Skoda is one of the last mainstream brands to enter the hugely competitive and popular compact SUV sector, but the brand has finally arrived with this, the new Skoda Kamiq. The newcomer has been revealed at the Geneva Motor Show and it looks set to become one of the most practical and tech-laden offerings in the class, with prices expected to start at just over £17,000.
The Kamiq’s shape takes inspiration from both the rest of Skoda’s SUV family and the recently revealed Scala hatchback. Its front puts a twist on the ‘four-eye’ lighting arrangement seen on the Karoq and Kodiaq; slim top units house four LED elements that integrate both daytime running lights and – in a Skoda first – scrolling indicators.
Below them sit the main headlamps, with LED tech available, and cornering lights. Other typical Skoda 4×4 cues include the heavily contoured bonnet and upright grille, which contribute to the Kamiq’s chunky look. The tail-lamp design and Skoda lettering in place of the usual logo give the rear end a strong resemblance to the Scala’s.
Measuring 4.24 metres front to rear, the Kamiq is one of the longest cars in the sector – but this, combined with a roofline that’s 106mm lower than that of our current class favourite, the Citroen C3 Aircross, means that in the metal the Skoda doesn’t quite offer the same SUV presence as its French competitor.
However, thanks to its long body the Kamiq is set to become one of the most spacious cars in the class. Rear kneeroom is a match for the Octavia’s, so four six-footers can get quite comfortable in the cabin.
A 400-litre boot can’t quite match the 455-litre volume of Europe’s best-selling small crossover, the Renault Captur, but the 1,395-litre space with the seats down is much larger. Some models will offer a folding front passenger chair, enabling the storage of objects up to 2,447mm long.
Up front, the dashboard takes on a design direction first seen in the Scala. This includes a sweeping ‘wing’ that highlights the cabin’s width, further emphasised by air vents that extend into the door panels. Skoda appears to have focused on quality, too: textured soft-touch plastics cover the top of the dash and padded material trims the door inserts.
It feels a cut above many of its rivals, while the wing dips in the centre to both mirror the shape of the car’s grille and to house the infotainment touchscreen. At 9.2 inches, the display in top-spec models will be one of the largest in the sector, and it can be combined with an optional 10.25-inch customisable digital instrument panel. These features, plus wireless smartphone charging, USB-C connectivity, mood lighting, an electric tailgate and lane assist, should ensure the Kamiq leads the class tech race.
There are few surprises under the new car’s bonnet; every model will be front-wheel drive, and all four engine options are known quantities. The single diesel is a 1.6-litre TDI producing 113bhp and 250Nm of torque, while petrol buyers can choose from 1.0 engines making either 94bhp or 113bhp, or a 1.5 turbo. With no sporty vRS version in the pipeline, this 148bhp unit will be the most powerful option available.
Prices for the Kamiq should be confirmed in May, but expect a similar cost to that of the SEAT Arona, which starts from £17,145.
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