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They're cousins that, on the surface, seem almost alike, but are priced very differently. So which one is the better deal?
We don’t usually compare two cars with as much in common as the Volkswagen T-Roc and Skoda Karoq. After all, they’re both their respective brands’ premium compact SUVs based on Volkswagen’s MQB platform, and come in a single fully-loaded variant. They also share the same 1.5-litre inline-four TSI (turbo-petrol) engine making identical power and torque outputs (148bhp and 250Nm) mated to identical 7-speed DSG gearboxes. In fact, both also feature the same party trick of switching off two cylinders in case of ‘relaxed’ driving. But then, the Rs 5 lakh price gap means there’s more to it than meets the eye. Read on to find out what all it is.
At a glance
Viewed from afar, it is obvious the Karoq, the spiritual successor of the capable but ill-fated Yeti, is a smaller version of the Kodiaq. This is evident from the grille with vertical slats and slim, almost squinting headlights. The T-Roc, on the other hand, does not show as much a resemblance to the Tiguan, relinquishing its angular design for a more rounded, almost crossover-like silhouette. That said, the styling elements between the Karoq and T-Roc remain quite similar. However, only the T-Roc features dual-tone exterior colours.
There is, though, a subtle difference in dimensions, with the Karoq being 40mm longer overall, with a wheelbase greater by 48mm. Another point of difference is the ground clearance. Despite having the same 215/55 R17 tyres, the Karoq rides 40mm higher than the T-Roc. Both of this undoubtedly means the Karoq’s overall comfort and ride quality will be that much better.
Creature comforts and safety
Anyone spending the price tags either of these cars command wants more than just mechanical spreadsheet. Both cars get features such as the adaptive headlights, a panoramic sunroof, fully digital instrument cluster, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, Apple Carplay and Android Auto (although only the Karoq gets smartphone mirroring), tyre pressure monitoring system, rear parking camera, and front and rear parking sensors, and left ORVM tilt while reversing, which are more or less par for the course. Moving now to the unique attribute and one remarkable feature is the inclusion of nine airbags in the Karoq as opposed to the six airbags in the T-Roc.
Another indispensable safety feature only seen in the Karoq is the iBuzz, a system that measures the driver’s pedal and steering wheel use, and in case of erratic or inconsistent inputs, warns the driver via vibrations in the steering wheel or displaying an alert in the instrument console. Now, though both the T-Roc and Karoq get auto-dimming rear view mirrors, the Karoq also gets the auto-dimming wing mirrors, which combined with the fatigue-sensing measures already in place, will no doubt ensure happy and stress-free road trips.
And when it comes to road trips, everyone has their own comfortable setting for the driver’s seat, don’t they? Well, the Karoq, too, knows that, offering memory setting for not only the electronically-adjustable driver’s seat but also the wing mirrors. But it’s not like the T-Roc leaves you wanting, as its front seats are heated, although they only feature manual adjustment.
On the face of it, the clear majority of features the Karoq packs do give it an edge over the T-Roc. However, considering the massive gap in prices, with the T-Roc’s Rs 19.99 lakh coming in a good Rs 5 lakh below the Rs 24.99 lakh sticker commanded by the Karoq (prices ex-showroom). Additionally, the fact both of them come under the same aftersales and service umbrella makes it a moot point as well.
It all boils down to a head versus heart kind of decision. Those (including me) looking for simple and uncomplicated efficiency, the norm with Teutonic cars, will go for the T-Roc; while those who have a taste for the finer things, and aren’t afraid of showing it off, will plonk for the Karoq, subject, of course, to the depth of their pockets.