One of the trickiest things to do in the automotive world is packaging. That is, the black art of arranging features in a car’s cabin to maximise occupant comfort and storage space.
This is something a good number of people take for granted, especially today. A modern car—even the smallest one—has interior space that would make a full-sized car from yesteryear blush.
What makes that achievement even more impressive is how there are a good number of things that have to be present and are, for all intents and purposes, immovable in that they have to be in certain predetermined positions. The engine, transmission and wheels, for example, along with the steering column and dashboard.
And once you consider that, it makes what the Skoda Karoq can do doubly (or even triply) impressive. It’s a compact SUV, which means it has, well, a compact footprint. It measures a little under 4.4m long and 1.8m wide, which makes it great for driving around the city. But by far the most amazing thing about the Karoq (even more so than its punchy 150hp, 1.5-litre turbocharged motor and slick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox) is how versatile its interior is.
Little wonder then, that Skoda really does credit to its Simply Clever tagline, as you’ll soon discover.
CONVENIENTLY DOES IT
Convenience features are one of those things you take for granted in a car, and while you could conceivably live without them, once you’ve enjoyed a car with them, we can pretty much guarantee you won’t be able to live without them from that point on.
Just a few of the features you might take for granted after awhile are the Karoq's power-adjustable driver's seat, that also has a memory function so the car doesn't forget the positions of its drivers. Or how it has built-in satellite navigation (operable via a high-resolution touchscreen), so you'll never be lost again. Of course, you could always fire up your favourite navigation app on your phone and clip it onto a mount, but that's not a particularly clean-looking solution.
Then there are things like its powered tailgate, a common feature on top-end cars, but a rarity in the Karoq’s segment. What this means is you won’t have to manually lift the tailgate after popping the release mechanism, with an electric motor doing all the work for you.
In other handy features, the Karoq has an umbrella storage space under the front seats, so no more awkwardly shoving your umbrella into the space between the seats and the door.
Or the way the cupholders, which are located in the centre console, hold bottles in such a way that allows you to twist the cap open, which means no more gripping them between your thighs to open them.
As with most simple, brilliant ideas, the first thing that should cross your mind is “why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?”, or more accurately, “why don’t all cars have this?”
With an overall height of 1,603mm, a wheelbase of 2,638mm and rear legroom of 68mm, the Karoq has class-leading space for carrying people around. Now, all that may just seem like abstract numbers, so head down to Skoda Centre Singapore on Leng Kee Road to see for yourself how big the Karoq is on the inside, belying its relatively compact exterior.
Of course, that’s just the Karoq in its ‘base’ state, because if you so choose, you’re able to fold each seat down or remove it entirely for more cargo space (more on that later).
The three seats in the rear bench also can be adjusted individually for backrest incline, and the outermost two seats can also be slid forward or backward (within a range of 150mm) as desired.
Supposing the middle seat was removed, the aforementioned outermost pair of seats can be moved toward the centre, making the Karoq an exceptionally comfortable and roomy four-seater, almost like a luxury limousine.
This allows the Karoq a huge amount of versatility, and we haven’t even yet gotten to the part about how it can positively swallow a small mountain of cargo. And yes, it’ll even take the kitchen sink… several kitchen sinks, actually.
SPACE, THE FINAL FRONTIER
Even with the rear bench in place and the seats up (for ferrying passengers), the Karoq already has 479 litres of cargo space. And you’d best believe it only gets better from there.
Slide the rear seats forward, return them to their most upright position and you’ll liberate 109 litres. Take the rear seats out entirely and you’ll get a whopping 1,810 litres. The flat load floor with a cavernous square aperture also means that this number isn’t ‘cheating’, you’ll be able to fit even the most bulky items with ease.
But as with the Karoq’s people-carrying potential, the real magic isn’t so much in its ability to swallow monstrous amounts of luggage (though that’s pretty magical in itself), but with how much flexibility the Karoq can bring to your life. After all, Skoda does call the rear seats VarioFlex for a reason.
As mentioned earlier, the seats can be individually removed, allowing you to turn the Karoq into a three-, four- or five-seater at will, which translates directly into how much cargo the compact SUV can haul.
But whichever configuration you choose to use the Karoq in, we can assure you of one thing: that you’ll never be left wanting for space, or for that matter, versatility.