For those buyers looking for value for money in the small SUV segment under forty grand, the top-spec Skoda Kamiq looks like a veritable bargain given its enticing blend of contemporary design, extensive list of luxury features, clever space packaging and lively turbocharged powertrain to boot.
However, our Limited Edition tester, effectively the ‘launch edition’ Kamiq, has been renamed the ‘110TSI Signature’, although a quick ring-around to several dealers revealed there’s still stock available. So, if you want to save a couple of grand over the slightly newer model, we’d suggest you get cracking.
If you’re not completely familiar with Skoda or its not yet on your radar, it’s still regarded as a challenger brand here in Australia, looking to gain more of that all-important market share in what has become one of the most competitive segments in the auto world that lists no fewer than 25 different makes and models.
And, for those still largely unfamiliar with the Czech-born brand, take comfort in the fact it’s been around in some form for a staggering 125 years, and since 1994 has been a subsidiary of the giant Volkswagen Group which also includes the likes of Audi, Seat, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche, along with Volkswagen’s own extensive range of models.
That’s a good thing when you consider the extensive R&D that the group shares across all brands within its mega portfolio, including of course, Skoda itself.
The Skoda rides on VW Group’s MQB A0 platform, which it shares with the smaller VW Polo and T-Cross, but is only a smidge shorter than the larger T-Roc, but offers a larger boot capacity – a key feature for the small SUV segment with their diminutive proportions.
It’s not without its rivals though, and is up against some big-hitting sales stars, with the likes of the Mazda CX-30, Subaru XV, Kia Seltos, Hyundai Kona and even the Volkswagen T-Roc. But when you way up the whole package, it’s the Skoda that not only holds its own, but also looks to be the standout play in the segment.
When the Skoda Kamiq 110TSI Limited Edition was first released it had a recommended retail price of $35,490, excluding on-road costs, although our tester was presented in the optional Velvet Red paintwork, which bumped up the price to $36,590.
Current drive-away prices for the remaining Limited Edition stock is listed as $37,900, excluding options, but we called a couple of dealers and got a price of $36,990 drive-away, which would make it a real bargain, given the renamed 2022 Skoda Kamiq 110TSI Signature is listed from $38,990 drive-away.
By way of comparison, Hyundai’s Kona Highlander 2WD costs $38,000 excluding on-roads, with a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine mated to a CVT, while the equivalently-specced Kia Seltos GT-Line is priced from $44,290 drive-away, with a 1.6-litre turbo-four petrol mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch and AWD.
Mazda’s big-selling CX-30 G25 Astina FWD with a 2.5-litre four-pot petrol engine with six-speed auto wears a sticker of $41,690 excluding on-road costs, whereas the popular Subaru XV 2.0i-S G5X sells for $37,290 plus on-roads, with a 2.0-litre petrol engine mated to a CVT and Subaru’s trademark AWD.
Outside, the top-spec Skoda Kamiq fits:
- Adaptive LED headlights with animated turn signals
- LED tail lights with dynamic indicators
- 18-inch Crater alloy wheels
- Silver roof rails
- Body-coloured door mirror caps
- Privacy glass
- Electric, heated, folding door mirrors with driver’s side auto-dimming
- Power tailgate
- Front and rear parking sensors
On the inside, it’s a veritable feast of features, including:
- Leather and Suedia-appointed seat upholstery
- Flat-bottom, multi-functional sports leather steering wheel
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- 9.2-inch touchscreen with navigation
- 10.25-inch fully-digital and configurable instrument display
- White ambient lighting
- Wireless phone charging
- Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Electric driver’s seat
- Heated front and rear seats
- Dual-zone climate control
- Auto lights and wipers
- Eight-speaker Skoda sound system
- Driver’s door-mounted umbrella
- Keyless entry and start
Options include, a panoramic sunroof ($1300), the as-tested Velvet Red Premium paint ($1100), and factory-fitted tow bar ($1200).
Candy White and Steel Grey exterior paint colours are free of charge, but metallic colours including Moon White Quartz Grey, Brilliant Silver and Race Blue are an additional $550, as is Black Magic, the only pearl colourway in the Kamiq palette.
Kamiq scored a five-star ANCAP rating in 2019, based on crash testing of the Skoda Scala with which is shares a similar structural platform.
As part of the process, additional crash testing on the Kamiq was performed, including frontal offset and pedestrian tests for validation purposes. The rating therefore applies to all Kamiq variants.
The Skoda achieved a 96 per cent score in adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child occupant safety, 80 per cent for vulnerable road user and 76 per cent for active safety assist systems.
Additionally, Kamiq gets seven airbags (including curtain and driver’s knee airbags), while the vehicle is also equipped with autonomous emergency braking which is active from 4km/h to 250km/h, but remembering top speed for Kamiq is 210km/h, as well as cyclist and pedestrian detection at some speeds.
There’s also forward collision warning, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assistance, fatigue detection, tyre-pressure monitoring, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic parking assist.
The Kamiq has real European flair going for it, not just with its overall design but with the choice of materials used in the cabin, too. take the seats, they’re properly bolstered pews with an intelligent blend of Alcantara-like suede inserts and leather for all-season comfort.
The sports leather steering wheel is correctly contoured for grip and tactility, while the volume and cruise control functionality is accessed through intuitive roller dials. Note the MY22 model will have a different design like the unit in the new Octavia.
Even the hard plastics look classy thanks to various patterns. Same goes for the brightwork. It’s used sparingly, with a mixture of chrome and brushed metal-look accents.
I’d also argue our top-shelf Skoda Kamiq has more soft-touch materials than most of its rivals, as well as a proper old-school shift lever and paddle-shifters for manual mode. Happy with that.
Front and centre in the dashboard is a reasonably large touchscreen with crystal-clear resolution and quick response times, whereas the digital driver’s display is even bigger, but not as sharp.
For anyone new to the Skoda brand, you’ll quickly get used to the start/stop button on the right side of the steering wheel, instead of dash-mounted examples on other makes, which are generally hidden from view.
There, aren’t many shortcut buttons, but thankfully, the start/stop is one of those and is conveniently placed next to the shifter. Plenty of storage space too, with larger door bins and bottle holders, while plenty of space for phones, wallets and keys throughout the centre console, although the bin is very small.
All up there are four USB-C ports, along with wireless Apple Carplay/Android Auto and charging. Along with ambient lighting there’s LED interior lighting, too, as well as heated seats and ventilation for both seat rows.
With an overall length of just 4241mm its shorter than most of its key competitors, but amazingly offers more passenger space than almost everything in the same class, including Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30 and Toyota CHR.
For example it’s got 400 litres of luggage space behind the second row seating with the added advantage of multiple nets to hold down groceries and other gear, and that’s trumped only by the Seltos (433L).
Drop the back seats and it opens up to 1395L, though there’s no adjustable boot floor to make it a properly flat bay. Under the boot floor there’s a space-saver spare wheel.
As with the entire MY22 Kamiq model line-up now, our test car is powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, making 110kW at 6000rpm and 250Nm from 1500rpm through to 3500rpm, sent to the front axle via a standard seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. A six-speed manual is available on entry-level Ambition.
Previously, the Kamiq was offered with smaller 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol motor with 85kW and 200Nm. Due to “Overwhelming international sales and production restrictions” Skoda’s local arm has had to expand the 1.5-litre line-up to make up for the lack of 1.0 TSI units.
Interestingly, 1.5-litre displacement is unique to Skoda, given the Volkswagen T-Roc employs either a 1.4-litre turbo-four with the same outputs as the Kamiq for its entry-level variant, or the larger 2.0-litre turbo, four-cylinder petrol with 140kW/320Nm for the top-spec 140TSI Sport. Same goes for the larger Skoda Karoq.
Like most turbocharged European engines, the Kamiq requires minimum 95 RON premium unleaded or E10 fuel (94RON), claiming an official combined fuel consumption figure of 5.6L/100km.
Driven sedately in suburban conditions, exclusively, we saw an average consumption of 7.7L/100km, which we were more than pleased with, given the testing conditions.
While the figures suggest modest performance from its 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor, I’d call the Kamiq lively and more than willing to satisfy most with its peppy character.
Not just out of the blocks, either, but equally so in the mid-range where pace really starts to build. In fact, we tested its hill-climbing ability up one of Sydney’s steepest streets that happens to be in my very own neck of the woods, and it pulled hard with genuine commitment, and then kept on pulling.
There’s still some that annoying low-down lag just off idle, but once the rev counter brushes past 2200rpm, throttle response improves markedly, and the diminutive Skoda gets along with a slightly sporty temperament, which is further validated by it’s almost-rorty engine note and quick-shifting dual-clutch auto transmission.
That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy a few more herbs from the engine though.
If you’re like me, you’ll probably want to use Sport mode, even for general urban duties, given Kamiq’s willingness to get going with more linear power delivery.
The only downside is the transmission will sometimes hold the lower gears longer than ideal, resulting in a harsh-sounding engine note as revs rise.
There’s good news on the ride and handling balance, too, despite none of the sophistication that comes with the likes of adaptive dampers.
In fairness, it skews to the sporty side of things, but there’s an inherent level of compliance that isolates all but the nastiest of speed bumps from those onboard. Even then, it’s not unforgiving.
Tipping the scales at around 1260kg, the Kamiq also feels nimble in traffic and a joy to manoeuvre in and out of tight spaces, thanks in part to light steering and excellent all-round vision. It’s genuinely a fun thing to drive with decent feedback for the driver and something I haven’t tired of over an extended period of using it as a daily driver.
If you’re shopping for a small SUV with all the fruit and then some, we’d suggest you schedule a test dive via the official Skoda website, or contact your nearest Skoda dealer for a closer look.
Skoda buyers can expect a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty across its entire range, including the Kamiq.
Scheduled servicing is every 12 months or 15,000km (whichever comes first), and owners can choose between two service packs; three years (45,000km) costs $800, or five years costs $1400.
Further details as to the major inclusions in each service package can be found on the official Skoda website.
There’s not much I don’t like about this top-spec Skoda Kamiq, from its decidedly contemporary styling, to its smart packaging and endless list of tech and features, – including the fact it’s the only mainstream small SUV to get an auto tailgate as standard from the base grade.
It’s also fun to drive as a daily, with its slightly sporty character (if only it had a tad more grunt), and worthy balance between ride and handling.
Finally, it feels more premium that you might imagine, particularly those that may not have had any previous experience with the Skoda brand.
The Kamiq is a very complete package in the small SUV segment and if you can get your hands on a Limited Edition or Signature, you’re in for quite the bargain.
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