRS lookalike.
Much of the Sportline’s changes are purely cosmetic, although it’s the only grade offered with the quickest engine in the line-up – a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 187bhp.
Styling highlights include 20-inch alloy wheels, black styling cues and sportier bumpers.
The Karoq is offered with a good range of engines – such as a 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine and a 148bhp 2.0-litre engine.
But the highlight is the new 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine, which is only found on Karoqs in Sportline trim.
The engine produces 187bhp and 320Nm of torque, and is able to accelerate the car from 0-60mph in 6.8 seconds and can keep it going onto a top speed of 131mph, which makes it the quickest engine in the line-up.
It comes paired as standard to a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive – the latter being a common feature on all Sportline versions, although a six-speed manual gearbox can be found on the 2.0-litre diesel engine.
Ride and handling
Willing engines aid the Karoq’s driving experience, with the model being surprisingly good to drive for an SUV.
It’s an easy car to drive, and feels quite dynamic in the corners, as well as offering minimal body roll for a crossover or SUV.
However, those huge 20-inch alloy wheels - undoubtedly they transform the way the Karoq looks and make it look like a hot SUV but the downside results in a firmer ride that’s not as refined as you might expect at motorway speeds. It’s far from uncomfortable, but it’s not as smooth or as refined as the standard Karoq.
Interior and equipment
The sporty feel of the exterior also extends to the cabin, with the Karoq Sportline coming with a leather sports steering wheel, Alcantara-trimmed sports bucket seats and carbon effect dashboard interior inserts. All this contributes to a sporty-feeling interior, but one that remains usable and uncompromised.
The quality is excellent, though, with plenty of plush materials used throughout and few hard plastics. The 9.2-inch touchscreen is also great to use, and offers a host of connectivity features.
And despite the sportiness, it remains just as practical as the standard Karoq – offering plenty of rear space for even taller adults, alongside one of the largest boots in its class.
As for equipment, the Karoq builds on the already high spec of the SE L. You certainly won’t be feeling short changed when it comes to standard equipment. LED headlights, a 9.2-inch touchscreen, an electric driver’s seat, LED interior lighting and a panoramic sunroof are just a few highlights of the Karoq Sportline.See Available Karoq deals
Prices for the Karoq Sportline start from £30,755, with the 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine costing from £31,835.
It might seem quite expensive for a mid-size crossover, but you have to consider the lengthy list of standard equipment included for the price, while this punchy new petrol engine also helps to justify the outright cost. As a model designed to sit close to the top of the Karoq line-up (only Edition grade is more expensive) it feels well-priced when you consider the model’s superb all-round ability.
The 2.0-litre petrol engine can be thirsty – only returning up to 33.2mpg, with CO2 emissions of 158g/km, although the 2.0-litre diesel engine is more efficient – managing up to 44.2mpg, with CO2 emissions of 134g/km.
The Karoq Sportline is a fantastic addition to Skoda’s popular crossover line-up, with its sporty bodykit being enough to appeal to many buyers – particularly while we wait for a vRS model to join the range.
Aside from its firm ride and thirsty petrol engine – two factors that could sway you towards the standard model – it remains a hugely accomplished crossover.