New Skoda Kamiq vs Kia Stonic vs Volkswagen T-Roc: interior
The new Skoda Kamiq small SUV promises to slot easily into buyers’ lives – but can it do so better than its Kia and Volkswagen rivals?...
Behind the wheel
Driving position, visibility, build quality
If you’re buying an SUV, even a small one, it’s reasonable to assume you’re after the genuine SUV experience. No, we’re not talking about ascending Mount Kilimanjaro with a bootful of Kendal Mint Cake; we mean the rufty-tufty looks and all-important raised driving position. None of these three is as imperious as a Range Rover, but the T-Roc’s driving position is at least halfway there. You sit much higher than you do in the Stonic, which itself places you slightly farther from the road than the Kamiq. Indeed, the Kamiq’s seat puts you barely any higher than in a typical hatchback, begging the question: what’s the point?
Beyond their SUV attributes, are they comfortable to sit in? Yes, with the T-Roc again preferable, thanks to the most upright, natural seating stance. The Kamiq is similar, just a little lower, while the Stonic places your backside closest to the floor and your legs stretched out straightest.
All three have height and reach-adjustable steering wheels that move extensively in all directions. They also come with height-adjustable driver’s seats, but only the Kamiq’s has adjustable lumbar support. For £70, you can add that to the T-Roc, but it’s unavailable on the Stonic; as a result, some of our testers bemoaned its lack of lower back support.
The Stonic also has the narrowest driver’s seat, while the other two feature more cosseting chairs with better side support in corners. Oh yes, and the Kamiq and T-Roc have cloth seats. Now, you might think that’s a negative, but not in every respect. You see, the Stonic has faux leather – PVC, in other words – that’s uncomfortably sticky to sit on.
Seeing out in all directions is easiest in the Kamiq. Both the T-Roc and Stonic have more restrictive rear window lines and thicker rear pillars. These days, there’s technology to help out, though, and the Stonic’s arsenal includes rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. The Kamiq has sensors at the rear, while the T-Roc also has them at the front, but both manufacturers demand extra cash for a reversing camera. At night, the Stonic’s halogen headlights aren’t especially bright, and while the same can be said of the T-Roc’s, you can upgrade them to much brighter LED headlights for £905. LED headlights aren’t available on the Stoniq but are standard on the Kamiq.
We’ve already mentioned the Stonic’s low-rent faux leather, but otherwise its interior contains nicely damped switches and feels pretty solidly made – albeit with few plush materials. If you’re expecting the T-Roc to be a cut above here, think again. The quality of its materials is arguably no worse than the Stonic’s, and it appears as carefully screwed together, but the sea of hard, shiny plastics is disappointing when you consider the premium you’re being asked to pay.
And if you’re looking at the T-Roc’s interior pictures and thinking “Those body-coloured highlights look cool”, in reality they don’t. It’s just more cheap-looking plastic, this time sprayed in a decidedly non-premium matt finish. Despite being the VW Group’s budget brand, Skoda shows how it should be done, with the tops of the Kamiq’s dashboard and front doors featuring smarter-looking, soft-feeling finishes. It’s hardly the Dorchester, granted, but it’s something.
Page 2 of 6
Best small SUVs 2021
Thinking of buying a new small SUV? Then make sure you read our countdown of the top 10 cars in this booming sector – plus, find out which ones we'd avoid
2018 Kia Stonic long-term test review
Kia's new small SUV was styled with European customers in mind, but can it lure them away from the class favourites? We have four months to find out