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Used test: Kia Stonic vs Skoda Kamiq vs Volkswagen T-Roc
These three small SUVs cost around £6000 less on the used market than when bought new. But which is the best?...
Kia Stonic 1.0 T-GDi 118 4
List price when new £20,625
Price today £14,000*
Available from 2017-present
The Stonic is fun to drive and offers plenty of grunt, but will it be overshadowed by its competitors?
Skoda Kamiq 1.0 TSI 115 SE L
List price when new £21,980
Price today £16,000*
Available from 2019-present
The Kamiq is spacious, comfortable and has a plush interior
Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0 TSI 115 Design
List price when new £22,555
Price today £16,500*
Available from 2018-present
Comfortable and practical, the T-Roc is a sensible small SUV that won’t disappoint
*Price today is based on a 2019 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing
The word ‘Kamiq’ is an odd one. It’s an Inuit word meaning ‘best fit’, and Skoda announced in 2019 that it would also be the name of its new small SUV. With a title so full of promise, the Kamiq needed to impress and, when it was released, it did. The model was hailed as a practical, comfortable and economical car, and a potential class leader – praise that now spreads to reasonably priced examples on the used market.
The small SUV segment is hugely popular, though, so the Kamiq has some tough competition. We’ve brought along a pair of used rivals, the Volkswagen T-Roc and Kia Stonic, to see what’s what. All three tested here have 1.0-litre petrol engines and six-speed manual gearboxes. What’s more, they’re all two years old and could save you a decent amount of money over the cost of buying one new.
Which one deserves the used small SUV crown? Let’s find out...
Performance, ride, handling, refinement
A combination of three cylinders and 1.0 litre isn’t likely to fire up your adrenal glands, but with a turbocharger thrown into the mix, as these three have, they deliver more punch than you might imagine. If outright speed is your main focus, the Kamiq wins out as it’s half a second faster than its rivals from 0-60mph.
We also looked for a more admirable trait, in-gear flexibility, which is achieved with a good slug of mid-rev shove to get you around with the least fuss. As long as you don’t let the revs drop below 2000rpm, all three of these cars are pretty perky. You can keep up with the flow of traffic without nailing the accelerator to the floor or working the gearlever like an egg whisk. The Stonic is the liveliest, thanks to shorter gearing. The Kamiq and T-Roc are fairly equal (no great surprise, considering their engine parity).
When it comes to gearboxes, the Kamiq and T-Roc’s are light and slick, while the Stonic’s has a slacker gait and notchier engagement.
Indeed, when it comes to smoothness, the Stonic is generally found wanting. At tickover, its engine slings the most vibrations into the interior, and it’s far louder than the other two as you accelerate, although some of that is because there’s an element of sportiness to its rasp. Road and wind noise are intrusive, too.
Wind noise is a lot less noticeable in the Kamiq, but its tyres still drone over rougher surfaces. The T-Roc, meanwhile, is the most cultured at high speeds.
If comfort matters to you, the T-Roc is good at that, too – just not quite as good as this particular Kamiq. Why? Well, our Kamiq came with adaptive suspension, which was an optional extra from new. It can be stiffened or softened as desired and, in Comfort mode, is better at filtering out the little pimples on motorways and fast A-roads than our T-Roc’s standard suspension.
There’s no clever suspension available with the ever-firm Stonic. It’s always jiggling and jostling you the most over little imperfections and thumps the most over bigger bumps. It’s bearable but is well outclassed in this company.
Still, the Stonic's stiffer stance breathes a degree of sporting intent into its handling. Along twisty roads, the Stonic leans the least and feels the most agile, and it’s the most stable when the surface becomes uneven. That doesn’t mean it has the most grip, though – that accolade falls to the Kamiq – and its steering could be improved. It’s accurate enough, so you can learn to place the nose where you want, but there’s little weight build-up in corners and it gives few clues as to what the front wheels are doing.
The Kamiq and T-Roc both have sweeter steering that builds weight more progressively and delivers a greater sense of the tyres’ grip to your fingers. In other respects, they fail to match the Stonic’s degree of driver engagement. The Kamiq isn’t quite as hunkered down over dips and crests, or as resistant to roll through bends. The T-Roc lurches the most in corners and, as a result, won’t change direction as quickly as its rivals. If you’re not bothered about dynamic sparkle, it’s still capable enough, though.
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