By Mike Torpey on 2021-03-28 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Skoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI
THE native Eskimo inhabitants of northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland have received more worldwide recognition than they could ever have imagined in recent times.
It's all thanks to progressive car manufacturer Skoda, which has launched three SUV models in as many years, all carrying names associated with Inuit, or Eskimo, culture.
Hot on the heels of the Kodiaq and Karoq offerings comes the smallest of the trio, the new Kamiq - in Inuit language meaning something that fits perfectly in every situation - like a second skin.
And it's a pretty apt description for the Kamiq too, as it brings both innovation and value to what is still a fast-expanding area of the new car market.
The aim for Skoda's design team was to set the Kamiq apart from its competitors, something effectively achieved through smart touches like the car's sculptured bonnet and slimline LED daytime running lights.
In fact despite its neat proportions, the Kamiq looks an appreciably larger vehicle than its dimensions would suggest.
Not that we're talking anything remotely cramped as rear headroom of 1,003mm, elbow room of 1,425mm and kneeroom of 73mm are all best in segment figures.
Add a boot capacity of 400 litres with the rear seats in position and 1,395 litres with them folded, plus extra storage compartments totalling another 26 litres and you have sufficient space to shift a term's worth of student clobber back to campus.
The Kamiq line-up consists of four trim levels - S, SE, SE L and Monte Carlo - all featuring touchscreen infotainment systems, air con, alloy wheels and a suite of standard safety systems including front assist, lane assist and hill hold control while blind spot detection is a Â£540 option.
Engine choice gives buyers the pick of three turbocharged petrol units with outputs of 95, 115 and 150ps, while the single 1.6-litre diesel offering generates 115ps, and all bar the 95ps engine can be specified with a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission.
Our model in flagship Monte Carlo spec was driven by the Kamiq's most powerful engine, also featuring Active Cylinder Technology which also automatically shuts down two cylinders when the load is light, to save fuel.
This combination is invaluable for owners requiring that extra punch but without having to sacrifice too much in the way of economy - as our 400 miles of varied driving reflected with its average consumption of 42 miles per gallon.
The Kamiq is a comfortable car to drive too, feeling well balanced and sharp while providing an elevated seating position and an airy feeling of space. The cabin can also be customised with a range of ambient lighting and decorative trim options.
Skoda's expanding ‘Simply Clever' initiative sees useful touches like a removable LED torch in the boot (standard from SE trim upwards), an integrated funnel in the lid of the windscreen washer tank to prevent spills and an ice scraper in the fuel filler flap with a tyre tread depth gauge.
Smarter still, but part of a £190 package that includes drawers under the front seats and an additional 12v socket, are a set of door edge protectors.
These deploy automatically when opening the doors to protect the car itself as well as vehicles parked next to it - especially handy in tight spaces.
That apart, the Kamiq is well equipped anyway and always online thanks to a built-in eSIM, and in addition to using touch control and gesture command, navigation, infotainment and phone services can now also be operated with the new Skoda Digital Assistant Laura that can understand natural speech.
Skoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI Monte Carlo
Mechanical: 150ps, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 132mph
0-62mph: 8.3 seconds
Combined MPG: 46.3
Insurance Group: 17
C02 emissions: 113g/km
Bik rating: 27%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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