By Patrick James on 2020-07-25 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Skoda Kamiq SE 1.0
SKODA'S latestaddition to its range of SUVs is yet another example of the VW parent group almost competing with itself.
There is the VW up!, Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii as an example of small city cars offering pretty much the same thing. Then there's the VW T-Cross, SEAT Arona and now the Kamiq.
All similar, but different with prices to match various pockets and purses.
Sitting below the Kodiaq and Karoq, the Kamiq is the smallest of Skoda's three SUVs.
It certainly looks the part, and borrows a feature seen usually on more expensive cars with dynamic indicators, which have a sweep effect when activated and which double up as daytime LED running lights, which is a first for Skoda.
Unusually, they sit above the main headlight clusters which flank the large and now familiar Skoda grille.
Neat alloys and standard integrated roof bars, sculpted bonnet and angular styling give the car a powerful presence.
The interior is also high quality and very spacious, if not exactly startling in style with dark colours only offset by bright trim to doors, steering wheel and dash.
The centrepiece is the eight-inch display featuring the infotainment system with eight speakers; SmartLink, enabling users to view and control smartphone apps via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or MirrorLink and navigation systems, which is complemented by the virtual cockpit, featuring a 10-inch screen and five display modes.
Even at entry level starting at just under £18,000, there is plenty of standard kit on offer for the money. This SE model is just over £1,000 more expensive and offers a host of goodies.
Skoda says the model sets benchmarks in its segment for elbow, knee and headroom, with raised seat position for easy passenger access and road visibility. The finish is good quality with soft-touch materials on the dashboard and front door trims.
It does feel a bit Dr Who Tardis like, with the apparently modest exterior hiding a much larger interior.
It couldn't be an SUV if it was not practical and it is. The Kamiq has a boot capacity of 400 litres with the rear seats in position. This can be extended to 1,395 litres with the 60:40 split backrests folded down, which creates a level surface when combined with the optional false boot floor.
Cup holders can be found in the centre console. There are also storage compartments under the front seats, as well as pockets on the backrests.
There is a choice of four different engines offering power outputs that range from 95ps to 150ps. There are three TSI petrol versions and one diesel, all with with brake energy recovery as well as stop/start technology.
This model was powered by the three cylinder 95ps TSI petrol unit. Like all three pot engines, it delivers a raspy note under acceleration to give the impression of a sporty drive, despite relatively pedestrian acceleration to 60mph in around 11 seconds.
It is however economical with lowish emissions and is lively enough around town.
The handling is also pretty nimble for an SUV. It is based on Volkswagen Group's MQB-A0 platform and a new chassis combines the advantages of an SUV with the agile driving characteristics of a compact car, says the company blurb.
Like all Skodas, the firm's Simply Clever customer friendly features are on offer, with door-edge protection which deploys automatically when opening the doors and concealed umbrella and torch in the boot.
There are three trim levels including the S, SE and the range topping SE L.
All offer alloy wheels, touchscreen and LED lights, but the SE model driven here adds electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, light and rain sensors, eight speakers, privacy glass, 17 inch alloys, parking aids and cruise control.
Safety kit is extensive with full complement of airbags and lane departure warning. The Kamiq can be equipped with state-of-the-art assistance systems and already features Lane Assist as well as Front Assist including City Emergency Brake as standard.
Skoda Kamiq SE 1.0 TSI
Mechanical: 95ps, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 11.1 seconds
Combined MPG: 45.6
Insurance Group: 9
C02 emissions: 116g/km
Bik rating: 27%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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