Skoda Kamiq: Test Drive

It seems that Skoda decided to play charades, coming up with names for their SUVs.

Judge for yourself: the names of all three begin with a K and end with a Q. Although each of them has its own meaning and aura of mystery, the word ‘Kamiq’ is borrowed from the Inuit language and means an item that is perfectly suitable for its owner. But let's quickly finish with the philology and move on to the actual test drive.

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The European Skoda Kamiq is built on the MQB-A0 platform. It is 4.24 m long, and its wheelbase is 2.65 m, which is quite good by the segment standards. When looking from the side, the wheelbase was given as much attention as possible. This offers prospects of more interior space and a good trunk compartment. But if you look at the front, you can see both Skoda's modern style and differences from the older models: the Kodiaq and Karoq. Keeping two-tier headlights, the designers modified them, making the lower block look larger and equipping the upper strip with highly visible LED elements. It turned out something like lenses: elegant and noticeable.

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The exterior of the Skoda Kamiq turned out to be quite concise and restrained, as well as the solution with a salient trunk lid. In addition, there is an interesting detail: a large Skoda inscription. This may not be new, but it has not been used by Skoda before. The inscription can now be seen on all new models of the brand. Probably, it is used for not to being confused with others?

Prices and configurations

We have tested the top-end Style configuration at a cost of about $26,000, as well as additional equipment, including full LED headlights, keyless entry, launch system, rear-view camera, cruise control with speed limiter and wireless charging for a smartphone.

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Besides, the test car has some other options, the most interesting of which are Drive Mode Select, a power driver seat, a small leather package and 17-inch alloy wheels.

It should be noted that there are three complete sets for the Kamiq. The standard one, also known as Active, comes with a 1.6-liter 110-hp MPI engine at a cost of about $17,000. Well, the power unit of the test car is somewhat more interesting: it is the most powerful in the range (a 1.5-liter 150-hp turbo petrol TSI), working in conjunction with a 7-speed DSG.

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When you sit inside, everything looks quite modest and restrained at first glance. There is no French epatage, but everything is not as ascetic as it can be found in Japanese models. Soft plastics, fabric finishing of door panels, a nice insert in the center of the dashboard: all this makes the interior more cozy and a little “more expensive”. The textured fascia differs in design from those installed in the Kodiaq and Karoq.

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There is no sloping center console, but there is a large convenient storage bin for smartphones. Interestingly, there are two ports at once, but both are Type C: no more USB. There are not many physical buttons, and there is not much place for them here. All the auxiliary functions are integrated into a concise climate control unit and a larger infotainment system.

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Moreover, the infotainment system is not the simplest. It is produced by Bolero and has a bright color screen with a diagonal of 8 inches. There is even cooler version (without physical buttons and with a larger screen), but this is for an additional fee.

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In terms of the interface, everything is already familiar here, because the software is the same as on other SUVs of the brand: user friendly, highly responsible, and logical. And it sounds very good. The smartphone is connected via Smart Link, which offers three types of connection to choose from: Android Auto, Apple Car Play, or Mirror Link. The air flow control is done via a separate submenu; there is no button on the climate control unit.

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By the way, there may be three tablets in the cabin, if you order a digital dashboard for an additional fee. The test car featured a conventional cockpit made according to Skoda’s concept: with white illumination and a small notch. In general, it reads well, but the numbers are still too small. The on-board computer screen in the center looks very good, because it is ready to provide as maximum information about the vehicle as possible.

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The driver's seat is very comfortable. The seats are distinguished by a deep fit and good lateral support, which also feels comfortable in the shoulder area. Although these chairs are not sports. The power driver seat is not mandatory.

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The main thing is to be able to adjust the lumbar support (the test car had this feature). After taking a critical look at the interior, I realized that I was confused by the conventional handbrake lever. Maybe, the Kamiq should not have an electro-mechanical one by principle, but the «classic» lever looks strange among other modern elements.

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There was a surprising amount of space at the back, both in height and width. It feels comfortable for a man with a height of 1.82 m. Those who ride in the second row have their own air deflectors (good!), but for some reason there is no central armrest (surprising!). And the ports here are also Type C.

The luggage volume was increased to 400 liters: a very good indicator, especially considering the spacious interior and the fact that there is also a place for a spare under the raised floor. So, by the segment standards, the Kamiq holds the lead in these indicators.

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The1.5-liter turbo petrol TSI unit did not lose its characteristics here. 150 hp and 250 Nm allow you to accelerate the Skoda Kamiq from 0-100 km/h in 8.4 seconds, but… this is according to technical specifications. And according to our measurements, the best indicator was 8.7 seconds. But in any case, 9 seconds guarantees you a pretty brisk drive, and it really is. The Kamiq accelerates quickly and easily, and its 7-speed DSG just as quickly and imperceptibly shifts the gears.

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There is a hitch that may occur on the first two gears. This is partly corrected by the sports mode (using Drive Mode Select). By the way, the modes here noticeably change the character of the car, so the button of this system is not a “way to nowhere”, as it happens, but a very popular function. The Eco mode is really good: the car goes slowly, trying to save fuel as much as possible, but it does not “blunt”. The same goal – fuel economy – is also served by the system of disconnecting two cylinders. It is impossible to catch its work, and this happens when moving evenly in a straight line. So, let’s just believe that it is really there.

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The combined efforts of the engineers and good driving skills can help achieve 7 liters per 100 km/h in the city mode. Well, everything will depend on your driving style, of course. The Kamiq with its composure and clarity can push you to drive more dynamically. Besides, the brakes here are sensitive and grasping.

As for the suspension, it is expectedly very common: a McPherson in the front and a beam one in the rear. But it is set up very well, although the settings of the running gear as a whole are closer to the rigid ones. And one more thing: this model can be two-wheel drive only. So, the definition of the city SUV suits the model more than ever.

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What concerns rivals, we should mention the Peugeot 2008, the Suzuki Vitara and the Nissan Juke, new generations of which will soon be released.

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