When Skoda introduced the compact crossover Karoq to the Russian market in February of this year, many immediately called it the brand’s future bestseller. They weren’t wrong. The restrictions imposed by COVID-19 have only temporarily delayed consumer demand for the successor to the now legendary Skoda Yeti. In post-quarantine June, Karoq became the best-selling Skoda model in our country for the first time with a result of 1737 sold copies, and also entered the twenty best-selling passenger cars according to the AEB. For comparison, the nearest competitor Kia Seltos was chosen by 1,415 Russians. What attracts the new Czech car?

To call it new, however, is rather difficult. Karoq has been on sale in Europe for almost two years. The delay in appearing in Russia was initially due to the localization of the older brother, Kodiaq, on the conveyor in Nizhny Novgorod.

In addition, it was decided to install domestic engines on “Karok”. The base will be the Kaluga 1.6-liter aspirated 110 hp. But it will appear even later – closer to 2021. At the moment, the price list contains two versions of the crossover: all-wheel drive with a 150-horsepower 1.4-liter TSI turbo engine and a six-speed “robot”, as well as a more democratic one – front-wheel drive with the same power unit, but instead of DSG equipped with an eight-band … “automatic “. Motorists skeptical about DSG should rejoice.

It was the last option in the Ambition configuration that turned out to be at our disposal. In February, we already talked about this car, now we managed to take a closer look at it in Russian realities.

The power unit and automatic transmission Aisin pleased with the coherence of their actions. The response to the gas pedal is sensitive and high-spirited – one hundred and fifty forces can easily pull a small crossover weighing a little less than 1.5 tons. The maximum torque of 250 N / m is achieved already in the area of ​​the 2500 rpm mark, and the “automatic” smartly clicks off closely spaced gears. Acceleration to hundreds in 9 seconds is a reality. However, there is also a reason for nagging. If at the start you “drown” the gas pedal to the floor, there is a slight hitch in the lowest gear – the gearbox freezes a little, the revs grow, and with them the noise level in the cabin.

Karoq can be switched to sport mode – then the box often goes to lower gears. This adds dynamism to the car, but without fanaticism.

The Kodiaq has also pleased with fuel efficiency. Karoq wisely followed suit. In the current realities, this is a powerful argument in favor of the model. Thanks to all the same eight gears and direct injection, my consumption did not exceed 8 liters in mixed mode, and in the suburban mode it drops to six liters. It is a pity, you can not pour the 92nd.

The advantages of “Karoka” include the quality of management. Frankly speaking, even on more expensive cars it is sometimes not so high. The steering wheel has almost perfect feedback – the crossover precisely changes its trajectory, perfectly maintains directional stability, does not fall into rolls even on sharp turns. Only fans of active driving should keep in mind the non-disconnectable stabilization system – if too sharp maneuvering, the crossover piles on the outer front wheel and loses speed.

The brakes are very sensitive – it will take a day or two to adjust. The pedal travel interval is small – I pressed it a little harder than it should be, the car bites its nose.

The suspension does not cause significant complaints, although minor irregularities in the form, for example, of road stickers in front of pedestrian crossings, work out harshly. But the larger the obstacles, the more confidently and energetically they are passed. When you drive off the asphalt onto a country road, you don’t have to be afraid of dry pits and bumps – the suspension successfully swallows them. Speed ​​bumps in the city are also overcome with minimal impact into the salon – the car does not jump, the suspension does not allow repeated vibrations.

But the compact Czech crossover in Russia had a very small clearance – only 160 mm. For comparison – in “Kodiak” it is equal to 188 mm, and in the platform Tiguan it is 200 mm. True, they themselves are larger. It is felt well even when you get out of the “Karok” – like a crossover, and like a sedan – it’s too low. It’s scary to drive into a sluggish country track – as if not to hook. A protective plastic body kit at the bottom of the doors and bumpers is encouraging – it is designed to save the body from minor damage. And the headlights, as in the “Kodiak”, are raised higher from the ground to protect them from impacts and stones. On the other hand, the car’s short overhangs improve its geometric off-road ability, so planting the Karoq in the field is actually not that easy.

But the new crossover is 16 cm longer than the Yeti – the length of the “Karok” is 4382 mm. Inside, the trunk is primarily pleased with the large dimensions – as much as 500 liters of free space, if you fold the rear seats – then all 1609 liters. Moving a family with two children to the dacha is not a problem. And the smart arrangement of the cargo compartment with hooks, nets, side pockets, an optional hatch for long things, for example, skis, helps to safely carry any luggage to its destination, preventing it from rolling from one wall to another during the trip. A stowaway is hiding underground. Additionally, you can order an electric boot lid.

The back row, if desired, can accommodate three passengers, but the central seat is not comfortable. Firstly, the seat back is hard, and secondly, there is a rather large tunnel underfoot.

If you put on a child seat, the three of us are completely difficult to go. But the two of us are the very thing – there is more than enough space in the knees, you can even lie down slightly, hiding your legs under the front seat, and there is enough space above your head for a comfortable trip. There is a wide armrest with cup holders, air deflectors. Heated seats and the Technology package, which includes a 230V socket and one USB-C port each front and rear, are available as additional equipment. But such a USB connector is different from the standard one and will not suit everyone – an adapter is required.

The front seats are distinguished by moderately hard cushions and good lateral support – you feel at ease on turns. And in general, it is not a problem to take a comfortable position, however, all adjustments are made manually – there are no automatic adjustment buttons. But the three-hour Sunday drive from the dacha wasn’t as exhausting as it could have been. Conveniently, the front passenger seat has an ISOFIX mount for a child seat.

The front panel reminds of the “Kodiak”, as well as the microclimate control unit. The upper part is finished with a soft-touch soft plastic. The plastic in the doors is rougher. Steering wheel – with leather trim and media system control keys and electronic assistants.

The Swing media system with a 7-inch touchscreen and 8 speakers looks rustic. Nevertheless, it is able to connect with a smartphone using a cable and transmit navigation or instant messengers to the central display. You don’t need a cable to talk hands-free – the smartphone connects to the standard system via Bluetooth. But periodically Swing loses connection with the smartphone.

In the future, there should be a more advanced Bolero media system with a large display and a rear-view camera. But the price of the car will probably go up after that. In the meantime, standard parking sensors help the driver to park. In the Ambition version, four sensors are initially installed in the rear bumper, as a “dopa” – the same number in front. In the expensive version of Style, they are included in the basic package.

On the other hand, dual-zone climate control is installed starting with the Ambition configuration, and within the framework of the “first buyer” campaign, it can be obtained even in the most budget Active configuration.

When the front doors are opened, a kind of flashlight turns on – it projects the Skoda logo on the ground. A trifle, but convenient – in the dark it helps not to be in a dirty puddle. Alas, the LED lighting package must also be ordered separately.

Continuing the light theme. The basic equipment of the Karoq is halogen headlights for low and high beam, but with LED daytime running lights. Full LED headlights are standard on the Style version and optionally on the mid-range Ambition. The Karoq’s LED headlights are not only aesthetically pleasing – they are equipped with an AFS control system that constantly adjusts the light beam to the current conditions – steering angle, speed and weather. For example, on a rainy night, she nails the light to the ground so that, reflected from the wet asphalt, it does not return to the cabin and dazzle you.

Our car also has a high beam assistant. In the dark, it automatically turns on the high beam at a speed of 60 km / h and turns it off when an oncoming or passing vehicle appears. Traditionally, the catch of such an assistant (on any cars) is that he is far from always able to detect oncoming traffic in time – sometimes it comes to nervous blinking from drivers following in the opposite lane. Therefore, you should not completely turn off the light control process.

But the cruise control, which is equipped with all “Karoki”, without any “but” an irreplaceable thing over a long distance. And for the city there is a speed limit function, also supplied in the database – it allows you to set an upper limit so as not to “catch” cameras. If you need to accelerate beyond the set limit, you need to press the gas pedal a little harder than usual, overcoming the resistance of the electronic assistant.

Smarter adaptive cruise control, which can independently accelerate the car, track the distance, stop and start again, will cost an additional 30 thousand rubles. In this case, the Front Assist radar, which monitors the distance to the vehicle in front, can be ordered separately from the adaptive cruise control. This assistant is able to independently apply emergency braking in the event that the driver does not react to a rapid approach.

By the way, parking sensors also have the ability to press the brake. If the driver persists and ignores the warnings, they will prevent the car from hitting an obstacle – provided that the speed of the car does not exceed 8 km / h. This function is disabled – sometimes the sensor does not allow you to enter the tall grass.

And now about the main thing. The cost of “Karoka” with automatic transmission starts at 1,387,000 rubles in the basic version of the Active, continues at 1.5 million rubles in the Ambition configuration, and the top-end Style will cost 1,673,000 rubles. Karoq with “robot” and all-wheel drive, of course, more expensive. 1,468,000 rubles for the Active, 1,580,000 for the Ambition and 1,754,000 for the Style. The nuance of the moment is that buyers of the first released car batches receive, as part of the bonus, feature packages from more expensive trim levels.

For comparison. Kia Seltos on “mechanics” costs from 1,130,000 rubles, front-wheel drive 1.6-liter on the machine – up to 1,390,000, and all-wheel drive – from 1,320,000 to 1,600,000. The range also includes a two-liter Seltos, which is supplied only to variator: front-wheel drive – up to 1,550,000, all-wheel drive – up to 1,840,000.

What follows from all this. First, the competition promises to continue. Second, there is no doubt that Skoda Karoq will not be left without a buyer. This is a comfortable, well-knocked, well-controlled car with a rich filling, already in the base has a number of expensive functions.