From £17,700 (test car was £19,935 without options)
- Easy to drive and comfortable ride
- Spacious with good storage limits
- Upmarket interior and eye-catching design
- Only available as front wheel drive
- Other small SUVs have a higher driving position
- You pay extra for the high-end kit
Skoda recently launched its fresh naming structure to coincide with the introduction of its of its all-new SUV line-up. All models begin with a 'K' and end with a 'Q' so we have the Kodiaq, Karoq and finally, completing the trio, is the Kamiq – the smallest of the bunch.
The five-door Kamiq is available in three trim levels called S, SE and SE-L – a sportier Monte Carlo version will be added soon - and customers can choose from a range of punchy petrol and diesel engines.
It is a very attractive option in the ever-growing small SUV market which will appeal to people who like a hatchback-sized car but with added practicality thrown in for good measure.
On The Road
The Skoda Kamiq is available with a choice of 1.0-litre or 1.5-litre petrol engines or a 1.6-litre diesel unit. There is also the option of manual or DSG automatic transmissions, but it’s worth noting the car is strictly front-wheel drive. So, if you’re looking for something to venture off-road with, then search elsewhere.
We opted for the Kamiq in mid-range SE trim, powered by a lively 1.0-litre TSi 115PS petrol engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. With 200Nm of torque, the car could complete the 0-62mph sprint in a respectable 9.9 seconds and maxed out at 120mph.
Those figures may not be the most electrifying amongst small SUVs but the likely owners of the Kamiq will not be deterred by the odd second or two when it comes to performance. They will want a car that is easy to drive without being boring and that’s just what the Kamiq is. In fact, it’s one of the simplest cars I’ve driven in a long time – everything just seems to click together really well. The acceleration is smooth with slick gear changes and the engine delivers all the power you could wish for.
Although the Kamiq is very capable on motorways or winding country lanes, it has been designed more for the city dweller, so the manoeuvrability needed to be good – and it is. The car has a very impressive turning lock and the fairly light steering makes light work of weaving through busy traffic or navigating its way round a multi-storey car park.
The steering wheel offers ample driver feedback and is nicely weighted and as the car is not as high as some rivals it feels well planted when faced with sharp bends and long sweeping curves.
It feels composed and very grown up on motorways, cruising effortlessly at 70mph and is also beautifully agile in busier town centres.
The ride is smooth and comfortable even for back seat passengers and the suspension set-up feels quite soft so smaller bumps and dips in the road are ironed out without too much fuss. The 17-inch wheels on our car seemed the perfect match. There are larger wheels available but they may prove detrimental to the ride quality as well as the running costs.
Generally the car remains fairly quiet, although you will notice some additional engine noise when driven a little more enthusiastically.
The Kamiq name comes from the language of the Inuit people in northern Canada and means ‘something that fits perfectly in every situation’ – that just about sums the car up.
Skoda’s SUVs have proved very popular recently and the latest Kamiq should also follow suit as it looks the business with sharp styling and lots of on-board kit. Viewed from any angle this small SUV looks upmarket and it is the first model to feature the company’s new-look front end design that boasts a separate strip of daytime running lights and indicators sitting above the main headlights.
There is an upright radiator grille with distinctive double slats and a raised centre section running down the entire bonnet. In addition, there’s a prominent front spoiler, rear diffuser, black roof rails and our Kamiq SE model boasted 17-inch Propus Aero alloy wheels as a £420 option over the standard 17-inch Braga alloys.
Move inside and it’s impressive. The build quality is of a very high standard and there is a very modern, clutter-free feel to the car with lots of soft touch surfaces and smart decorative inlays. The black and silver cloth upholstery looks premium in its styling and the fully panoramic sunroof allows light to flood into the cabin.
When it comes to driver refinement, the Kamiq is very impressive. As the car is not as high-sided as some small SUVs there is little wind noise even when driven on fast-moving motorways. The highly effective insulation also does a worthy job of protecting occupants from any road surface or engine sounds, especially at lower speeds.
In The Car
The driving position inside the Skoda Kamiq is good thanks to the ability to fully adjust both the seat and steering wheel so it’s a car to suit people of all shapes and sizes.
Then once sitting comfortably you soon notice how driver-focused the layout of all the controls and instrumentation is. There is an eight-inch touchscreen and all the latest on-board kit is available such as Wireless Smartlink for Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity – this will be extended to incorporate Android Auto on later models, but for now they need to be connected via cable to work. Other creature comforts include a DAB radio, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker sound system, dual zone climate control, cruise control and two of the latest USB-C ports.
Heated seats and a heated steering wheel add to the car’s appeal in chilly winter months. The climate control panel is separate from the touchscreen for ease of use, although a button does direct you to the screen to alter the direction of air flow, the air con and the steering wheel heater.
Although the Kamiq does have higher ground clearance and a raised driving position compared to a standard hatchback, it is not as elevated as some other small SUVs, so the all-round visibility is not quite as impressive as rivals. However, the driver does benefit from a good all-round view which is essential as the Kamiq will very likely be used on the dreaded school run.
Another clever feature is the panoramic sunroof with a blind that rolls forward rather than backwards and that means it doesn’t compromise on rear headroom.
The test car also featured an Amundsen sat nav with Care Connect and voice control. Care Connect is a facility that supports the driver with automatic emergency calls, breakdown calls and, via an app, it is possible to double check the car is locked and the doors and sunroof are closed.
Although the Kamiq is the baby in Skoda’s SUV stable, it still offers plenty of storage space with a boot capacity that ranges from 400 litres to 1,395 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
There are a number of convenient storage compartments scattered throughout the car and these offer an additional 26 litres of space for bits and pieces. They include an illuminated glovebox, a storage area beneath the armrest, quite small cup holders, door bins and some handy trays.
Skoda is renowned for including Simply Clever features in its cars to make day-to-day journeys that much more enjoyable and the Kamiq has several, including an umbrella in the driver’s door, a removeable LED light in the boot and an ice scraper that’s located in the fuel filler flap.
The Kamiq also has ISOFIX fixtures so fitting a child seat is easy and the access is made simpler thanks to the wide opening rear doors.
The elevated seating position and relatively generous amount of space also make getting in and out of the car easy. Another area where the Kamiq excels compared to its closes rivals is back seat passenger space. There is simple oodles of leg, shoulder and head space making it ideal for two adults to sit comfortably or three if they don’t mind rubbing shoulders.
The Kamiq line-up starts from £17,700 for the entry-level S model and rises to £21,180 for the Kamiq SE-L. There will be a sportier Monte Carlo edition introduced soon although the price has not yet been confirmed.
Our test car, in mid-range SE grade, was priced at £19,935 but a number of optional extras saw the final cost rise to £24,460 which is quite hefty for a car vying for sales in the small SUV sector. But if you can do without the likes of an Amundsen sat nav with Care Connect and Voice Control, a panoramic sunroof, special 17-inch alloys and dual zone climate control, then the price is far more competitive.
When it comes to running costs, the combined fuel efficiency for the car is rated at 47.9-42.8 under the more stringent yet realistic WLTP testing with carbon emissions of 116g/km.
These CO2 figures would result in a first year Vehicle Excise Duty cost of £170 which would drop down to the standard £145 rating after 12 months.
The Skoda Kamiq SE is in insurance group 11.
Skoda is part of the VW Group and has a long established reputation for building dependable and reliable cars that are made for longevity and the Kamiq should continue that tradition.
The interior is very well constructed with a well thought out mix of sturdy upholstery and practical surfaces. The seats are well built and the fabric certainly looks and feels like it will survive the test of time. All the switchgear feels solid and there are lots of wipe-clean surfaces in the back just in case the children have any spillages.
The car comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty which is not as impressive as the five year deals offered by the likes of Renault or the industry-leading seven-year packages Kia offers.
It will come as little surprise to learn that a car from the Skoda stable scored the maximum five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and the Kamiq did exactly that with top marks for active and passive safety.
The car scored 96 per cent for adult occupant protection and was also given a maximum score for cyclist protection making it one of the safest vehicles in its class.
The Kamiq SE test car was packed with safety features, including hill hold control, lane assist, front assist, rear parking sensors and a full suite of airbags.
The car also features e-Call whereby, in the event of an accident, the Skoda Emergency Centre is automatically contacted with information about the location of the car, direction of travel, number of passengers and the seriousness of the accident. The driver or passenger can also activate the system if they witness an accident and the assistant will stay on the line until the emergency services arrive.
There is an alarm to keep intruders at bay.