Skoda may be focusing heavily on deep localisation for its new models that are currently being developed under the 'India 2.0' Project, but the Czech carmaker is also actively considering the full imports and CKD (completely knocked down) route to add niche models to its line-up. And the Karoq SUV is one such model that's been looked at for a launch in our market. In fact, it was even spotted testing on our roads, but the plan was put on hold as the model was proving to be expensive for our market.
The good news is the model has finally got the green light for launch in India in mid-2020. The model will not be brought in to India in CKD (or completely knocked-down) form but will be a CBU or completely built unit import. The move follows the Indian government's decision to relax the norms for vehicles imported as a CBU (completely built unit). Based on the response for the model, the carmaker will evaluate the possibility of assembling it locally in the future.
The move allows carmakers to import 2,500 passenger vehicles a year without requiring them to be homologated in India. As a result, Skoda can bring the Karoq to our market with little or no investment, gauge consumer demand and accordingly make a decision on localisation.
Apart from Skoda, other carmakers such as Mercedes, Audi and Volkswagen are also planning to launch models by importing them under the new rule.
While the Karoq is larger than the Yeti it replaced, it is more conventional in looks too. Positioned below the seven-seat Kodiaq, the five-seat Karoq shares its MQB modular platform with other VW Group cars like the Octavia, Superb and the Passat.
Internationally, the SUV is offered with two petrol and three diesel engines. The petrol range comprises a 115hp, 1.0-litre, TSI three-cylinder unit; and a 150hp, 1.5-litre TSI motor. The diesel engine line comprises a new 115hp, 1.6-litre engine; the 150hp 2.0-litre unit from the Kodiaq; and a range-topping 189hp, 2.0-litre mill. The top-spec engine comes mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox as standard, while the others are offered with a 6-speed manual.