2023 Skoda Karoq Sportline 4x4 Review

The Skoda Karoq represents fantastic value - on paper. But should you spend your hard earned cash on one? Let's talk about that!

Matt Brand
Expert reviewer
Updated on
February 9, 2024
Saucey score


  • Engine performance lives up to the name!
  • Good entry price (without options)
  • Refined interior


  • Interior is a little boring
  • Fuel economy is not fantastic
  • Some basic safety tech is locked behind paywalls (option packs)
Car specs

140kW + 320Nm

$50,990 Incl. On Roads

6.6L/100km (Claimed)

5 Star ANCAP

Buy a Car!
No Obligations, Hassle Free.

The Skoda Karoq has recently been facelifted with some new looks, new tech and new price tags.

Today we review the Skoda Karoq Sportline, a car offering sporty looks and more importantly, sporty performance - but if you aren’t careful the Skoda Karoq can start to become very expensive very quickly.

But does that mean you should avoid the Skoda Karoq? No! Let’s talk through the 2023 Skoda Karoq and highlight the good, the bad, and the (probably) unnecessary.

How much does the Skoda Karoq cost?

Speccing your Skoda Karoq is where we recommend you really keep an eye on your budget.

At a base level, you can choose two variants of the Skoda Karoq, with the main differences being in their drivetrains:

  • Skoda Karoq Style: $43,990
  • Skoda Karoq Sportline: $50,990

The Karoq Sportline has no less than 5 different options packages:

Premium Pack ($5900) 

  • Dynamic Chassis with Drive Mode Selection
  • Surround Area View
  • 9.2" Columbus Satellite Navigation
  • Lane Assist with Adaptive Lane Guidance & Emergency Assist
  • Parking Assist
  • Heated front and rear seats
  • Heat insulating windshield

Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert ($1250)

  • Blind Spot Monitoring 
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert

Leather Seats Pack ($3500)

  • Leather Appointed Seats
  • Front Memory Seats

Panoramic Sunroof ($1900)

Side Steps ($1200)

On test today, we have the Premium Pack and Panoramic Sunroof. Although we really like the additional features, it does add an extra $7800 to the price.

With all packs included, that brings the price in spitting distance of the bougier and more powerful Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line.

We recommend, as with most Skoda, get the car itself without any optional extras! In that case, they represent fantastic value for money.

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What do we think of the exterior looks of the Skoda Karoq?

There is no denying the Karoq is a great looking SUV.

Especially the Sportline we have on test here.

The split headlight design works really well, especially considering that the Sportline comes as standard with upgraded Matrix LED headlights.

You also get the blacked out treatment, specifically for the grille, door mirrors, roof rails and window frames.

The 19” alloy wheels have been updated as part of its mid-life updated and apparently save 0.1L of fuel per 100kms. I can probably believe that.

Like all Skoda’s, sharp body lines adorn the sides, and the back continues the theme of blacked out badging.

What’s the interior and connectivity like of the Skoda Karoq?

Open the doors of the Skoda Karoq, and you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.

Or maybe not.

It depends if you expected Czech design or German design, with Skoda being owned by Volkswagen Group, it feels like a German car. Though who ever complained about a German interior?

You will find the German rainbow (shades of black and grey) adorning the interior, which is not very inspiring.

But what is inspiring is frankly the practicality. Storage spaces galore fill up the interior, with a glove box that includes an air conditioning port, a storage compartment next to the driver, on top of the dash, and under the passenger seat (which includes your Skoda umbrella!).

The centre armrest is well padded, but is also adjustable with a large open storage area inclusive of 2 cupholders and small grippy ‘nubs’. You can also remove the tray for extra storage, or flip it over for a raised storage area.

I can see why the Skoda slogan is ‘simply clever’.

As we have the $5900 Premium Pack fitted, we get some welcomed (although not-necessary) inclusions.

Although the seats are cloth as we don’t have the leather package, they are heated thanks to the premium package.

As they come however, they are very comfortable, with plenty of support and adjustment - even if it is manual adjustment without the leather package.

Your eyes will also be immediately drawn to the 9.2” infotainment display with gesture controls.

It works fine, but apart from size and the addition of relatively useless gesture controls, it feels no better than the standard 8” unit you would get without the package.

It does come with wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, both of which are very nice to have and to use with the wireless charger. You can also use one of the two fast USB-C chargers.

Similarly, its very easy to be wowed by the 10.25” Virtual Cockpit which you will find across a range of Volkswagen Group products.

It is one of the best out there, being extremely customisable and the ability to display a full-sized map.

However, you can tell here that the digital instrument cluster is powered by a less powerful and/or older computer than its Volkswagen Tiguan counterpart, because it can be downright slow to respond.

The three spoke steering wheel is also a (minorly) mixed bag. It feels amazing to hold, with a golf ball effect to the leather.

However, we found the buttons to be very confusing. For example, with the autonomous driving controls being on the opposite side of the steering wheel to the old school cruise control stalk.

In all, we really like the interior of the Skoda Karoq - even if it does represent some interesting quirks with its technology.

What about the Back seats of the Skoda Karoq?

The rear seats of the Skoda Karoq are fantastic.

Sitting behind my drivers position at 5’11”, I have plenty of space and my bum is kept nice and toasty with the heated rear seats (included in that premium pack).

The centre armrest offers 3 cupholders (with the middle being small for example for energy drinks), with a pull down to enable through loading for skis or similar items.

No third zone of climate control, but you do get air vents to share and a couple of USB-C ports.

How much can it fit in the boot of the Skoda Karoq?

I don’t think Jacob and I have ever been so excited about boot space.

Bare with me here.

With the rear seats up you get 521L of boot space, and with them down you get a massive 1630L.

It would be better if the seats folded individually like in the Style, but the Sportline gets 40:60 split folding seats.

If you want to learn more about all the little quirks and features of the Skoda Karoq boot, you’ll need to watch our full YouTube review - but suffice to say, the netting, storage nooks and hooks, and reversible floor make this one of the most practical midsize SUVs out there.

What’s under the bonnet of the Skoda Karoq?

The Karoq is offered with two choices of drivetrain, but these are locked to the grade you choose.

The Skoda Karoq Style is equipped with a 1.4L turbocharged 4 cylinder petrol engine, with power sent through an 8-speed torque converter automatic transmission through to the front wheels only.

Although this configuration will not blow your mind with its output being 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque, it does have a surprising amount of shove and more importantly is quite fuel efficient.

You can see this engine in action in our Golf Life review here.

Going for the sportline - as the name suggests - gives you a sportier drivetrain.

The Sportline comes with a more powerful, 2.0L 4 cylinder turbocharged petrol engine pumping out 140kW of power and 320Nm of torque. 

Better yet, that power goes through Volkswagen’s famed 7-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission, through to all wheels.

The downside? Fuel economy. We averaged about 8.7L/100km throughout our week of testing, whereas we would expect low 7.0s / high 6.0s in the Style.

How does the Skoda Karoq drive?

First things first - if the Skoda Karoq Sportline is so sporty, how quick is it?

Well, we timed the 0-100km/h sprint (with the included launch control feature!) at 7.31 seconds - which is fast for a car that claims it only has 140kW of power. We suspect its more than that (the German’s often under-report and over-deliver).

However, it’s not all roses. Sure, if you want speed, the Skoda Karoq Sportline is better than the Style. 

Or if you need AWD because you live in a wet area, go down gravel roads often, etc.

Although, despite the name, this is hardly a true 4x4. It’s true it has AWD, but it is a Haldex based AWD - being front wheel drive until it notices loss of traction and then can send up to 50% of torque to the rear. So again, not a real 4x4 in the truest sense.

However, the 7-speed dual clutch - although great for sporty driving with its wicked fast shifting - still has the classic dual-clutch traits of being lurchy at lower speeds.

It’s not awful by any stretch, but the 8-speed torque converter auto is simply better for around town driving.

Suspension tuning on the Skoda Karoq is fantastic. To be fair, we have the adaptive dampers fitted here as part of the premium package, however it does mean that we can soften and stiffen the suspension depending on our drive modes.

However, the standard suspension tuning on the non-adaptive dampers is fantastic too - so most people wouldn’t be too upset missing out on them.

Change between driving modes, and the Skoda Karoq can handle backroads and twisties with ease.

The steering becomes very heavy in sport mode, just how you want it, and in our unit the suspension stiffens up to the point of almost too-stiff.

Body roll essentially doesn’t exist, and the mechanical grip feels super-natural.

Is it going to drive better than a Volkswagen Tiguan R or Cupra Ateca? No. But it’s damn near close.

The thing that really impresses me is its power and torque. The engine seems to continue to build power no matter what speed you are at, and it feels quite fast. It is a truly impressive engine.

The biggest reason I might advocate for the premium pack is the inclusion of ‘traffic jam assist’ which essentially means the car will drive itself down a highway, coming to a complete stop in traffic and continuing when traffic moves.

This is known as ‘travel assist’ in Volkswagen’s, and is a great self-driving technology.

Is the Skoda Karoq Safe?

The Skoda Karoq boasts a five-star ANCAP safety rating, which is based on Euro NCAP tests carried out in 2017.

This rating applies to all models, with category scores of 93% for adult occupant protection, 79% for child occupant protection, 73% for pedestrian protection, and 58% for safety assistance.

The standard safety features include:

  • 7 airbags (including driver's knee airbag)
  • City and pedestrian autonomous emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control system
  • Driver drowsiness detection
  • Manoeuvre Braking Assist technology
  • Multi-collision braking system
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Rearview camera for reversing
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Rear ISOFIX (x2) and top tethers (x3)

However, additional safety features such as lane-keeping assistance, traffic jam assistance, side assistance, rear cross-traffic alerts, and emergency assistance are only available as optional extras.

How much can the Skoda Karoq tow?

The Skoda Karoq Sportline has a 1900 kg braked towing capacity, and 750kg of unbraked towing capacity.

How much does the Skoda Karoq cost to service?

The Skoda Karoq is backed by a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, with maintenance intervals extended to 12 months or 15,000 km, depending on which comes first.

At the point of purchase, Skoda provides two service package options. The five-year package is priced at $1,550, whereas the seven-year package costs $2,400, which equates to approximately $342 annually.

Final thoughts - should you buy a Skoda Karoq?

The midsize SUV segment is incredibly competitive, and the Skoda Karoq does provide a strong case for something with a bit of pezzaz and sportiness under the bonnet.

However, start optioning packages and the price very quickly encroaches on its more expensive and more premium sibling, the Volkswagen Tiguan.

So, if you’re going to buy one, just make sure you aren’t tempted by some of the alluring packages or the value case starts to diminish!

Saucey score breakdown

Maintenance Costs and Warranty
Fuel (or EV) Efficiency
Interior Design and Features
Value for Money
Technology and Innovation
Is it fit-for-purpose?
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Matt Brand
Matt Brand, the esteemed car critic from Car Sauce, offers unparalleled expertise on all things automotive. From new car releases to pre-owned options, he provides in-depth analysis and honest evaluations to guide readers through the car-buying process. Join us as he delves into the exciting world of motoring.
Car specs

140kW + 320Nm

$50,990 Incl. On Roads

6.6L/100km (Claimed)

5 Star ANCAP

Buy a Car!
No Obligations, Hassle Free.

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