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The Top Gear car review: Skoda Kamiq
For:Vast space, very comfortable if you avoid the needless ‘sports’ chassis
Against:It’s just so derivative, in a way the old Skoda Yeti wasn't
What is it?
Skoda’s smallest SUV-hatchback-crossover thingy yet. The Kamiq is smaller and cheaper than the Kodiaq and Karoq, and completes Skoda’s triplet of SUVs. VW classmate Seat has the same set-up: teeny Arona, middle-sized Ateca, and big-boy Taracco. VW has the T-Cross, T-Roc and Tiguan. You really ought to know the formula by now. These things are everywhere.
That means you’ll also have a pretty good idea of what the Kamiq’s going to be like before you climb inside, and it doesn’t disappoint. It doesn’t wow or surprise either. It’s a small Karoq. Skoda might try to tell you that because this is its first car with scrolling LED indicators, or because it has a buggy upside down face with the headlights under the LED running lights, that it’s somehow edgier and cooler and riskier than other Skodas. It isn’t.
You still get an ice-scraper under the fuel-fuller cap, a clip for clamping parking tickets to the windscreen and a solid interior made with plastics deliberately chosen to be 28 per cent less plush than what you get in a VW. It’s very much business as usual here – pleasingly unpretentious but also deeply uninteresting. Is that a problem for honest family transport? We’ll come back to that in a moment.
Engine-wise, the Kamiq is simple. No hybrids, and since diesel sales will account for only five per cent of Skoda’s business, we’ll not worry about the 1.6 TDI much. Petrol power comes from either a 1.0-litre three-cylinder or a 1.5-litre four-cylinder, both turbocharged. You can have a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG auto gearbox.
All Kamiqs drive their front wheels. And the spec list is simple: basic S trim cars should start at around £17,000, then there’s SE, and SE L levels to upgrade. Skoda reckons a mid-range 1.0-litre SE manual will be the best seller, so that’s what we’ve concentrated on testing. If you’re in the market for an extremely sensible, almost painfully worthy set of small family wheels at a reasonable price, then read on. If not, maybe just pop the kettle on instead.