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Future models - Skoda - Karoq

Frankfurt show: Skoda Karoq a ‘mini Kodiaq’

Don’t call it a Yeti: Skoda’s offbeat small-medium SUV won fans for its honest simplicity and flexibility, but the company is moving towards a more conventional model in the Karoq.

Skoda Oz to pitch Karoq as Kodiaq ‘mini me’ as Yeti successor makes public debut

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Skoda logo13 Sep 2017

By TIM ROBSON

SKODA Australia will pitch the all-new Karoq mid-size SUV as a ‘mini me’ version of the larger Kodiaq when it arrives in Australia halfway through 2018.

Making its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show this week after VW’s Czech brand revealed the model at an event in Stockholm, Sweden, in May, the Karoq will replace the now-discontinued (and slightly smaller) Yeti in the Australian range.

Speaking to GoAuto in Frankfurt, Skoda Australia managing director Michael Irmer said the company was looking up – to Kodiaq – for inspiration into how the new model would be marketed in Australia, not down.

“We pitch it as a mini Kodiaq because it’s really obvious when you see it,” he said. “That’s why the name’s changed, because it’s more a mini Kodiaq than a Yeti.”

The Yeti went out of production earlier this year, with only a handful of cars now left in stock at both Skoda’s headquarters and at dealers.

The squarish Karoq is built on the same MQB modular platform as the Volkswagen Tiguan, although it is slightly shorter overall. It offers 521 litres of boot space with the rear seats up, and 1810 litres with the seats laid flat.

GoAuto viewed a version where – just like a Yeti – the 60/40 split-fold rear seats could be tumbled forward and completely removed from the car.

It will be sold as a five-seater only, and five engine variants will be offered in overseas markets, in both petrol and diesel. All- and front-wheel-drive versions will also be offered.

Mr Irmer said that lessons learnt from the local launch of the Kodiaq – which was launched in June, and is only now breaking free of supply constraints – will dictate spec and pricing levels for the Karoq in Australia.

“What we learned from Kodiaq is that 80 per cent of our customers have ordered the Kodiaq with the two available packs (Tech and Luxury), which basically makes it a car with everything,” he said. “And learning from that, we will do the same for the early adopters for the new model, so we’ll have, very likely, a launch edition of the Karoq.” Unlike the Yeti which competed in the small SUV segment, the Karoq will be positioned in the mid-size SUV class and line up against the likes of the market-leading Mazda CX-5, Hyundai’s Tucson and Nissan’s Qashqai.

Australian specifications and pricing are still to be confirmed, but Mr Irmer believes there is a place for two driveline options in the range – front- and all-wheel drive – as well as both petrol and diesel power.

“Perhaps it’s not the majority of the sales, but it (AWD) is also not a tiny share of the space either,” he said. “We’re looking at both. We’re also looking at both petrol as well as a diesel.”

The company has previously confirmed that the Karoq will be launched in Australia with a 110TSI 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with the choice of either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, while a 110TDI 2.0-litre turbo-diesel is also expected.

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