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Used test: Kia Stonic vs Skoda Kamiq vs Volkswagen T-Roc interiors
These three small SUVs cost around £6000 less on the used market than when bought new. But which is the best?...
Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality
If you’re buying an SUV – even a small one – it’s reasonable to assume you’re after the genuine SUV experience. That means rufty-tufty looks and an all-important raised driving position. None of these three is as imperious as a Range Rover, of course, but the driving position in the T-Roc is at least halfway there. You sit much higher than you do in the Stonic, which itself places you slightly further from the road than the Kamiq. Indeed, the Kamiq’s seat puts you barely any higher than in a typical hatchback.
Beyond their SUV attributes, are they comfortable to sit in? Yes, with the T-Roc again preferable because it has the most upright and 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. That last feature can be found on certain T-Rocs (it was an optional extra from new), but is not available on the Stonics, and some of our testers bemoaned its lack of lower-back support.
The Stonic has the narrowest driver’s seat while the other two cars 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 that’s uncomfortably sticky to sit on.
Seeing out in all directions is easiest in the Kamiq. The T-Roc and Stonic have more restrictive rear window lines and thicker rear pillars. These days, though, there’s technology to help out, and the Stonic’s arsenal includes rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. The Kamiq has sensors at the rear while the T-Roc has them at the front as well, but both manufacturers charge extra for a reversing camera option.
The Stonic’s halogen headlights aren’t especially bright at night, and while the same can be said of the T-Roc’s, you can find examples that feature brighter LED headlights. LEDs are not available on the Stoniq but are standard on the Kamiq.
The Stonic’s interior contains well-damped switches and feels pretty solidly made, but there are not many 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 to be just as carefully screwed together, but the sea of hard, shiny plastics is disappointing when you consider the premium you’re being asked to pay.
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 and softer finishes. It’s hardly the Dorchester, granted, but it’s something.
The Stonic feels the smallest in the front, and that’s borne out by its measurements. It has enough head room for someone over six feet tall but falls 70mm shy of the T-Roc and is 40mm down on the Kamiq. The latter, bear in mind, had an optional space-zapping panoramic sunroof (£935) fitted. The Stonic also has the narrowest interior, but all three have enough leg room for taller folks.
Rear seat space leaves the Stonic with an even bigger shortfall. If you’re tall and sitting behind someone of a similar stature, your knees will be pressing into the back of the front seat and you might find head room marginal. That’s despite the Stonic’s rear bench being designed to sit low in an effort to free up more space at the expense of seating comfort. Your knees are so bent up that it’s like sitting on a small camping stool.
The T-Roc’s outer rear seats are the comfiest here. They're not the roomiest, though and knee space isn’t much better than in the Stonic, but the T-Roc does have the most head room and under-seat foot space. The Kamiq has the most rear legroom, plenty of space for feet under its front seats and, as in the front, decent head room.
So, the Kamiq just wins for rear seat space, but the T-Roc edges it for boot space. Both cars can hold a good tally of seven carry-on suitcases below their parcel shelves, but the T-Roc’s boot is slightly bigger in every direction. It has a height-adjustable boot floor (optional on the Kamiq) that creates a separate storage area and reduces the loading lip when raised. The other two cars have quite a ledge to heave items over. The Stonic also has a height-adjustable floor, but with far tighter dimensions, it can manage only five cases.
Rear seats that split and fold in a 60/40 arrangement make more space available in all our contenders when required, but only the T-Roc has a ski hatch to allow you to carry long loads plus two rear passengers. With the Kamiq’s rear seats down, there’s a step in its boot floor, while the other two provide a smooth surface to slide loads along, right up to their front seats.
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