Skoda Kamiq SE 1.0

TSI DSG

Skoda Kamiq, front
Skoda Kamiq, front
Skoda Kamiq, front
Skoda Kamiq, front
Skoda Kamiq, rear
Skoda Kamiq, rear
Skoda Kamiq, rear
Skoda Kamiq, rear
Skoda Kamiq, interior, auto
Skoda Kamiq, boot

THE newest and smallest member of Skoda's SUV assault team for the European market shares a number of things with its bigger siblings - including a name that must be explained.

The Kamiq, like the full-fat Kodiaq and medim-sized Karoq models, is part of the Czech car maker's current vogue for linking its SUVs to all things north of the Arctic circle.

So after the Alaskan brown bear inspired the Kodiaq and an amalgam of words meaning car and arrow from the Aleuts - the native inhabitants of the island the bear is named after - gave us the Karoq, we arrive at the Kamiq.

By this stage you will be both dizzy with new knowledge of the Arctic tundra as well as unruffled to learn the latest SUV's name originates from the language spoken by the Inuit peoples living in Greenland and northern Canada and apparently means ‘something that fits perfectly'.

Skoda hope potential buyers who bother to look up the moniker will nod knowingly in appreciation of a motor that it is the perfect fit for the urban jungle.

For it is here that the front-wheel drive Kamiq will live as it represents one of the better examples of the move to expand the SUV market - which started out full of four-wheel drive mammoths - into neat front-wheel drive urban family runarounds offering the elevated driving position beloved of the modern motorist.

And the Czechs have succeeded with a top all-rounder boasting the attractive combination of comfort, practicality and bang for your buck.

The exterior is the first to feature the new-look front being introduced by Skoda for its SUV range with thin ‘Iron Man' style headlights that reminded me of the comic strip superhero giving the motor a purposeful air. There is also a separate sliver of daytime running lights above the main headlights with another first seeing dynamic indicators fitted front and rear.

This is all well and good but it is only when you step inside the Kamiq that you begin to appreciate the job Skoda has done with what are basically dinky dimensions.

Space may well be the final frontier for Star Trek captains Picard and Kirk but it is the first stop for the clever designers at Skoda who have created a roomy, airy interior that's a pleasure to spend time in.

Up front the stars of the show in the DSG model are a new digitised instrument panel - featuring the usual dials that can be altered to show Skoda's Amundsen sat nav system on a display in front of the driver - and a 9.2-inch touchscreen which is the sat nav's main residence with an easy-to-use display and buttons accessing the SUV's many goodies. Separate controls for the dual-zone climate control live below.

A handy place for your smartphone to rest its head comes next with the Kamiq benefiting from full compatibility via the latest USB ports which means an adapter has to be used for older phones.

There are lots of cubby holes up front including a small storage box under the armrest between the driver and front seat passenger, cup holders, door bins and a glovebox.

The rear easily copes with two adults as there is lots of head, leg and shoulder room available while the large windows let in plenty of light. A third adult can be squeezed in if necessary but the raised transmission tunnel compromises legroom somewhat. There are storage pockets in the rear seats and further door bins but no cup holders.

The split-level boot is reasonably spacious with the rear seats able to be folded over to create more room when required.

Power is provided here by a willing 1.0-litre petrol engine with 115ps on tap linked to a reasonably smooth seven-speed automatic gearbox - although I must confess I've always preferred Skoda's super slick manual transmission which is also available.

The three-pot power unit propels the Kamiq to a top speed of 119mph with a 0 to 62mph time of 10 seconds while the car's instruments gave average fuel consumption at 39.1mpg for my time with the car.

The ride is pretty smooth with only the worst craters littering our roads making any impression while the handling was slick with little body roll for a relatively high-sided car.

There are the usual crowd-pleasers with the Kamiq getting the brand's Simply Clever treatment so an ice scraper inside the fuel filler cap and an umbrella concealed in the side of the driver's door are both included.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Kamiq SE 1.0 TSI DSG

Price:£21,185

Mechanical:115ps, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:119mph

0-62mph:10 seconds

Combined MPG:45.6

Insurance Group:11

C02 emissions:113g/km

Bik rating:26%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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