Skoda has unveiled the replacement for its successful Yeti SUV-C model, which will ensure the company remains well-positioned for the ongoing European compact SUV sales boom.
IHS Markit Perspective:
- Significance: Skoda has launched its new Karoq SUV-C model which will replace the Yeti in its model line following a press event in Sweden on 18 May.
- Implications: The Karoq is forecast to replace the Yeti, which has established itself as one of Europe's best-selling SUV-C models and was a big contributor to Skoda's sales growth since the turn of the decade.
- Outlook: With the Karoq joining the new Kodiaq seven-seater in the Skoda line-up, the company has a compelling range of SUVs to further grow its presence and brand image in the Western European market. An SUV-B will soon follow and Skoda's K car range will then be complete.
Skoda has unveiled the new Karoq, which will replace its hugely successful Yeti SUV-C model, at a press event in Sweden yesterday (18 May). According to a company statement, the new model has compact dimensions: 4,382mm long, 1,841mm wide and 1,605mm high. The Karoq will also be among the class leaders in terms of interior space and practicality, which is one of the marque's core stated brand values; the boot has a capacity of 521 litres with the rear seats in place. When the rear seats are folded down, this capacity increases to 1,630 litres. The rear seats can also be completely removed as part of Skoda's Varioflex seating system, which increases boot capacity to 1,810 litres. The side profile is characterised by short overhangs and the overall visual impression of the Karoq is of a design that is far more contemporary and less upright than the Yeti, with an accent on a sloping rear roof line. The new model features a number of advanced features, including for the first time in a Skoda the option of a digital instrument panel.
The model will have the usual comprehensive choice of gasoline (petrol) and diesel powertrains which will offer customers flexibility in terms of running costs and performance. There will be five powertrains on offer at launch, including two gasoline and three diesel units. The gasoline units start with the three-cylinder 1.0-litre TSI unit and go up to the new 1.5-litre TSI unit with cylinder deactivation, while there are two 1.6-litre diesel variants and a range-topping 2.0-litre diesel unit. Power across the engine options ranges from 115 PS to 190 PS. Apart from the most powerful diesel engine option, all powertrains come with the option of a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG unit, while the 2.0-litre diesel unit comes with a full-time four-wheel drive transmission and the DSG gearbox.
Connectivity and equipment
As has to be the case these days, the Karoq will have the latest connectivity and infotainment solutions. The car comes with the second generation of the VW group's Modular Infotainment Matrix, equipped with a touchscreen display, while the top-two spec systems, Columbus and Amundsen, have a Wi-Fi hotspot. The model will also feature the latest iteration of the Skoda connect system, which is divided into two categories: Infotainment online services are used for information and navigation; the CareConnect services for assistance in case of breakdowns and emergencies. The SmartLink+ platform, compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLinkTM, is available as an option for the basic infotainment system Swing, and comes as standard in the higher specification infotainment systems. The Karoq can also be equipped with a number of the latest advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), including Park Assist, Lane Assist and Traffic Jam Assist. Blind Spot Detect, Front Assist with predictive pedestrian protection and Emergency Assist serve to increase safety, while full LED headlights are available on the Ambition trim level upwards.
Outlook and implications
With its crisp lines, short overhangs and sloping rear roof line, the new Karoq's family resemblance to the bigger Kodiaq is very much in evidence. The Karoq is a more conventional, sleek and less upright design than the Yeti it replaces, and shows a clear lineage with the design of Skoda's new family of SUVs. However, it should also be recognised that the Yeti was a hugely successful model for Skoda and firmly established the brand in the competitive and increasingly popular SUV-C segment, especially in Western Europe. This segment is set to more than double from 2010, when it sold under 1 million units, to 2020, when IHS Markit forecasts the West European SUV-C market will comprise 2.2 million units. However, the segment is massively competitive and other OEMS are also constantly renewing and boosting their model offerings in the segment, especially in Western Europe, where the shift of consumers opting for SUVs/crossovers in favour of other body styles, such as sedans and MPVs, is accelerating. As a result, the outgoing Yeti was only the 16th best-selling nameplate in Western Europe in 2016 and we do not expect a huge improvement on that given the highly competitive state of the market, which will account for around half the new Karoq's sales. As the Yeti has been rolled out in further markets such as Russia and China, its global sales have increased from 52,000 units in 2010 to 103,000 units by 2015. IHS Markit forecasts the Yeti's replacement will sell 124,000 units by 2019; it will be built primarily in Ksaviny in the Czech Republic, as well as in the VW Group's plant in Ningbo in China for the market there. In addition, Skoda will have a full line-up of K-cars when it introduces a new SUV-B crossover model in 2019.
About this Article
The above article is from AutoIntelligence Daily by IHS Markit. AutoIntelligence Daily provides same-day analysis of automotive news, events and trends. Get a free trial.