THE Skoda Kamiq is the third and smallest in the Czech car maker's SUV line-up, but despite its compact stature it packs a mighty punch.
Skoda describes the Kamiq as a ‘car for the urban jungle' and that perfectly sums up this five-door fire-cracker of a model which is very happy pottering through busy city centres, but can also hold its own out on the country lanes and fast-moving motorways.
Our Kamiq, in mid-grade SE trim, was powered bya spritely three-cylinder 1.0-litre TSI 115ps petrol engine matched to a six-speed manual gearbox.
With 200Nm of torque on offer, it could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in a very respectable 9.9 seconds and topped out at 120mph. According to official figures, the car could deliver a combined42.8-47.9mpg with carbon emissions of 116g/km.
The Kamiq SE will set you back £19,935, but as is the norm with many manufacturers these days, there is a whole range of options available and these bumped the final price up to £24,460.
That is quite a hefty sum for a compact SUV, but you are guaranteed a lot of car for the outlay.
And there's no denying the fact that the Kamiq is very easy on the eye. It's the first model to feature Skoda's new look front end that includes a separate strip of daytime running lights and indicators that sit above the main headlights.
Other eye-catching design cues include an upright radiator grille with distinctive double slats, a raised centre section running down the entire bonnet, black roof rails, a front spoiler, rear diffuser, plus 17-inch Propus Aero alloy wheels as a £420 option over the standard wheels.
The interior is typically Skoda which means it is clutter-free, modern in its design and very driver focused.
A fully panoramic sunroof lets light flood into the cabin and the neatly upholstered seats offer good levels of comfort, whilea heated steering wheel and heated seats are very welcome in the colder winter months.
Despite being the smallest in the Skoda SUV family, the Kamiq is deceptively spacious and even back seat passengers are treated to plenty of leg, head and shoulder room. In addition, the boot can swallow400 litres of kit - a capacity that rises to 1,395 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
The car is generously equipped with all the latest infotainment systems such as a neat eight-inch touchscreen, dual zone climate control, DAB radio, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker sound system, cruise control and 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 a cable to work.
When it comes to performance, the Kamiq is a pure delight to drive. It is not as high as some rival models, so it feels more grounded and balanced out on the open road, meaning bends can be attacked at pace without any fear of body roll.
It is a very easy car to drive and the acceleration through the six-speed transmission is nice and smooth with ample power on tap to tackle steep inclines or overtake slower moving vehicles.
The steering is fairly light which is a real bonus in busy town centres with lots of twisting and turning, but it's also a car that can cruise effortlessly at 70mph on motorways.
Skoda is renowned for the Simply Clever features in its cars and the Kamiq boasts anumbrella in the driver's door, an ice scraper that's located in the fuel filler flap and apanoramic sunroof with a blind that rolls forwards rather than backwards so it doesn't compromise on rear headroom - now that is clever.
Factor in a maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and the Skoda Kamiq is quite the all-round package in the compact SUV sector.