Living with a Skoda Karoq: 2 years & 21,000 km update

The Karoq still proves to be a brilliant car. Even after 2 years, it still looks and feels like new. A perfect do-it car with great build quality and interiors.

BHPian Mr.Perera recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

With covid restrictions mostly out of the way, the Karoq had spent a good amount of time on the road last year. The car still outshines its quality, fit and finish. No creaking noise, no loose panels, this thing is built like a Tank!

There were no major problems or issues during last year. The only ‘problem’ we faced was the availability of the stock Hankook tyres.

The tyre availability issue

The Karoq’s front tyre had encountered a sidewall burst while I was driving on the infamous Trivandrum-Kochi Highway. The front left tyre fell in a pothole, I was doing around 70kmph and I squeezed all the muscles in my body and heard a loud thud from the front left wheel. Luckily I was able to stop safely. When I got out and checked the wheel I saw the tyre had torn pretty badly. I was unsure if the impact had caused more damage to any other components, so I decided to call the RSA and got the car towed to my service centre.

The Art

The Artist

The car had reached the Skoda service in Trivandrum and they inspected it thoroughly and found out there is no other issue other than the damaged tyre. They told me they will try getting a new tyre and will fit it and give the car. But the next day they informed me that they checked at almost all dealerships in India and this specific Hankook tyre that come in the Karoq is not available anywhere. I too tried searching for this tyre with all major tyre stockists in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata but no one had it. The only option I had was to get a different tyre and put it. But I didn’t want to do that since 3 will be Hankooks and one will be some other make. So the frustrated me wrote a mail to Skoda, cc’ing Zac Hollis. Within a day I get a call from my dealer saying that Skoda India has agreed to change all my 4 tyres to a new one and as goodwill, I would need to pay only 30% of the entire price. The total estimate they gave was Rs 48,000 for 4 tyres and I had to pay only Rs 16,000 for 4 new tyres. Kudos to Skoda for their good customer service. They had given 4 new Continental Ultra Contact UC6 tyres. The Conti UC6 seems to be a much more comfort-oriented tyre. The comfort and noise levels seem to be better than the Hankooks. But it doesn’t grip as well as the Hankooks. I can hear the tyres screeching and begging for grip on those long winding corners.

Low Oil Warning

At around 17,000 km the car showed a ‘Check oil level warning’. I checked the dipstick and found the oil level was slightly below the lower limit. Took the car to the service and topped up around 300 ml of oil. I realised these engines consume quite a bit of oil, tried getting a 1L bottle of oil from the service but sadly they didn’t have the small bottles in stock. Once it comes back in stock I plan to keep one bottle in the car all the time.

Second service

The second service was done at 18,300 km. Since we had taken the 4-year service plan from Skoda all works were included in that. All normal things like oil, oil filter, air filter and cabin filter were changed this time. When I went to pick up the car they had given me a bill of Rs 635 saying it is the charge for cleaning and lubricating the sunroof mechanism.

Other observations:

From the beginning, I was not happy with the front wipers as they occasionally made a very disturbing screeching sound. I showed this at the showroom and even after they cleaned the windshield and wiper, still the noise was there. They said there is no warranty on the wiper and I had to change them. The stock wipers cost a whooping 3500 bucks as per my Service Advisor. I later got a set of Blaupunkt wipers for Rs 1100 and boy I am impressed. For one-third, the price the Blaupunkt wipers are super value for money and do a good job during the rains.

The multimedia system has some bugs when I connect my phone via Apple Carplay. Sometimes the connection gets lost and then it takes a lot of time to detect my phone again. I have never had this issue in my Octavia when I use the same phone and the same cable. Hope a software update might fix this.

The Still So Good things

  • The Interiors – I can still write a long essay about the interior of the car! It is so good that still every time I get in the car it makes me go “Wow”. Everything is so well put together and looks and feels so fantastic. It is a bit difficult to keep the light-coloured leathers clean, but I always ensure to clean them after every long drive or once every 6 months.
  • Driving feedback – The chassis + suspension is just magic! The car is so well planted at triple-digit speeds and gives immense confidence while driving on the highway. The engine isn’t the power unit and I wish it had a bit more power, but once this thing gains speed it just flies!
  • Headlights – The stock headlights are really good and are the best I have ever experienced in any car. Night-time driving is so stress-free and safe. To put things in perspective my Octavia also has full LED headlights like the Karoq. But those are not even half as bright as the ones in the Karoq! In Octavia during a rainy night, driving with the headlights is like driving with no headlights at all!
  • Paint quality – Every car detailer who sees the car has so much to praise about the paint quality. They say the paint quality in Skoda and VW cars is one of the best but the paint quality in the Karoq seems to be so good that it is a detailer’s dream.

The not so Good things

  • The fear of having a DQ200 gearbox – No matter however good the car is, the fact that the gearbox isn’t the reliable one out there still is there behind my head. Haven’t heard any Karoq owner getting a gearbox issue till now, but we all have seen the multiple threads here and frustrated owners who have had a tough time due to the dry clutch DQ200 unit. Just praying that nothing such creeps up in the Karoq.
  • The almost white coloured seats – For someone (like me) who loves cleaning their car, having these seats is a good thing. You regularly have a place to spend time cleaning the car. They get dirty very fast. But for the rest big bunch of people it is a pain to keep them clean.
  • Getting basic accessories – The problem of owning a limited run car is the fact that getting basic accessories like car cover, window blinds etc is difficult. I have searched multiple shops and all over Amazon and have never found them. Luckily Creta’s car cover was a perfect fit for the Karoq. But I’m still looking for sunblinds.
  • Fuel efficiency – The fuel efficiency from the 1.5L engine isn’t the best in my opinion. There are owners here who have got even 19 km/l on highways. But the best I have got on a highway drive is 15 km/l. That too being very easy on the throttle. Its worst during stop-go traffic, I have seen figures like 6 km/l on drives within the city.

The best FE I have got to date

Also noticed that the car runs much better and smoother on 95 octane petrol. The recommended fuel rating in the Karoq is 95 octane fuel. In the last year, IOC has been aggressively rolling out the XP95. And it’s come to a point that it’s available in almost all IOC bunks. Initially, I used to fill only normal petrol, but once XP95 came, I stuck to filling XP95 all the time. The change in refinement especially during cold starts is very obvious after that.

Overall Impressions after 2 years

The Karoq still proves to be a brilliant car. Even after 2 years, it still looks and feels like new. A perfect do-it car with great build quality and interiors. The other day I happened to check out the top-end Kushaq Monte Carlo model which is around 24 lakhs on road. Sadly for that money, the Kushaq lacks the finesse that Skodas are known for. No offence to Kushaq owners, but Skoda should seriously consider bringing back the Karoq in India, at least as a CKD. We really deserve such well-built cars.

Some photos of the Czech beauty

The Karoq with its younger brother

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