It is quite important for Skoda, a brand within the greater VW Group that has experienced no downturns since its incorporation three decades ago, to broaden its model portfolio. Yet, the only unusual aspect of its latest crossover resides in its name, which continues a Skoda policy of recent times to feature a ‘K’ and a ‘q’; Kodiaq…Karoq…now, Kamiq.
To be fair to it, Kamiq manages to look quite different to its VW T-Cross and Seat Arona family equivalents, by introducing a glassier cabin and a less opaque rear three-quarters view. Yet, apart from its slightly hiked-up ride height, Kamiq looks as anodyne as its Scala stablemate. To be frank, I find this mildly unsettling, as Skoda models, despite their reliance on VW’s enormous parts bins, have managed to create a recognisable stance, from radiator grille to boot-lid, until the arrival of Scala.
There is no denial of the outstanding build and tactile quality that Skoda presents but you have to be looking for a Scala, to find it; it is not stand-out and the Kamiq follows that pattern. While unrecognisability may be a fresh trait for the brand, virtual invisibility will do it few favours. In fact, if you want to know how it feels to drive, the clues lie in both T-Cross and Arona, which means superior balance, fine turn-in, minimal body roll, firm but resilient handling and powerful grip levels. Kamiq joins a family renowned for making a market impact.
The 1.0-1.5-litre (92-147bhp) familiar turbo-petrol and 1.6-litre TDi engine line-up is joined by an enticing all-new 87bhp 1.0-litre G-Tec motor that runs on compressed natural gas, although there is no word on electrification at this stage. As is now typical of Skoda, Kamiq features several ‘Simply Clever’ items, such as the ice-scraper/tread depth gauge contained within the fuel flap, in-built door edge protection, a ‘no spill’ washer bottle filler cap and a Skoda umbrella within the driver’s door.
While the standard car stands 39mm taller than a Scala, the car can be specified with a Sport chassis setting that is 10mm lower and has switchable characteristics (Sport, or Normal) via the Driving Mode selector. Kamiq arrives in full-on fighting state, boasting more passenger and luggage space than any of its rivals, within its 4.2m long, 1.79m wide footprint. In fact, its boot capacity can be expanded from a phenomenal 400-litres to almost 1,400-litres, once the 60:40 split rear seats are folded. Factor in the folding front passenger seat for extra-long loads and Kamiq’s practicality is underscored. Access to the boot can be through an electrified hatchback, with a ‘tip-to-close’ function.