Nimble Do-It-Alls

6 min read
You can’t deny the convenience and practicality of an SUV. Here are three that tick all the boxes without being too hefty to haul around the city.

1. SKODA KAROQ STYLE

ŠKODA, from the Czech Republic, has been making headway into the auto market in Singapore with its value-for-money proposition across their stable. The Karoq shores up their stake in the mid-size SUV category.

Even though it isn’t the brand’s largest SUV (that would be the aptly named Kodiaq), the Karoq’s VarioFlex seating system can offer up to 1810 litres of boot space. It’s 4,382mm length and 1,841mm width means that it is still nimble enough for you to negotiate tight parking lots, making it a breeze to weave through traffic. And with the back seat in place, the car still gives drivers 588 litres of capacity to load up.

The Karoq’s exterior exudes European sensibility with its three-dimensional front section, which symbolises protection and sturdiness. A narrow strip of lights running along the bottom edge of the main headlights serves both aesthetic and safety needs.
The state-of-the-art 1.5 TSI engine boasts a combination of high-power output and low fuel consumption. The car sprints to 100km/h in 9.0 seconds from a standing start and can reach a top speed of 203km/h. Active Cylinder Technology (ACT) is a distinctive feature that achieves a maximum torque of 250Nm between 1,500 and 3,500rpm. The system switches off the second and third cylinders for a short time when their power output is not needed, resulting in savings of up to 0.5 litres of fuel per 100km, depending on driving style.

And speaking of driving style, the Karoq offers Normal, Sport, Eco and Individual driving modes. One unique aspect is that the Eco mode features an “idle” function that disengages the drive when the accelerator is released.

Driver assistance aspects available in the Karoq mirrors those found in higher segment cars. Safety systems included — the Driver Alert, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Front Assist with emergency brake, Front Assist with pedestrian monitor, Side Assist with rear traffic alert, and Park Distance Control (PDC) — along with the car’s solid body structure further make the Karoq a viable choice for an all-round performing compact SUV.

PRICE   FROM $128,900 (WITH COE)
ENGINE   1,498CC TSI TURBOCHARGED PETROL WITH DIRECT INJECTION
TRANSMISSION   AUTOMATIC 7-SPEED DSG
POWER   110KW @ 5,000–6,000RPM
TORQUE   250NM @ 1500–3500RPM
0–100KM/H   9 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR   SKODA SINGAPORE (TEL: 6305 8668)

*Information accurate as at time of publishing.

2. MERCEDES-BENZ GLA 200

A quick glance around the roads of Singapore and it is quite clear that the Mercedes-Benz GLA is one of the most popular compact SUVs in the country. And why should that be any surprise?

Since its introduction in 2013, this entry-level Merc has been sitting in a sweet spot, thanks to the increasing demand for this genre, particularly among upgraders looking to move into the European segment. At its relatively “reasonable” price point, this smart-looking model bridges the gap between those looking for a practical urban hauler and a stylish vehicle that looks good regardless of what kinds of road it takes.

The latest iteration of the GLA boasts a wide array of interior furnishings that uphold the three-pointed star’s position as a luxury brand. Truly setting the GLA apart from its competitors are features such as smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay, a three-spoke multi-function steering wheel with 12 functions, and sport seats finished with Artico leather and Maringa fabric.

Of course, the powerhouse under the hood is an ever-reliable Mercedes-Benz 1.6 litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that pumps out more than enough juice to cruise through Singapore’s roads. The 7G-Dual Clutch Transmission ensures smooth transition from start to stop, and the ECO start-stop function helps to keep you eco-friendly on the roads. The cruise control limiter helps to keep you within the speed limit when cruising the tarmac; in the off-chance that you find yourself off tarmac, the GLA’s off-road suspension will ensure a smooth ride.

Customary to Mercedes-Benz, safety concerns are all taken care of with this model’s complete range of features. Active Brake Assist, Attention Assist, Reverse Camera, and Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC are all in place, in lockstep with the future of autonomous driving. The GLA goes further than expected by also providing rain-sensing windscreen wipers, Adaptive Brake lights, tyre pressure monitoring, and run-flat tyres.

There are three GLA models to choose from: the 180, 200 and 250. Whichever you select, you’ll be driving one of the most popular luxury compact SUVs on the road.

PRICE   FROM $177,888 (WITH COE) for the GLA 200
ENGINE   1,595CC INLINE FOUR-CYLINDER
TRANSMISSION   AUTOMATIC 7-G DUAL CLUTCH
POWER   156HP @ 5,300RPM
TORQUE   250NM @ 1,250–4,000RPM
0–100KM/H   8.1 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR   CYCLE & CARRIAGE (TEL: 6298 1818)

*Information accurate as at time of publishing.

3. LEXUS UX 200

Lexus has commanded top perch in the full-size SUV market for some time now with the reputation and popularity of the RX line. Now, it hopes to plug the gap lower down with the compact UX.

We have come to expect that any new model coming out of Lexus will not be rolled out without careful thought and execution — the UX is no exception. On the surface, the new line already reflects the brand’s respect for clean lines tinged with hints of the avant-garde. The design of the UX is inspired by the Japanese concept of engawa: the connection between the interior and exterior in harmony with the environment. The new Lexus UX dashboard seamlessly flows into the bonnet, with the widest field of vision in its class, giving you a better view of the road ahead and the exciting world around you.

While the Lexus UX’s leather upholstery is inspired by Sashiko stitching, a traditional Japanese quilting technique, it is given a contemporary twist by combining it with perforated art patterns, thus giving the seats a smooth, yet strong and modern finish. The UX is also the first Lexus model to offer a new dashboard trim finish that is inspired by the grain of Japanese paper, known as Washi, familiar from the paper sliding doors of traditional Japanese houses.

The car also showcases Lexus’ new GA-C global engine platform, which offers high structural rigidity and low centre of gravity.  With a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine and a new Direct-Shift continuously variable transmission, the UX 200 realises both excellent fuel economy and exhilarating driving performance.


In the cockpit, the UX’s controls are ergonomically engineered — you have easy access to a wide range of controls. The new generation Lexus Remote Touch Interface, which is designed for smartphone-style operation, allows you to access the onboard menu. Combine this with the 10.3-inch EMV Integrated Navigation System as well as the Lexus Premium Audio System with eight speakers, and you’ll find renewed pleasure in cruising along the roads.

Being a premium Japanese brand, Lexus has not cut corners when it comes to driver assistance and safety. The UX comes with the Lexus Safety System+, designed to help pave the way to a world with fewer collisions and better-informed drivers. An integrated suite of class-leading standard active Safety equipment, its features are designed to help in certain circumstances, from providing bicyclist and pedestrian alerts, to enhancing illumination while reducing glare for oncoming vehicles, to keeping you centred in your lane and maintaining a pre-set speed and following distance from the vehicle ahead.

PRICE   FROM $162,800 (WITH COE)
ENGINE   1,987CC INLINE FOUR CYLINDER
TRANSMISSION   10-SPEED DIRECT SHIFT CVT
POWER   170BHP @ 6,600RPM
TORQUE   204NM @ 4,400RPM
0–100KM/H   9.2 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR   BORNEO MOTORS (TEL: 6631 1388)

*Information accurate as at time of publishing.