Karoq

Karoq

Brand identity is everything in the automotive world, so it seems hard to understand why back in 2017, Skoda wanted to abandon one of their most recognisable name plates, that of the Yeti. Yet the Czech maker did just that, replacing that model line with this one - the Karoq. The reason why was that the company wanted to emphasise that this car is a different, larger and more sophisticated SUV than the Yeti ever was - or could be.

The Yeti couldn't ever quite decide whether it wanted to be a Juke-shaped supermini-sized SUV or a Qashqai-shaped family hatch-sized model. This larger Karoq has no such dilemma, firmly targeted at the Qashqai sector - and offering a larger boot, amongst other incentives, to tempt buyers away from Nissan's market leader. If you're wondering if the word 'Karoq' has any meaning, then we'll tell you that it's taken from the language of an Alaskan tribe and, roughly translated, means 'car arrow'. Make of that what you will.

Kamiq

Kamiq

Because this Kamiq uses the same underpinnings as a Skoda Scala family hatch, it can only have front wheel drive and straightforward torsion bean rear suspension. Still, that's all likely buyers will probably want. As an option, the brand offers 'Sport Chassis Control', which lowers the car by 10mm and gives it two-way adjustable dampers. We can't see many customers taking this up.

Most customers will want the base 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine. Entry-level versions get it in 95PS form with a 5-speed gearbox but further up the range, the variants available feature this unit in a 115PS state of tune. Go for that and you'll be offered the option of a 7-speed DSG auto gearbox. Both engines have impressive torque available from low revs - the 95PS version delivering 175Nm from just 2,000rpm and the 115PS version serving up its 200Nm across the same 2,000rpm to 3,500rpm band. In other words, you won't have to row this little SUV along with the gear lever through town. Skoda is also offering two other units, a 150PS 1.5 TSI petrol powerplant and a 115PS 1.6 TDI diesel. Don't expect a Kamiq to ride quite as well as a Scala - that taller, heavier body has to tell somewhere - but for the school run and commuting duties, few buyers are likely to have issues.

Kodiaq

Kodiaq

You'd certainly think there was a place for Skoda in the segment for larger family-sized SUVs. The brand's smaller Yeti model did, after all, establish the brand's Crossover credentials amongst buyers interested in more compact versions of this kind of car, formulating a presence in the segment that the Czech brand has since built upon, first of all back in 2016 with the launch of this mid-sized 5-to-7-seat Kodiaq model. It utilises the same MQB platform that Volkswagen's Tiguan Allspace and SEAT's Tarraco use in this segment.

The Kodiaq though, is slightly more affordably priced than both those models. Add in efficient engines, lots of clever design touches and up-to-the-minute media connectivity and a strong package is in prospect.

Kodiaq VRS

Kodiaq VRS

In the normal run of things, you wouldn't consider a Skoda Kodiaq, the Czech brand's mid-to-large 7-seat 'D'-segment SUV, as being an ideal candidate for performance engineering. It's a family conveyance intended for suburbia rather than Silverstone. Firming it up, adding on a body kit and shoe-horning a powerful engine beneath the bonnet ought to make little sense.

All of which would be true if for the car we're looking at here, the Kodiaq vRS, all Skoda had done was to replicate the usual performance formula that Volkswagen Group brands have for their fastest hatch and SUV models: a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine with four driven wheels and around 300PS on tap. But that's not what's served up here. Instead, there's a more sensible bi-turbo diesel with impressive torque, startling performance and a rather lovely growl. Surprising Skoda? In this case, yes.