Remember the Yeti, Skoda’s ground breaking family SUV with the Tonka toy looks?
This is its replacement, the Kamiq, and instead of chunky toy think Dr Who’s tardis.
Kamiq is the smallest in Skoda’s trio of SUVs coming under Karoq and the big seven seat Kodiaq, and shares much of what you will find in a Seat Arona and Volkswagen T-Cross which are all part of the VW family.
It might be classed as small but is anything but once inside hence the tardis reference. This is a spacious package all round with a healthy amount of legroom for back seat passengers. Plenty of space for adult legs here and it has not been achieved by slicing into boot capacity, which is a handy 400 litres and not far off best in the class.
It is family practical too with a wide opening tailgate and a few hooks and tethering points to stop things rolling around. The double sided boot mat is really useful but is a 75 quid extra. Come on Skoda that should be buckshee.
Skoda always tries to throw in some ‘simply clever’ touches so here are four things to make you smile: a mini sized umbrella slotted into the driver’s door frame, just like a Rolls Royce; an ice scraper tucked into the fuel filler cap; a seat belt slot to stop them disappearing when the split back seats are lifted back into place; and a funnel on the windscreen washer bottle. Now isn’t that thoughtful but I put on my glum face at the sight of a hand brake rather than an electronic parking brake. That is so 20th century, just like an ignition key. Thankfully this Kamiq has a starter button.
Does Kamiq catch the eye of onlookers? Hardly, it is a plain Jane up against Renault Captur, Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008 or Ford Puma and it is the same inside, not much character and lots of black although there should be no complaints with trim and build quality, and isn’t space the key here anyway.
What I do like about the dashboard is the simplicity whether it is the driver’s binnacle where you can toggle between the various menus, or the centre console which retains physical switches for heating and that is a bonus these days.
The standard central touchscreen is eight inches but you can spec up to the 9.2in version that includes navigation and voice control. It will set you back £930 and is tempting because it is a super clear, fast reacting system and so easy to use.
I was in it all the time switching off lane assist which is annoying on anything other than motorways. Trouble is the default setting is ‘on’ when the engine is fired up, so it is tap this, tap that, five annoying times to turn it off. Why can’t we have a simple switch?
On the petrol engine front the choice is three-cylinder one litre with 94 or 114bhp and a 148bhp 1.5 four cylinder. I was glad to have the 114bhp version because it is a cracking engine with lively pick up and fuss free cruising thanks to the six speed gearbox. The lower output makes do with a five speed.
The delivery driver set the economy bar high with 51mpg for his 160 mile mainly motorway journey, too high for me as I ended the week on 45.2 some way off Skoda’s 52.3mpg average, but I could live with that as Kamiq is a no nonsense fun car to drive on any road and is pretty comfortable into the bargain.
Kamiq’s spec sheet is reasonable from the start but the next along the line SE is the favoured model and has just about all that is needed including wireless smartlink, two USB-C ports, one touch front and rear electric windows, LED headlights, a range of safety features and rear parking sensors. No reversing camera on SE is a disappointment and the low slung front passenger seat needs a height adjuster.
A fair question is why bother with a traditional family hatchback when you can pay less for a small SUV with just as much space? Kamiq is good value with only the Dacia Duster beating it on price.
Kamiq will never enjoy the cult following of the Yeti but when wading through the long list of small SUVs it has to be a contender.
Kamiq SE 6sp manual
£20,985 (starts £19,095)
1-litre TSI 108bhp
0-62mph 10.2secs; 120mph
124g/km. 1st VED £175
Insurance group 13
Boot 400-1395 litres