Czech mate – Meet our new Skoda

Six months with the Skoda Karoq, will it can come out on top in the competitive crossover market?

Date: 11 March 2019 | Current mileage: 357 | Claimed economy: 44.1 - 42.8mpg | Actual economy: 37.4mpg

I probably shouldn't say this, but I didn't want the Karoq as my long term test car. Why? Because its introduction killed off one of my favourite motors, the Skoda Yeti.

Forgiveness is all about letting go of negative feelings, however, so I've decided to give the shameless Yeti murderer!!!...sorry...I mean...the Karoq, a chance to show me it's the worthy heir to the departed (sniff) Yeti. 

Skoda was kind enough to give me free rein when it came to choosing the model and spec of the Karoq, so I chose the 2.0 TDI 150PS diesel. However, being an outdoorsy type, I opted for the Scout model because it adds four-wheel drive and underbody protection.

I'm not a hardcore off-roader, by any means, but I do enjoy moutain biking and kite-flying. And these activities usually require a car that's capable of handling muddy fields, rutted farm tracks and uneven stone roads. Skoda tell me that the Karoq will take all of this in its stride.

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I'm going to be blunt and say the Karoq is nothing special to look at; the design has all the hallmarks of the Volkswagen Group SUV task force, with bland styling and an anonymous design that makes it rather difficult to tell apart from cars like the Tiguan and Ateca. But the Karoq does have an ace up its sleeve, namely its impressive cabin.

Not only does the Karoq provide significantly more space than the old Yeti, but the fit and finish inside is a big step up in quality too. The buttons, for example, operate with a suppressed thud while the leather trimmed steering wheel (standard across the range) and dashboard has a premium smooth finish that gives the impression you are driving something much more expensive.

The Karoq gets a huge 588-litre boot with a waist height loading lip that makes it more practical and user friendly than a BMW 5 Series Touring. You also get Skoda's 'Simply Clever' features, with a bright yellow ice scraper situated next to the fuel cap and a removable LED torch that’s located in the side of the boot wall.

I've only had the Karoq a few days, but it's clear that I may have been a little hasty in writing it off. For sure, the character of the old car has gone, but it's been replaced with something altogether more sophisticated and upmarket. I think I might actually like it...

Getting bad vibrations in the Skoda Karoq

It might be brand new, but the Skoda Karoq has been forced into the workshop to fix a strange door vibration.

Date: 25 March 2019 | Current mileage: 873 | Claimed economy: 44.1 - 42.8mpg | Actual economy: 38.7mpg

Things were going so well. The sun was shining, the birds singing and spring was in the air. I was enjoying life with the Skoda Karoq, but then, out of nowhere, a strange noise started to emerge from the front passenger door. And my serenity was replaced with a growing, buzzing sense of frustrating.

Being a car journalist, I've developed sensitive hearing to strange car noises over the years and it was obvious that something was wrong. At first, I assumed it was a loose door pocket clip. So I stuffed a jumper into it to see if that might muffle the vibration. But to no avail - the sound was coming from within the door. And nothing I did would stop it.

This resulted in a trip to my local Skoda dealer (Vindis Cambridge) to have the Karoq inspected by someone who wouldn't try and solve a car's problems by stuffing a dirty jumper into it. And within five minutes the issue was identified as a loose bit of plastic within the door card.  

The fix itself took 40 minutes, as the workshop staff had to remove the plastic panel and then realign it. Apparently an internal part of the door card had slipped and was bouncing off another plastic component, which explained why the buzzing sound would become deafening when the radio was on or the car was covering rough roads. Yet, within an hour of arriving at Vindis' shiny workshop, I was back behind the wheel and enjoying the spring again.

Vindis Service Cambridge 08_18 088

The Karoq has covered almost 900 miles now and is feeling somewhat run-in, with fuel economy improving to the high 30s. The gearbox and engine are also starting to loosen up, which means the Karoq has passed that horrible, rigid new car phase and starting to feel more relaxed with lighter gear changes and lower engine noise.

The 2.0 TDI engine develops 150PS and feels well matched to the Karoq's 1.5 tonne kerb weight, with 0-62mph taking a respectable nine seconds. The four-wheel drive system also provides a vice-like road grip quality, which means you can push the Skoda along on twisty A roads without causing the tyres to shriek in protest.

However, while the Karoq is a competent car to nudge along on the bendy stuff, it's on the motorway where it truly excels. The pedals, for example, have a soft action that requires little more than a gentle foot motion to generate acceleration or reduce speed. The steering is light too and again require a light touch to change lanes or navigate a slipway.

If I'm honest, the Karoq's refinement has been surprising. Being the 4x4 Scout model on 19-inch wheels, I expected a bumpy and jarring ride quality that would have my passengers reaching for the sick bag on less than perfect roads. However, following a few long runs, my passengers are usually fast asleep. Which means I'm either a dull driver or this is one seriously comfortable car.

Mud, glorious mud!

How does the Karoq Scout cope with muddy farm tracks and light off roading?

Date: 8 April 2019 | Current mileage: 1447 | Claimed economy: 44.1 - 42.8mpg | Actual economy: 38.9mpg

The Karoq Scout has been earning its muddy stripes these past few weeks. I've been getting its white paintwork dirty and using it as transport for my mountain bikes to various tacks in and around East Anglia.

I don't really consider myself an off-road enthusiast, but the four-wheel drive system makes it easy for a novice like myself to navigate muddy roads and farmland. Most of the 4x4 jiggery-pokery is automatic, which means you simply point the Karoq Scout in the direction you want to go and it does the rest.

There is an off-road button that activates the downhill assist system that keeps the car at a constant speed when travelling down a steep descent, but that is as far as the driver input goes. The infotainment system displays off-road details about the vehicle's actual position, while additional underbody protection keeps the mechanicals safe from broken rocks and tree stumps.  

The Karoq Scout doesn't have the ground clearance to tackle the really tough stuff, but it has enough in its 4x4 locker to cope with light off-roading. Fit a set of winter tyres and I imagine it would be near unstoppable in rural areas where the roads are affected by snow and ice.

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The 2.0 TDI diesel engine might only muster 150PS, but it has enough low gear pull to lift the Karoq Scout up a wet grassy hill or across muddy tracks. It'll also tow up to 2100kg, which means the 4x4 system adds an extra dimension to the Karoq's appeal with caravan and horse box owners.  

The four-cylinder diesel is a little more nondescript of character on the road, with the 2.0 TDI feeling a little breathless when you approach 4000rpm. Clearly this is not a car built for speed, but it has to be worked quite hard to join a fast moving motorway or pass a large slow moving vehicle.

The Karoq's boot is large enough to hold a mountain bike (when the rear seats are down) and the electric tailgate makes it easy to load/unload the car when your hands are full. The boot floor also doubles up as a bench, which means you can sit on the boot lip to change muddy shoes wile the raised tailgate protects you from the elements.

I've already caught one or two Land Rover owners peering into the windows as I've returned from a trail biking or running session. However, while the rugged Skoda has caught one or two admiring glances, there is still some badge snobbery with certain car owners. Their loss is your gain, however, because this is a cracking family car.

Karoq Scout - The sleepy Skoda

Comfortable and refined, the Skoda Karoq sends passengers into a slumber on long trips.

Date: 22 April 2019 | Current mileage: 2107 | Claimed economy: 44.1 - 42.8mpg | Actual economy: 41.8mpg

There is a strange pattern emerging on long distance drives in the Karoq Scout, with passengers falling asleep within 30 minutes of the journey. Maybe I'm really dull company. Perhaps one or two didn't get a good night's sleep. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Karoq Scout is a comfort and relaxing place to spend time.

From the driver's seat, the Karoq Scout is a great place to while away the hours. Indeed, last week, I drove a group of friends 200-miles from Cambridge to a house we had rented in Durham. Not only did I arrive feeling relaxed and without the usual cramps or aches, but I felt fresh enough to perform the airport pick-up and collect another two friends from Newcastle airport.

If anything, this Skoda is proof that you don't need leather seats to have premium car comfort. The cloth seats are clearly designed with support in mind and this ensures your back and upper legs are catered for. It also gives the driver a higher seating positioning because the extra padding pushes your body up. 

The panoramic sunroof helps relax people too, filling the interior with lots of natural light. But passengers tell me it's the combination of firm seats and slightly firm ride quality that encourages them to sit back and relax. They also love the fold out tables, because it lets them store a drink and empty their pockets of keys and phones before heading off to the land of nod.

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At night the interior sends everyone (bar the driver, of course) to snoozy land, with the ambient lighting pack (standard on Scout models) adding coloured lighting strips to the dashboard and doors. If anyone you know is suffering from insomnia, put them in a Karoq Scout and drive them around one evening - I guarantee they'll be asleep within half an hour.

When my passengers are not snoring away, they are pairing their phones to the infotainment system to listen to music. This version of the Karoq features the upgraded Canton sound system (£550 extra) and it delivers 500w crystal clear playback via 10 speakers.

The Canton system also has a bass unit, which provides a warm thud to rock and dance tracks - perfect for keeping a group of lads entertained/awake during a drive to the north east for a night out in my old university town.

Following my long motorway runs with cruise control, the fuel economy has climbed to the low-40s and is just a smudge short of the advertised mpg figures. And I'm starting to think that the 2.0 TDI might exceed its official figures, given it has only covered 2000 miles since leaving the factory.

Continental drifting with our Karoq

More miles and yet more praise for the Karoq Scout, as it delivers superb comfort and refinement.

Date: 6 May 2019 | Current mileage: 2857 | Claimed economy: 44.1 - 42.8mpg | Actual economy: 42.0mpg

I can't actually remember the last time I enjoyed spending so much time behind the wheel of a family crossover. The bland styling of the Karoq and its sufficient but charmless 2.0 TDI diesel engine should be the bedrock of tedium, yet over the past few weeks I've found myself looking forward to long drives in the Skoda.

This time it was a weekend jaunt with the family to De Haan in Belgium, with a three hour drive to Dover followed by another two hours from Calais to the Belgium coastal town. (If you've never been to De Haan then go, it's a wonderful little place that in the summer months gives you the impression you're by the Mediterranean instead of the North Sea.)

During this trip I began to understand why I enjoy driving around in the Karoq so much. And it comes down to the fact it's really comfortable and easy to use. For example, you want to see your digital speedo in kph? No problem, click, it's done. Need to update the vehicle clock to European time? Touch the infotainment screen and it's sorted. Can't find your hotel? Ask the navigation and you'll find it in no time. It's all just so simple.

Driving around is easy too, with the pedals requiring the slightest of touches to apply the power and the brakes. The steering is light too, which means a few gentle turns are all you need to guide the Karoq into a parking bay. While the sensors and rear view camera will ensure you don't ding anything along the way. 

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The driver aids have also designed by people for people. For example, the rear view camera has its own washer jet that stops it from being rendered useless by road dirt. The blind spot monitoring system also has a smart feature, which warns the driver of approaching vehicles when reversing out of a parking bay. 

Of course, driver aids are not for everyone. Skoda's lane assist is a prime example. In theory the system is meant to protect the driver by providing a gentle nudge of the steering wheel firmly when it thinks the car is going to veer off out of its motorway lane.

In practice, however, the system is really intrusive. It pulls the steering wheel without warning and is a distraction on A roads. I hate it. But that’s fine, because I can switch it off and the car will never speak of it again. It won't automatically switch it back on every time I restart the vehicle or bombard me with requests to switch it back on.

Driving a car that doesn't actively attempt to stress its driver is a god send when you're driving abroad, because it those little moments of distraction that can prove the most dangerous when you're in a foreign land and motoring on the wrong side of the road. And during my weekend away with the Karoq, it finally made me realise that comfortable and easy to use cars are far superior to fast and flashy motors.

Why are some people car badge snobs?

Badge snobbery is alive, well and living in Hammersmith...

Date: 20 May 2019 | Current mileage: 3207 | Claimed economy: 44.1 - 42.8mpg | Actual economy: 42.1mpg

In an age where car platforms and engines are shared across hundreds of models, you might think that badge snobbery is on the decline. However, at a dinner party recently, I found it was alive and well. And living in Hammersmith.

As I tucked into my main course, the person next to me leant over and said they wanted a recommendation for an affordable family crossover. It must be comfortable, four-wheel drive and practical, they insisted.

"The Skoda Karoq is pretty good..." I responded, before being instantly interrupted with a loud "oh no" and a shake of the head. This was followed by 10 minute speech of senseless drivel, by said guest, outlining the many reasons why they could "never" own a Skoda or be seen driving one.

As a consumer journalist, I've never fully understood the notion of badge snobbery. Even less so when it relates to a car brand that someone hasn't driven/sat in since the mid-1990s. It's akin to writing-off all German wine because you once had a tepid glass of Blue Nun at Christmas, 1996.

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Yet this dinner guest was adamant that they couldn't be seen dead in a Skoda. Instead, they wanted a new Mercedes-Benz. And nothing was going to change their mind. They became quite agitated when I pointed out the C-Class they wanted was powered by a Renault engine...

Tech sharing is perhaps the ultimate proof that car badge snobbery is a nonsense. The Karoq, for example, shares much of its SUV mechanical tech with Volkswagen and Audi. And this means you get a lot of premium car, without the expensive premium price tag. 

Personally, I think the Karoq is every bit as good as Audi's Q cars. I also think it's a genuine rival to the X3, with its large and refined interior matching everything the pricier BMW provides. What's more, for the same price as an entry-level X3, you can get a range-topping Karoq Scout. A no brainer.

The weird thing is, according to the Skoda drivers I’ve met, badge snobbery is actually a good thing. Skoda owners seem to revel in the fact that some car buyers would sooner be dead than be spotted behind the wheel of a Skoda. They claim badge snobbery keeps prices down. And there could be some truth in this argument - you only need to look at the Ford Fiesta’s £15,600 starting price to see how expensive popular cars can become. 

Why the Skoda Karoq is the perfect cycle solution

Capable of carrying three bikes in one go, the Skoda has proven its mettle as a cycle carrier.

Date: 3 June 2019 | Current mileage: 3978 | Claimed economy: 44.1 - 42.8mpg | Actual economy: 43.0mpg

Since moving to the centre of Cambridge, 10 years ago, I have developed a passion for cycling. However, finding a vehicle that's capable of catering for my push bike needs has always been a challenge, with a van being the only option for transporting three mountain bikes. Until now, that is. 

Last week a group of my friends organised a cycle weekend in Norfolk, and it was my job to carry three of (the six) cycles that were needed for the two-day-trip. I would also be driving one of my friends as a passenger, while everyone else would venture up in a large van.  

I was fairly confident that the Karoq Scout would carry two bikes, given that I already have a Thule Easyfold XT 2 cycle carrier. I also specified the Skoda with a tow bar, which can be extended from below the rear bumper at the press of a button. Fitting the carrier took two minutes, given it simply latches onto the tow bar and plugs into the electrical adapter.

The third mountain bike had to go inside, and it was here I was a little worried.  Would it fit? Would it cause damage? Where the hell was my friend going to sit? Most versions of the Karoq get individually foldable seats that provide up to 1630 litres of load space. This proved to be more than sufficient for a large bike behind the front two seats, while the hooks in the boot (designed for shopping bags) made it easy to tie the bike down and prevent it from sliding around each time I steered around a corner. 

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The weekend added 250-miles to the car's clock, but fuel economy impressed with an average of 43mpg - a figure that's in-line with the Karoq's advertised WLTP rating. That included navigating some muddy and sandy coastal tracks, with the four-wheel drive system kicking in to get me (and the bikes) to our destination.

If I'm honest, I can't remember the last time I had a car this versatile and comfortable. Unloading the bikes and returning the Karoq to its original configuration took five minutes, with the tow bar fitting neatly back into the bumper. You simply press a button and shove it under the car. And with a 'clunk' the Karoq is back to its no-tow spec.

The only slight annoyance was the blind spot detection system, which automatically switches itself off when the tow bar is deployed but doesn't switch itself back on again when you fold the bar away. I only found this out when I came close to a passing car in the Karoq's sizable driver's side blind spot on the motorway.

That aside, there's very little to complain about here. The Karoq Scout is a fine family crossover, with acres of space and lots of nice touches. Admittedly, many of these touches cost extra (the tow bar is £855, while the blind spot system is £860) but do make day-to-day driving easier. And for many car buyers that will be enough to justify the extra expense. 

Don't press the Eco button

Want to ruin your Karoq driving experience, with the press of a button? Put it in Eco mode...

Date: 17 June 2019 | Current mileage: 4366 | Claimed economy: 44.1 - 42.8mpg | Actual economy: 44.0mpg

You might not know this, but there's a button on the Skoda Karoq that, once pressed, completely ruins the car's performance. I found this out last week, driving home from Kent, when the Karoq started becoming breathless on the hills of the M20. 

Naturally, I assumed there was something fundamentally wrong with the car's engine. Had I misread one of the fuel pumps in Dover, and put petrol into the car by mistake? Was there a blockage somewhere in the fuel system?

It was only after pulling over at a motorway services, and scrolling through the car's systems, that I found the car was in 'Eco Driving Mode'. And this driving program had transformed my turbodiesel Karoq into a painfully slow two-stroke. 

So what does the Eco Driving Mode do exactly? Well, as part of the driving mode feature, it adapts the car's performance to save fuel. And it does this by - and I'm quoting the car's manual here - "relaxing acceleration".  

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On paper, the Eco Driving Mode tones down performance to save fuel. But in reality it numbs acceleration and - to be blunt - ruins the drive of the car. Manual gear changes become more frequent and harsher, as you need more revs to find the biting point. And hills become a place where you start to challenge HGVs to see who can travel the slowest. 

I have to be honest and say I've never experienced a car that has become so awful, with the activation of a single driving mode and I've no idea how Skoda has got the Eco Driving program so horribly wrong.  Thankfully, once switched off, the Karoq returns to its relaxed and enjoyable self.  

This grumble aside, I have very little to criticise the Karoq for. It's fast becoming one of my favourite long-term test cars of all time, with its comfort and practicality making it perfect for my everyday driving needs.

General fuel economy - in Normal Driving Mode - is impressive, with the 2.0 TDI returning a consistent 44mpg. Road, wind and engine noise is also well supressed, which makes the Skoda a real delight to cover long distances in. Just don't put the car into Eco Driving Mode...

Making a clean getaway with the Karoq Velo concept car

Dan compares his Karoq Scout with Skoda's cycling focused concept car. How will it compare?

Date: 1 July 2019 | Current mileage: 4801 | Claimed economy: 44.1 - 42.8mpg | Actual economy: 44.7mpg

This ladies and gentleman is the Karoq Velo; a unique car built by Skoda for cyclists. Packed with all manner of ‘must-have’ bike kit, this concept car features a spin cycle washing machine, pressure washer, tool kit, fridge and drone station. It was shaped by the results of a survey of more than 1500 riders who were asked to suggest ideas for the perfect cycling support vehicle.

I've been driving around in the Karoq Velo for the past week and, if I'm honest, I'm not sure it's all that much better than my Karoq Scout. 

As reported previously, the Karoq Scout is a brilliant cycle carrier, with its tow bar, four-wheel drive and huge cabin making it perfect for transporting bikes to those difficult to reach events that are often located out in the sticks. 

That said, the Velo concept car does have a few toys that I'd quite like to have for a cycle meet, with the jet wash and spin dryer being two standout features that would save me a lot of hassle when it comes to cleaning dirty cycles and smelly bike clothing. 

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The Velo gets a comprehensive tool kit, which is contained within a set of drawers that's secured to the boot, along with netted storage for helmets. However, while some of the features are genuinely useful, the concept car only has four seats, with the nearside rear passenger seat axed in favour of a cycle frame carrier. I'm not sure I'd be prepared to sacrifice the family-car practically of my Karoq, when I can simply buy a tow bar mounted carrier that will do the same job. 

During my week with this concept car, I found myself strangely yearning for my Karoq Scout. Not only is my car better to drive in the mud - the Velo is only two-wheel drive - but the Scout looks better and is easier to use on a day-to-day basis. And you could probably fit the spin dryer and pressure washer in the 588-litre boot, with room to spare.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this concept car is somewhat pointless, because the production-version of the Karoq is already brilliant for bikes. And I don't need a drone to show me how practical my car is when it comes to outdoor activities, like cycling. 

Indeed, over the past five months, my Skoda has taken me all over the country and never really missed a beat. It's superlatively comfortable, capable off-road and now pushing 45mpg when it comes to all-important fuel costs. In short, it's the ultimate cycling companion. 

The Karoq is the perfect all-rounder - and here's why

Dan has covered more than 5000 miles in the Karoq Scout and feels it's one of the best family crossovers you can buy.

Date: 15 July 2019 | Current mileage: 5355 | Claimed economy: 44.1 - 42.8mpg | Actual economy: 44.8mpg

Since taking delivery of the Karoq Scout, I've covered more than 5000 miles and been really impressed with the comfortable and refined nature of this four-wheel drive powerhouse. Fuel economy is also edging towards the mid-40s, which means I'm now exceeding Skoda's official mpg figures. A truly win-win situation, I'm sure you'll agree.

The interior of the Karoq has impressed everyone who has sat in this car, with the hardwearing but upmarket finish making the Scout model perfect for carrying friends and family long distances in spacious comfort. Even if you don't need four-wheel drive, I'd argue that the comfortable seats justify the Scout's premium price along - they are truly brilliant. 

Due to the nature of motoring journalism, I'm required to drive long distances on a regular basis. And this means trips to Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle are not uncommon. However, based in Cambridge, I find myself relishing these trips as I settle into the comfortable and instantly familiar cabin of the Karoq.  

Indeed, on the motorway, the refined ride quality, bright cabin and light steering makes it easy to clock up a few hundred miles in comfort. The optional adaptive cruise control (which costs £300 extra) is also easy to set-up, which means you simply set the car to 70mph and let it take the strain. Few SUVs are this relaxing to drive. 

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The Karoq has earned its stripes off the road too, with its four-wheel drive system and chunky 19-inch wheels making short work of muddy farm roads and slippery fields. Quite a few of my friends live in rural Essex and the Scout has been the perfect car for navigating the single track farm lanes that lead to their homes.  

There is one problem when going off road, however, with the smart Crater anthracite alloy wheels being prone to damage. In fact, during a recent wash, I found several small scratch marks (pictured above) and this suggests that the metal coating is perhaps a little too soft for the rugged nature of all-roading. 

However, with fuel economy in the mid-40s, I've really not got too much to complain about. The Skoda Karoq Scout is great to drive, comfortable, practical and ridiculously easy to use on a daily basis. Most weekends I hook up my bike carrier to the retractable tow bar and this has made bike transport problems a thing of the past. 

If I had to make any observational criticism, then perhaps the clutch is a little sensitive when pulling away. My girlfriend borrowed the Karoq recently and promptly stalled, with the biting point being quite high. This means you have to give it a bit of beans as you lift your foot, but with a little practice this can be perfected with a couple of trial runs.

Getting bad vibrations in the Skoda Karoq, part 2

Dan's Skoda enjoyment is spoiled as build quality issues, once again, become a problem.

Date: 29 July 2019 | Current mileage: 5514 | Claimed economy: 44.1 - 42.8mpg | Actual economy: 45.1mpg

Oh no, not again! After six months of mostly flawless motoring, the Skoda Karoq Scout has gone and spoiled it all by developing a problem in its final few weeks. 

Regular readers will know that, earlier in the year, the Karoq developed a rattling noise in the front passenger door. The fault was diagnosed as a loose piece of plastic within the door card and my local Skoda dealer had to take the car into the workshop to realign the door properly. Now the problem has returned, albeit on the opposite side.

A few days ago I was happily motoring along when I noticed that the annoying rattling noise had returned. But this time it was louder, and in the driver's door. To make matters worse, it's one of the noises that gets louder on rough roads, which means I hear it 80 per cent of the time because most of my journeys are on A and B roads.

To suffer a single problem with a new car is unfortunate, but to suffer two identical faults within the first six months is downright amateurish. And it's a real shame, because the Karoq Scout is a cracking car, which has been let down by a lack of attention to detail in the factory.  

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To be fair to Skoda, this is a small fault that would be an easy fixed at the local dealer. But it raises some awkward questions about the car's longevity. After all, if it can suffer two faults in six months, what will go wrong in 12 months? Two years? Or four years, when the warranty has expired? 

Given that I've only got the Karoq Scout for a few more weeks, I've decided not to take it back to the dealer to have the driver's door fixed. To be blunt, I don't have the time to spare during the working week. My weekends are also fully booked, so I can't take in on a Saturday morning either.

If I was an owner, I would obviously been rather angry that my £36,645 car has suffered two problems. But would it be enough for me to dismiss the Karoq Scout entirely? Probably not.

The past six months have been (mostly) enjoyable. And in my mind it is clear that the Karoq is a very well thought out car. And given that we've received zero complaints about cabin build quality, from our readers, it could just be that I'm very unlucky to suffer two within a short amount of time with the same car. 

Skoda Karoq Scout - the final verdict

It's been a story of highs and lows, but Dan's memories of the Karoq Scout are (mostly) positive.

Date: 12 August 2019 | Current mileage: 5903 | Claimed economy: 44.1 - 42.8mpg | Actual economy: 45.5mpg

The time has come for me to wave goodbye to the Skoda Karoq Scout - a car that so very nearly became my favourite long term test car of all time. And if it wasn't for some build quality issues, I would have no trouble in recommending this car to every crossover buyer in the land.

Let's focus on the positives of this car, because there are many. First, it's wonderfully refined and comfortable. Indeed, the Scout version of the Karoq has the most comfortable seats of any family crossover, with the firm padding and supportive base making it brilliant for long distance runs. During the past six months I've taken this car across the length and breadth of England. And not once did I get any of the usual pains in the lower back or upper leg.  

The ride quality is also excellent on the motorway, with the hushed cabin providing a smooth backdrop for long distance runs. Some might find the firm and comfortable suspension to be a little on the hard side, but I wager that the majority of drivers and passengers will have no trouble with the Scout's set-up. And this is backed up by the fact that most of my passengers would fall asleep within 30 minutes of getting into this car - it's that comfy.

If you don't need a four-wheel drive car then you might not need the Scout version of the Karoq, but during the past six months and 5778 miles I have found that this car has encouraged me to venture off the beaten track for mountain bike events and cross country runs. As a result, I've actually become more active because I've had a car that can physically cope with rural roads. Will the Karoq Scout match a Land Rover? No. But it'll take you to places (muddy farm tracks, slippery B roads and wet grassy fields) where a standard front-wheel drive crossover will struggle. 

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Another area where the Karoq shines is everyday practicality. And with the optional tow bar, this has without a doubt been one of the most useful cars I've ever run. The 588-litre boot is huge and features lots of useful hooks and nets for carrying the weekly essentials. And if you lower the rear seats, you can fit an adult-sized mountain bike in the back, while the sturdy nature of the cabin proves plenty of reassurance that you won't damage the car in the process. 

The 2.0 TDI engine with 150PS has proven more than sufficient for lugging passengers, mountain bikes and luggage. And as long as you avoid the Eco Driving Mode, you won't be asking for more power when it comes to hilly terrain. What's more, with fuel economy averaging at 45.5mpg, this car has actually exceeded Skoda's advertised figures. 

So what's bad about this car? Well, in short, the build quality. During the past six months the car has suffered two identical door card issues, with loose bits of plastic rattling around and generally ruining the tranquillity of the otherwise brilliant cabin. To be fair to Skoda, they fixed the first problem without trouble. But now the same issue has arisen on the driver's door and this has planted some serious durability issues into my mind. And it's a real pity, because this is a very well designed and thought out car.

While the rattling doors have become something of a major annoyance, they are not enough for me to dismiss this car outright. I've really enjoyed my time with the Karoq Scout and do not doubt its ability as a family crossover. And as long as you don't experience the niggling build issues that blighted my loan, you will be more than happy with one of these cars as your daily driver. 

Check out our full review of the Skoda Karoq at the link