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Skoda Kamiq (2019 - 2023)

The Skoda Kamiq is a small crossover SUV based on its sister cars, the SEAT Arona and the Volkswagen T-Cross – although the Kamiq is slightly bigger.

Starting price:
from £22,780

Why we love it:
  • Very spacious and practical
  • Well-equipped
  • Comfortable
Where it could be better:
  • Infotainment is a little sluggish
  • Rivals are more fun
  • Expensive in Monte Carlo trim
Secure your test drive today

Introduction

Skoda Kamiq

The Skoda Kamiq is a small crossover SUV based on its sister cars, the SEAT Arona and the Volkswagen T-Cross – although the Kamiq is slightly bigger.

It looks sporty and aggressive, especially at the front, particularly in top-of-the-range Monte Carlo trim, which is what we’re test-driving here.

While the entry-level SE version gets 17-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a DAB radio, a leather steering wheel, automatic windscreen wipers, electrically adjustable door mirrors and rear parking sensors, higher trims add even more luxuries.

SE Drive gets privacy glass, a larger 9.2-inch Amundsen SatNav display with voice and gesture control, along with more safety features. In contrast, SE L Executive receives 18-inch alloys, heated front seats, keyless go, folding door mirrors, dual-zone climate control, and a 10.25-inch virtual cockpit display, in addition to the SatNav screen.

The flagship Monte Carlo grade gets all the above, plus LED front and rear lights and a panoramic glass roof, plus red and black sports seats. But it's the look that makes it stand out.

While other trims feature chrome styling, it's blacked out on the Monte Carlo edition, with the grille surround, front splitter and mirrors all darkening their appearance, along with the sharp-looking Vega black and silver alloy wheels.

The range-topper is available with a choice of two petrol engines – a 1.0-litre three-cylinder and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder, producing 110 and 150PS, respectively, both available with a six-speed manual 'box or a seven-speed DSG automatic.

Lower-powered, more economical engines are available on lower trims, and the entire range is front-wheel drive.

And, in case you’re wondering: yes, you do get a Rolls-Royce-style pop-out umbrella in the door, a feature which has become a Skoda trademark, along with an ice scraper behind the fuel flap.

The Kamiq looks good on the outside, featuring a sporty appearance, especially on the Monte Carlo version we're testing, thanks to the blackened features we mentioned.

But lower trims without it still look the part, too, with split headlights and a front end that wavers between smiley and meanly aggressive.

Creases in the side exude some personality, while around the back, there’s an angular shape, best noticed when viewed from a diagonal perspective.

Inside, the cabin is functional but lacking in luxury. More use of the silver trim would help brighten things up, although it's not too bad.

The sports steering wheel looks nicer than the standard one, and there’s a piano black panel surrounding the gear lever, along with a wide tablet-like touchscreen for the infotainment.

The system itself has sharp graphics and is reasonably intuitive to use, but it can feel sluggish and clunky at times.

The SE L Executive and above get a digital instrument display, too, known as the Virtual Cockpit, which impressively displays the SatNav map and replaces the analogue dials with a digital display, providing you with plenty of information.

You also get voice control, much like Amazon Alexa, although Skoda's equivalent is called 'Laura', which provides a nice accompanying feature but is not always reliable.

You get two USB-C ports up front, but rear ones can be added as part of an add-on pack.

Overall, the build quality feels good with plenty of soft-to-the-touch materials, although some competitors still have more appealing interiors.

On The Road

Skoda Kamiq

Handling & Performance

There is nothing wrong with choosing a lower trim with a less powerful engine, as the 95PS entry-level has plenty of poke for such a small unit.

It is okay for driving around town, but it does need to be thrashed if you want to get where you're heading quickly – and it only comes with a five-speed manual.

That engine's not available on the Monte Carlo version, though, so instead, we're driving the top-of-the-range 150PS 1.5 TSI with the six-speed manual gearbox, which gets from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds.

It is smooth, refined and accelerates well. But for a car designed for practicality and comfort, it seems overkill. Mind you; it suits the athletic appearance of the Monte Carlo edition well.

The 1.5 TSI is the smoothest, but we suspect most will opt for the mid-range 110PS 1.0 TSI engine, which is available on all trims. It is certainly more adept than the entry-level power unit when it comes to hard acceleration and motorway overtakes.

There is no real preference for the manual over the automatic or vice-versa, as both transmissions shift smoothly. So, it's more a choice based on your needs, with the manual offering more control over the driving and the auto making things more convenient.

The Kamiq seems more adept as a comfortable long-distance cruiser than many of its opponents, too, as ride comfort is impressive.

There are few SUVs that can beat it in this category, so, naturally, it's good at ironing out creases in the road surface and disguising potholes.

Those keen on handling are best looking elsewhere, though.

While the Kamiq isn't bad by any means, it's not built to be a car that's exciting to drive, and there are other options out there, such as the SEAT Arona or the Ford Puma.

Nevertheless, it feels predictable and easy to drive, and although adaptive suspension is optional, it's not worth it.

Skoda Kamiq

Space & Practicality

You don't feel seated high up in the Kamiq, but that's fine if you're on the tall side.

Even the panoramic roof, which is standard on the Monte Carlo edition, isn't a deal breaker for taller drivers. Still, those buying a crossover for its high driving position might be a tad disappointed.

Finding a comfy driving position is straightforward, and there's an appropriate amount of travel in the seat adjustment, although electric adjustment is an optional extra.

We get adjustable lumbar support, but it’s only included as standard on the top two trims.

There is a lot of space up front, too, and visibility is excellent thanks to the thin pillars on either side of the windscreen.

The rear is very roomy, too, with lots of legroom, and even though the roof slopes down slightly, you won't find headroom a problem, either.

Three in the back will still be a little tight but more pleasant than in most rivals, while drivers have a reasonably good view out of the back. But the rear pillars are thicker, so reversing parking sensors offer welcome assistance and are standard on all models.

We also get a rear-view camera.

There is a bunch of interior storage on offer, including the door bins, glove box and, on our test car, a pull-out drawer under the front seats, although that’s an extra.

While the interior is bigger than the T-Cross on which it’s based, you don’t get the VW’s siding rear seats, which is one drawback.

That said, there’s so much legroom you likely won’t need them.

Boot space is measured at 400 litres, expanding to 1,395 litres with the back seats folded down in a 60:40 split, which is less convenient than the 40:20:40 configuration you'll find on some cars.

You can specify a height-adjustable boot floor, too, which minimises the load lip for those who'll regularly need to slide heavy or oversized items in and out.

Ownership

Skoda Kamiq

Running Costs

The higher-powered 150PS engine in the Monte Carlo edition manages around 47mpg, producing up to 137g/km of CO2, with very similar figures for both the manual and automatic transmission.

There’s more of a discrepancy if you choose the 110PS version, which achieves 49mpg and 130g/km of CO2 in the manual and 46mpg and 139g/km with the automatic.

The 95PS engine manages 51mpg, emitting 125g/km of CO2, but is only available on the bottom two trims.

Even that is unlikely to make the Kamiq appeal as a company car, as significant savings can be made by choosing plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles, which keep Benefit in Kind tax low.

Skoda has a decent reputation for reliability nowadays, although it’s still some way off the likes of Kia and other Far East brands, which dominate the league tables.

You still only get a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, although you can extend this if you’re willing to pay more.

Safety & Security

Euro NCAP safety rating - 5-star (tested in 2019)

The Skoda Kamiq scored highly when crash-tested. Safety systems include automatic emergency braking, hill hold control and tyre pressure monitoring with other features, including lane-keep assist, available on higher models or as optional extras.

Verdict

Overall, the Skoda Kamiq is an excellent car that’s spacious, has a decent interior, a range of good engines and, especially in Monte Carlo trim, is very well equipped.

However, it's 20% more expensive than the entry-level SE trim, which has everything you need if your priority is to have a practical family car.

It is less entertaining to drive than some of its challengers, so the sportier styling of the Monte Carlo version is somewhat lost, rendering the 150PS engine rather needless, as keener drivers might be looking elsewhere.

As such, the Monte Carlo is only a car you'd buy because you want it rather than need it. But that shouldn't put you off from the lower trims, which tick all the boxes for a comfortable, spacious runabout that suits the whole family with great aplomb.

A mid-life facelifted version is coming soon. So, as far as the existing model is concerned, there could be bargains in the not-too-distant future if you're willing to wait.

Secure your test drive today
By Tim Barnes-Clay
May 22, 2023

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