SKODA KAMIQ: Czech newcomer has quality that ticks the right boxes

SKODA might carry the label of VW Group’s budget brand, but there’s nothing down market about the fit and finish of their latest offering.

It’s a car that proves you really can have your cake and eat it, and while it might not be a Ritz afternoon tea Victoria sponge, it’s certainly no Tesco Value jaffa cake either.

Kamiq, the Czech manufacturer’s all new compact SUV, has a solid, well built interior to it that is as far removed from Skodas of old as chalk is to cheese.

When you have a sizeable parts bin to raid, it’s only reasonable to expect that the end product should be of the same or similar quality of other offerings from the group.

Clamber aboard and the first thing that hits you is how good it looks. The seats offer decent support in the right places, and there’s a sharp 9.2-inch touchscreen sat-nav system and Virtual Cockpit dials. You won’t pay extra for wireless Apple CarPlay, nor the eight-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control or keyless entry system. Anything but budget.

And you have the option to include options of course, like the electrically folding towbar with adaptor for £910, of the £1230 Amundsen sat nav with Care Connect and Voice Control. Nice to have or necessary? Your choice.

The engine under scrutiny here is the 1.0 litre three cylinder 113bhp unit, an engine you’ll find used in a number of other VW Group products.

There’s a thrummy, buzzy quality to the engine note, predictable with a cylinder short of the norm, and it has to be said that in town it’s perfectly adequate. Even when the road opens out a bit and the traffic thins out, there’s no hint of it getting a bit like the wheezy fat boy trying to keep up with the rest on the school cross country run.Perfectly competent though if the majority of your motoring is around town.

Body control is good for a car of this type and turn-in is sharp, so you can aim it at a corner and be confident it’ll find its way round. The controls are light, the steering, clutch and gear lever all synch up nicely.

Admittedly it’s not the most exhilarating car to drive, ticking the stylish and safe boxes more than seat of the pants thrills, but it’s not aimed at that type of driver. But its predictability still makes it fun.

People opt for a Skoda for a variety of reasons – value for money, reliability and overall user friendliness.

This new Kamiq ticks those boxes and proves a comfortable enough method of transport, and an economical one too. Its combined figure is a shade under 48mpg which means that as well as not costing a lot to buy, if you go the entry level route, it shouldn’t cost a fortune to run either.

A swift cross country run prior to handing it back saw a high of 51.3mpg, settling back to an end of run 46.3 figure.

As an entry level SUV for the Skoda range (prices start just over £17,000), it offers occupants decent space. Room in the back of the Kamiq is pretty much unrivalled in this class.

Skoda hope the low start price will attract more customers, but the truth is the best seller will likely be the SE, as tested here. In any event, every version gets alloy wheels, LED lights and a touchscreen infotainment system.

Skoda Kamiq SE

Price: £19,935 (£23,200 as tested)
Engine: 1.0 litre, three cylinder, turbo, petrol
Power: 113bhp
Torque: 148lb/ft
Transmission: six speed automatic
Top speed: 120mph
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Economy: 47.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 116g/km

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