Skoda’s Yeti, its first compact sports utility vehicle and a car brimming with personality, was always going to be a hard act to follow.

An unusual name, boxy styling and rugged looks made it an instant hit, particularly with fans of outdoor pursuits and people looking for a spacious practical car that could take anything a family fancied throwing at it.

With one in every three new cars being sold in the UK now an SUV, the Yeti’s successor needed to be something exceptional. Thankfully it is.

Though it might have a less distinctive character than the chunky Yeti, the Karoq is more refined, packed with technology and maintains that essential versatility that made the Yeti such a sales success.

Perhaps crucially it is also excellent to drive. Nicely weighted steering, taut handling, combined with a comfortable ride and excellent economy made my 600 miles with the Karoq a real pleasure.

Its high seating position gives that increasingly popular elevated view of the road and doesn’t feel especially large when manoeuvring around town.

Plenty of wheel travel and supple suspension, along with sensibly large tyre sidewalls, means the Karoq remains calm and composed whatever the road surface.

The cabin has an impressive quality with upmarket materials and a real sense of solidity.

The Karoq comes in four trim levels with four engine options and the availability of a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox across the range. The 150 horsepower 2.0-litre TDI is fitted with 4x4 transmission as standard.

At its heart, the Karoq is built for comfort and convenience. There is plenty of interior space and a substantial boot, complete with four sliding hooks ideal for carrying bags and a removable net to pin down awkward-shaped objects. The test car also came with a double-sided boot mat, a brilliant option for those who expect to regularly load up with wet dogs or muddy boots.

Extra versatility comes from the VarioFlex seating system that proved so popular on the Yeti, allowing you to slide, recline and even remove the three individual rear seats.

Skoda is proud of the added extras that are built into the cabin – the umbrella under the passenger seat, the small lidded rubbish bin in the driver’s door bin, the rear-facing tablet holders that can be fitted to the front headrests – and rightly so as they are all really useful.

Standard features fitted across the range include alloy wheels, privacy glass, LED rear lights, dual-zone climate control, a pedestrian monitor and driver fatigue sensor.

Standard safety systems include front assist with city emergency brake, electronic tyre pressure monitoring, seven airbags and an electronic stability system.

All models feature touchscreen infotainment systems, with the SE L model driven here fitted with a navigation system and an eight-inch display as standard, not to mention keyless entry and start/stop, LED headlights with adaptive front light system, heated front seats, and Alcantara upholstery. SE L trim also adds a colour multifunction trip computer, rear view camera and front and rear parking sensors.

Incidentally, Skoda says the name Karoq comes from the language of the Alutiiq – a tribe native to Kodiaq island in Alaska – combining their words for car and arrow – a symbol central to the Skoda brand logo.

The Yeti was a hard act to follow and Skoda has achieved it with style.

Auto facts

Model: Skoda Karoq SE L 2.0 TDI 4x4

Price: £30,815 as tested

Insurance group: 15E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 56.5mpg

Top speed: 121mph

Length: 438.2cm/172.5in

Width: 184.1cm/72.5in

Luggage capacity: 20.7 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 12.1 gallons/55 litres

CO2 emissions: 132 g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles