Skoda and Volkswagen have been quite popular in India, known for their solid build quality and class-leading levels of comfort. While the T-Roc lures you with its coupe-like roof line, handling and performance, the quality of plastics tends to get you thinking, given its price of ₹ 20 lakh. It is also slightly short on rear legroom. The Skoda Karoq, on the other hand scores brownie points for space and quality, thanks to its bigger dimensions. But it also costs a fair bit more than the Volkswagen. Is it worth the extra money?
Look at me, please!
Both SUVs share the same engine and platform, but viewed from outside, these are two very different SUVs. The T-Roc looks the sportier of the two and features lots of eye-catching elements like DRLs that are also used as turn indicators, and the curve in the C-pillars adds to its styling. The Karoq’s design is very typically that of an SUV, but is rather simple, clean and interesting. But you would’ve noticed by now that it gets its looks from the larger Kodiaq. It is also the heftier of the two, making the T-Roc look more like a pumped-up hatchback. The Karoq is also taller and longer than the T-Roc and comes with a longer wheelbase as well.
The Skoda’s cabin looks much more expensive when compared to the Skoda’s; the fit and finish is excellent. The well-built dashboard comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Even the T-Roc get a touchscreen of the same size, but the multi-colour display on the Karoq looks better somehow. The Karoq also features in-built navigation, and the steering is identical to the one on the Superb. Skoda’s Karoq also comes with an all-digital virtual cockpit that looks particularly snazzy.
At the front, the seats in the Karoq are more comfortable and the driver’s seat gets electric seat adjustment as well. Step into the back of the Karoq, and what is immediately apparent is amount of room on offer, even for tall occupants. The use of lighter materials give it an airier feel, while the huge panoramic sunroof is one of the best features you can experience. The Skoda cars also have the bigger boot at 521 litres.
The T-Roc’s cabin gets an all-black theme, and the plastics are quite hard. The dashboard gets a gun-metal finish, and the infotainment unit isn’t at par with the Skoda’s. However, the T-Roc’s dashboard is more driver-focused. In terms of space, the T-Roc is just about right for four occupants. And the seatbacks on both cars have you sit with your back upright.
Both cars are packed with equipment, but the Karoq features aluminium sport pedals, electrically adjustable driver seat with memory function, cruise control and two more speakers. The Skoda gets 9 airbags, while the T-Roc features lane-keeping aid.
The performance party
Both these cars are powered by a 1.5-litre, turbo petrol engine that makes 148bhp and 250Nm of torque. There’s ample torque available on both SUVs, making them easy to drive. However, there is a difference in power delivery. The T-Roc is more enthusiastic of the two and feels more relaxed. Performance from both SUVs is similar, but the T-Roc sprints from 0-100kph quicker than the Karoq.
The 7-speed DSG transmission, offered on both SUVs, is smooth and makes driving a breeze. The suspension on the T-Roc feel a bit stiff, and with its compact size, it feel rather agile. Body roll isn’t much and it corners well. But the ride quality is a bit too firm, and you can feel the bumps inside the car. The Skoda is setup on the firm side. Over bad roads, it stays composed. The steering is light and it doesn’t dart into corners in the same way the Volkswagen cars.
The Karoq costs that bit more than the T-Roc, but you also get more car for your money. It comes with more equipment and safety goodies. It may not handle as well as the Volkswagen, but it definitely does ride better. The T-Roc will appeal to buyers who like to drive, while the Karoq will be bought by someone who likes being driven around.