5 Reasons why the Skoda Karoq is not a worthy successor to the Skoda Yeti
People who read my articles regularly will know that I'm a fan of the Skoda Yeti. Ever since me and my family went on a road trip along the coast of southern China in a rented Yeti, we fell in love with it. It's surprisingly charming, it's good fun to drive and it's economical. It was everything the competition, or even modern 'normal cars' lack.
I'm so impressed, that I want one in Hong Kong, even though they weren't sold here. (Click here for the Skoda Yeti review, and click here for the article where I tell you why it's more difficult to import a Yeti than you'd think).
However, as we all know, the Yeti is no more. Skoda replaced the Yeti with something called a Karoq. So my aim today is to find out whether or not the Karoq lives up to the good name of the Yeti. And the answer is no. Here's why.
1. It's not as charming
What's great about the Yeti is that it's charming. It hasn't got the bells and whistles of the competition, say the Peugeot 3008 or the Volkswagen Tiguan. It's interior is very boring, it's a sea of grey plastics everywhere, and it just doesn't have the quality that you'd want from a car of this class.
But that's the whole point of the Yeti, it's not supposed to be a posh runaround, it's supposed to be humble and honest. And who doesn't love an honest little car? Yes it hasn't got fancy touchscreens and a great badge, but it's strangely charming. You see a Yeti, you're going to smile for absolutely no reason. And what's wrong with that?
With the Karoq, Skoda has gone fairly mainstream with the styling and the interior. It looks much like a Seat Ateca, which shares the same platform as the Karoq, and who'd want that?
How would you choose between an Ateca and a Karoq then? They both look the same, drives identical and has got the same specification. The main difference is the badge, and that's it. The charm and the 'stand-out' factor are both lacking in the Karoq, shame.
2. It doesn't look right
Not only is the Yeti charming, it's also different. There is something about that front end and the square rear-end that makes the whole car stand out from the crowd. People who love the Yeti, like me, absolutely adores it. But people who don't think the look is all that good, thinks that it looks like a van. And what's wrong with a van?
That obviously is a problem for Skoda. Because the Yeti just doesn't look mainstream enough for the average Joe who knows nothing about cars to buy it. So they rounded it off in all four corners, put fancy lights in front and rear and put on some unnecessarily giant rims on there. I understand that Skoda wants it to appeal to the family buyers, but come on, it looks...wrong.
3. The Karoq is a soft-roader for crying out loud
The beauty with the Yeti is that it's a proper off-roader. It might not look like one, but my goodness it is. Skoda once brought three of the four-wheel-drive Yetis to Bhutan, and they all survived there. They then brought one single Yeti to Morocco, Sahara and Sengal, it survived too.
Then they went all out and took three Yetis to Russia, and guess what, they survived too. It's a workhouse that you wouldn't worry bringing your dirty boots into. It wouldn't even care where you take it to, because it's going to survive and still work like an old clock. It's that good.
Then you look at the Karoq, you would wonder, what abuse could it take. Because a) it doesn't look tough at all, and b) it's too posh. It's the sort of car that you would wash your boots after stepping on muddy ground before you step into the car. It's just a completely different animal now. It's now gone all city and no rural. Unlike the Yeti, which can be city and rural all at the same.
Skoda did take the Karoq on an adventure upon further investigation. They, erm, they, took the Karoq to Barcelona to cycle and surf. They didn't even take it off-roading for crying out loud.
4. It's not faster than a Ferrari, nor has it got a helicopter on the roof
Back in 2011, Jeremy Clarkson put a Skoda Yeti to test on Top Gear. He first proved that it's more spacious than a Maybach, more comfortable than a Range Rover, cold enough for it to drive through a burning building and would still not melt an ice cream, and finally he put it to the ultimate test by landing a helicopter on it.
The fans absolutely love the piece, they loved it so much, in fact, that they bombed the Skoda homepage and it would stop working because they all rushed there to customize and build a Yeti for themselves.
Jeremy Clarkson hasn't driven Karoq yet, nor has any good TV programmes covered it yet, it's so under the radar that nobody really cared about it. Nobody bothered to race it against a Ferrari, nor did anybody want to land a helicopter on it. That's the difference between the Yeti and the Karoq.
5. It hasn't got the right name
For the Yeti, as we all know, Skoda took the name from the unknown species that is the Yeti. It was a funky name you know, it sort of blends mysteriousness with a hint of cool. You'd probably hear the name, recognize the name, and not know what that is. Because to the untrained normal personnel, it's just a hidden animal. What's wrong with that excuse me?
As for the name Karoq, we're told that it has its roots in the language of the Alutiiq people of Alaska, despite the fact that it wasn't actually sold in Alaska, yea, with kaa’raq meaning car, and ruq for arrow. Don't you just feel like that Skoda has randomly picked some letters from a foreign-sounding language and made something up like Lego? It's weird and strange and very uncool indeed.
The Yeti is a car that's sub-zero. Literally. But as we found out, it's successor, not quite. The Karoq on the other hand, is just another humdrum soft-roader that will probably never leave the city, and be driven by mums on school runs. What's the charm in that?