It’s clear that Skoda is big on SUVs at the moment – just eight months after the launch of the Kodiaq, the Czech brand has unveiled the Karoq, a smaller Volkswagen Tiguan-based offering that replaces the Yeti.

Looking all the world like a shrunken Kodiaq, the new model carries Skoda’s latest design cues, including split “crystalline” headlights (full-LED units optional), a three-dimensional trapezoidal grille, a strong shoulder line and C-shaped LED tail lights. Squared-off arches house wheels ranging from 16 to 19 inches in diameter.

The simple design language is carried over inside, with the main dashboard sitting atop a centre console that flows into the transmission tunnel. Ahead of the driver sits Skoda’s first digital instrument cluster – available as an option – with four customisable layouts. There’s 10-colour ambient lighting as well, and heated steering wheel and front and rear seats can also be specified.

With the standard folding rear seats, the Karoq offers 521 litres of boot space, expandable to 1,630 litres with the rear seats folded. VarioFlex rear seats are also offered and can be individually adjusted to boost luggage room from 479 litres to 588 litres, or a whopping 1,810 litres with them removed. There’s an optional powered tailgate with a handsfree opening function, too.

The Karoq comes as standard with a Swing infotainment system with a 6.5-inch capacitive touchscreen and four speakers. The optional Bolero system gets a high-definition 8.0-inch glass screen, Bluetooth and eight speakers, along with Skoda SmartLink+ incorporating Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink.

Buyers can also specify the Amundsen navigation system with a WiFi hotspot, or the Columbus system with a 9.2-inch display, 64 GB of flash memory, a DVD drive and optional gesture control. LTE connectivity, Phonebox with Qi wireless charging and a 230 V power socket are optional, while Skoda Online adds Infotainment Online features and Care Connect emergency, remote access and assistance functionality.

In terms of safety, the Karoq comes with Front Assist including City Emergency Brake and Predictive Pedestrian Protection as standard, and is available with items like Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Assist, Blind Spot Detect, Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Alert and Emergency Assist which brings the car to a safe halt if the driver is incapacitated.

Measuring 4,382 mm long, 1,841 mm wide and 1,605 mm tall, the Karoq is 160 mm longer, 48 mm wider and 86 mm lower than its predecessor, which Skoda says benefits passenger room. The wheelbase has also been increased by 60 mm to 2,638 mm, or 2,630 mm with all-wheel drive.

Engines include two new turbo petrol mills – a 115 PS/175 Nm 1.0 litre TSI three-cylinder and a 150 PS/250 Nm 1.5 litre TSI four-cylinder – and a new 115 PS/250 Nm 1.6 litre TDI four-pot turbodiesel; there’s also the carryover 2.0 litre TDI that produces 150 PS and 340 Nm of torque.

All are available with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission, along with optional all-wheel drive. At the top of the range sits a 190 PS/400 Nm version of the 2.0 TDI mill, offered solely with AWD and the DSG ‘box.

Underneath, the Karoq gets front MacPherson struts, a four-link rear axle, electro-mechanical steering and an electronic differential lock, with Adaptive Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) dampers and Driving Mode Select available as an option. The latter comes with Normal, Eco, Sport and Individual modes.

All-wheel drive models get an optional Off-Road mode, and buyers can also specify a Rough Road package that includes skid plate, cable protection, brake line protection, fuel line protection and additional protective plastic covers.