A studio image of the new Skoda Karoq
The ‘SportLine’ model tops the new Karoq range from Skoda

Four years after it first arrived, Skoda has refreshed the second largest SUV in its line-up by incorporating more sustainable materials into the interior, adding improved technologies, and increasing engine efficiency.

Over half a million examples of the pre-facelift Karoq have been sold by the Czech manufacturer, with company CEO Thomas Schafer “confident” this round of updates will maintain the vehicle’s popularity in a crowded market.

Changes to the nose see the introduction of a hexagonal grille and slimmer LED headlights, with top-spec versions of the 5-door family vehicle benefiting from Matrix LED technology for the very first time. Around the back, the use of LEDs has allowed designers to slim down the rearranged, two-piece tail-lights.

A front apron, air inlets at each side of the reprofiled front bumper, a body-coloured roof spoiler and revised alloy wheel designs measuring 17-, 18- and 19-inches in diameter complete the Karoq’s makeover.

Combined, Skoda claims these alterations improve the aerodynamic properties of the Karoq by reducing drag by 9%, to a Cd of 0.30, making it one of the most streamlined vehicles in its class.

The rear design has been tweaked to include slimmer LED tail-lights and a roof spoiler

Available in ‘SE Drive’, ‘SE L’ and ‘SportLine’ trim, an ‘Eco’ pack is being offered for the first time on all three. This adds environmentally friendly materials to the interior, including vegan, leather-like cloth for the seat covers and microsuede for the arm rests. Ambient LED lighting also makes an appearance in the front and rear of the Karoq.

Depending on trim, the front passenger seat comes with electric adjustment and includes a memory function, with electric lumbar support and the company’s trick ‘VarioFlex’ system that allows the rear seats to be split 40/20/40 both optional.

As for technology, there is a choice of two digital dash displays; the ‘Amundsen’ infotainment screen measures 8-inches on ‘SE Drive’ and is the base unit, although there is also a larger 9.2-inch set-up. Both can receive over-the-air updates for the sat-nav system, and have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, too.

Practicality is the same as before in the Karoq, so the boot weighs in at 521-litres rising to 588-litres if the ‘VarioFlex’ package is requested. When the back chairs are folded, total space rises to 1,605-litres, or 1,810-litres when they are removed entirely.

Powering the Karoq is a blend of turbo petrol and diesel motors using manual and automatic transmissions. Unlike many of its class rivals, the Karoq continues to be sold with four-wheel-drive.

The 1.5-litre TSI petrol uses cylinder deactivation that can drop the engine from four to two cylinders under light loads to boost fuel consumption. Producing 148bhp, a 6-speed manual comes as standard, or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic as an option. The larger 2-litre petrol develops 187bhp and sends its power and torque to all four corners.

For the first time some of the Karoq’s cabin surfaces are made from sustainable materials

Diesel fans can choose from one of two engines that are married either to the same 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG set-up. The 114bhp unit is front-wheel-drive and the higher-powered 148bhp motor four-wheel-drive if buyers opt for the automatic.

Safety aids such as front assist, pedestrian protection, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition all come on ‘SE Drive’ Karoqs. As for ‘SE L’, they get a larger, body-coloured spoiler, 17-inch wheels and external Aero trim.

Range-topping ‘SportLine’ boasts Matrix LED headlights and are differentiated by 18-inch rims and gloss black trim for the window frames, roof rails, rear diffuser and wing mirrors.

There is no word yet on pricing for the new Karoq, although a small increase over the outgoing model is expected to be announced in due course.

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