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Skoda Kamiq looks sharp, but will it cut through in a crowded market?

Skoda Kamiq SUV (19 on) - rated 0 out of 5
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PROS

  • You can expect good value PCP finance
  • Skoda SUVs tend to be more comfortable than rivals
  • A wide range of engines and trim levels will be offered

CONS

  • It's a crowded market, littered with talented rivals
  • Unlikely to offer an electric option in the short term
  • If you want four-wheel drive, look elsewhere

PROS

  • You can expect good value PCP finance
  • Skoda SUVs tend to be more comfortable than rivals
  • A wide range of engines and trim levels will be offered

CONS

  • It's a crowded market, littered with talented rivals
  • Unlikely to offer an electric option in the short term
  • If you want four-wheel drive, look elsewhere

Verdict

The new Skoda Kamiq completes a trio of SUVs offered by the rapidly-growing Czech company. It fits in at the bottom of the trio, with the Karoq and the Kodiaq above it. What lies under its skin is very familiar, as it shares lots of its oily bits with the SEAT Arona and Volkswagen T-Cross. You won't be surprised by its styling, which is very similar to its larger SUV brothers – Skoda is going all out for sales with the Kamiq, and doesn't want to put off potential buyers.

But the Kamiq lis a sharp evolution of the current Skoda design language – which hopefully will put clear blue water between this and its Volkswagen Group sister cars. new themes for the Kamiq include optional slimline LED running lights and a prominent grille. Look at the bootlid, and you'll find the Skoda name spelled out promiently.

As for rivals, it has quite a few, but these are the ones that matter the most:

In terms of styling, the sketches tell us quite a bit – it's squared-off with some very interesting detailing, and unsurprisingly carries over a fair amount of design elements with the Kodiaq or Karoq. We like the split-level headlamps and large Skoda grille, which stamp a strong identity on what promises to be a me-too kind of car.

What's the Skoda Kamiq like inside?

Skoda Kamiq interior

It's very much a Skoda in terms of design and switchgear, but the 9.2-inch infotainment screen follows the fashionable form of being positioned high up, and floating free, with an iPad-on-the-dash look. It also gets a fully digital instrument panel, which is rapidly becoming a common feature of cars in this market sector, and only recently introduced in other Skoda models.

The Kamiq gets a longer wheelbase than the SEAT Arona, which Skoda says will give it class-leading space in the front and rear – so much so that they say it has more rear leg room than the already-impressive Octavia and Karoq models. Luggage room is also competitive, with a seats-up capacity of  400 litres, which expands to 1395 litres with the rear down.

What engines and transmissions are in the Kamiq?

It's based on Volkswagen Group's MQB AO architecture, shared with most smaller SEATs, Skodas, Audis and VWs, which means front-wheel drive, and all-independent suspension on pricier versions. But if you want four-wheel drive, you're going to have to look elsewhere – Skoda has confirmed, it's front-wheel drive only.

Our experience of Skoda SUVs are that they generally ride more softly than their SEAT and Volkswagen cousins, but the company says that this family-friendly five-door will have more 'sporty' than the Karoq and Kodiaq. This would explain why the Kamiq will be optionally available with Sport Chassis Control, which gets adjustable dampers and a lower ride height.

The engine range won't offer up too many surprises – a pair of 1.0-litre TSI petrols (95 and 115hp) as well as the super-efficient 1.5-litre TSI Evo developing 150hp. If you want diesel, the 1.6-litre TDI in 115hp form will also be offered – and given the company's vRS heritage, don't be surprised to see a sportier petrol version further down the line. Transmissions will be limited to a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG.

Should you wait for a Skoda Kamiq?

If you're after a practical and affordable small family SUV, then it's already looking like a very promising addition to the market. Whether the Skoda Kamiq brings anything new to the party remains to be seen – but either way, you'll have to wait until September or October 2019 to see it for yourselfin UK showrooms following its public unveiling at the Geneva motor show.

As with all Skodas, expect competitive pricing, decent finance, and low overall running costs. There's no official line on pricing yet, but expect the range to start at around £16,500 for the entry-level model. That will put it up against some very capable rivals.

Skoda Kamiq rear view

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