by Iain Curry
JUST weeks ahead of Skoda's new seven-seat large SUV Kodiaq arriving in Australia, the company has revealed its new mid-size SUV Karoq in Europe.
Unveiled in Stockholm, Sweden, the Karoq will compete with its cousin-under-the-skin Volkswagen Tiguan and Mazda CX-5 size-wise, making it larger than the brand's current and soon-to-be-retired Yeti SUV.
While the Karoq will launch in Europe late this year, Skoda Australia spokesman Paul Pottinger said our market should receive it "hopefully early in quarter two of 2018".
Mr Pottinger said the Karoq would initially be available with a 1.4-litre 110TSI petrol engine and with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, with a 2.0-litre 110TDI diesel likely about the same time and further down the road a 2.0-litre 140TDI diesel as the range-topper.
These engines are shared with the well-received Volkswagen Tiguan models launched last year.
"The new Karoq will be very highly spec-ed in keeping with all Skodas in Australia, will have LED lighting, alloy wheels up to 19 inches and city emergency brake with front assist standard across the range," Mr Pottinger said.
He added the Karoq would be available with an Active Info display (as seen in VW's Tiguan), where a high-res colour screen serves as your instrument cluster.
There would be a Snow Mode for the dynamic chassis control and it would prove very modular on the seating front, with the ability to completely move the back seats for huge rear storage with a system called VarioFlex.
Boot capacity looks Skoda-typical huge, with 521 litres with rear seats up, 1630 litres folded down or van-like 1810 litres with seats removed.
There was obvious speculation at the launch about an RS variant of the Karoq, with Skoda refusing to rule a hot version out.
"The popularity of the Octavia RS in Australia means we're looking at increasing RS offerings across the range," Mr Pottinger said.
"An RS or Sportline edition would be a logical Australian move given how much our customers like those packs."
Expect the entry-lvel five-seat Karoq - a baby Kodiaq, if you will - to cost from the high $20,000s to the low $30,000s.