Skoda has added the updated Karoq SUV to its ‘blue light’ fleet, allowing emergency services to order the vehicle as a rapid response car. It joins other models including the Octavia and Kodiaq in Skoda’s range of converted vehicles for use by the police, fire brigade and ambulance service.
In the Karoq, the conversion includes LED signal lights built into the front screen, grille, tailgate and number plate, as well as a 100-amp three-tone siren. The cars also come with a fully integrated “communications platform” that works in harmony with the existing 8-inch infotainment system.
Skoda has shown its new model off in three different guises, including a police response car and a rapid response ambulance, as well as a fire brigade support vehicle. Each has been created by the company’s “one-stop shop” conversion service, which is available to all the ‘blue-light’ services.
Although the vehicles look specialised from the outside, the car under the skin is much the same as the vehicle private customers can purchase from dealers. Like the conventional Karoq, the blue-light car comes with a 588-litre boot and the VarioFlex seating option, which allows the back seats to be removed to create up to 1,810 litres of cargo capacity.
The blue-light Karoqs also come with the same range of EVO powertrains now offered across the Volkswagen Group. There are two diesel options and three petrol engines, offering between 109 bhp and 188 bhp, while the car is available with six-speed manual transmissions and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearboxes.
The 188 bhp TSI 190 petrol engine comes with an automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive as standard, while the 148 bhp TDI 150 diesel engine is available with a little more choice. That engine can be specified with a six-speed manual gearbox or the seven-speed automatic, and it offers a choice of fuel-saving front-wheel drive or the more capable all-wheel-drive system. Skoda says the four-wheel-drive option will give the emergency services more ability to reach areas with slippery surfaces and more rugged terrain.
In fact, the only real mechanical difference between the Karoqs used in emergency service roles and those driven by consumers will be a modified chassis. Skoda says the tougher ‘blue-light’ Karoqs will be better “equipped to deal with the demands” of a “working life on the road”.