Skoda‘s forthcoming crossover has been named as the Skoda Kamiq ahead of its debut at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show in March. Confusingly, the model name Kamiq is already in use in China with the latest version of that compact SUV unveiled at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show. Skoda tells us that the name is derived from the Inuit people of northern Canada and Greenland and describes something that “fits as perfectly as a second skin”.
The recent teaser image of the European version of the Kamiq released by the Czech brand shows that the production SUV will retain the ultra-slim LED daytime running lights of the Vision X show car.
Auto Express understands that it will arrive in UK dealers in the autumn, and will be the most practical and spacious model in its class according to the boss of the Czech firm, Bernhard Maier. The Nissan Juke rival will be the third SUV in Skoda’s expanding range, slotting beneath the larger Karoq and Kodiaq models.
Under the skin will be the VW Group’s new MQB A0 platform, but in its longest possible set-up. A 2,645mm wheelbase will give the car even more space inside than a VW T-Roc, a model that competes in a segment above.
This focus on practicality and space is what will mark the Skoda Kamiq out against its nearest competitors, according to Maier. Speaking exclusively to Auto Express at the Paris Motor Show last year, he told us: “We always position our cars at the upper end of the segment, so we have a longer wheelbase, have a bigger boot and more space in the interior.
“This is a segment which opened up a couple of years ago, and as we want to take part and have a piece of the cake, this car fits perfectly. This is why we presented the Vision X and, as always with our vision cars, it gives you a view of what it will look like,” the Skoda boss explained.
The finished Skoda Kamiq model, previewed by our exclusive images, will closely resemble the Vision X concept seen at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. It will adopt more angular bodywork and sharper surfacing than the Karoq and Kodiaq, because it’s aimed at a younger, more style-conscious buyer.
Maier added: “The car is following the needs of our customers. You have all the advantages of a big body, higher seating and more space, while not spending too much on the drivetrain, such as four-wheel drive.”
While the platform can adopt all-wheel drive, Skoda will not equip its baby SUV with the tech in a bid to keep costs down. The Kamiq will be offered with the VW Group’s latest batch of engines, most of which will be versions of the 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol found in the Fabia and Octavia hatches.
Two variants are likely to be available – 95bhp and 115bhp – while buyers wanting more power will have to go for the 148bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo. A 1.6-litre diesel will also be offered, but it’s highly unlikely that there will be a plug-in hybrid version, at least initially.
The SUV arrives in the midst of the largest campaign of launches in Skoda’s history and into a segment that is the fastest growing in Europe; by 2020 SUVs are expected to account for 34 per cent of new cars sold in the region.
“This is why we’re starting our biggest product offensive with the introduction of new SUV models,” Maier said. “We are offering 20 models by 2020 and nine will be electrified. Some of these are successors, some are new line-up and some are quite groundbreaking.”
What about the Chinese Skoda Kamiq?
The Skoda Kamiq name is also applied to a different car sold in China. The Chinese Skoda Kamiq was revealed at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show. In terms of size the car holds a similar position in the Skoda range as its European namesake, sitting below the Karoq and the larger Kodiaq, but it’s designed to be significantly cheaper to produce.
Instead of the usual VW group MQB architecture, the Chinese Kamiq is based on the VW Group’s PQ25 platform, which also underpins the Rapid. Under the bonnet, the Kamiq makes use of an all-new 1.5-litre petrol engine developing 109bhp and 150Nm of torque.
What do you think of the new small Skoda Kamiq SUV? Let us know in the comments…