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Used test: Skoda Kamiq vs Volkswagen T-Cross

These used small SUVs both give you practicality and style for a very affordable price, but which is best?...

Skoda Kamiq vs Volkswagen T-Cross

The contenders

Skoda Kamiq 1.0 TSI 95 SE 

List price when new £19,135
Price today £15,500*
Available from 2020-present

Skoda's entrant in the highly competitive small SUV class offers a surprisingly spacious interior.

Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI 95 SE

List price when new £19,245
Price today £15,500*
Available from 2019-present

Funkier styling and a VW badge, yet bought at a year old it costs the same as a Kamiq of similar vintage.

*Price today is based on a 2020 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

Small SUVs are all the rage, combining the chunky styling and raised driving positions of their larger cousins with the low running costs and compact dimensions of the best small hatchbacks. 

Volkswagen is so sold on the formula it actually has two entrants in this class: the T-Cross and the slightly larger and more expensive T-Roc.  Here, we're pitting the former against one of its major rivals, the Skoda Kamiq, which is closely related to the T-Cross under the skin. 

Skoda Kamiq front

We're also testing both of these cars at a year old here. Buy either of them at this age and you'll bypass their heavy first-year depreciation and save yourself a decent sum in the process. To keep the match fair and make our pair more affordable, both are being tested in 1.0 TSI 95 SE form.

So which one makes more sense? We have the answer...


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

As mentioned, these two cars share the same basic underpinnings and indeed the same 94bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine. It’s no surprise, then, that there isn’t much in it for acceleration, with both pulling eagerly from low revs. The Kamiq is marginally quicker at accelerating from both 0-60mph and 30-70mph, but you won’t notice the difference without a stopwatch.

There are bigger differences when it comes to braking, though. In wet conditions, the T-Cross needed a lengthy 64.8m to stop from 70mph, compared with 57.5m for the Kamiq. That could be the difference between a nasty shunt and escaping with sweaty palms, and was probably due to the different tyres the test cars were fitted with (Hankooks on the T-Cross; Goodyears on the Kamiq).

There are noticeable differences in the way these cars deal with bumps, too. The Kamiq is more composed along craggy city streets and also calmer and more settled on faster roads. The T-Cross is still comfier than most other rivals, though, so you won’t exactly be bouncing around in your seat.

Volkswagen T-Cross front

In fact, if you spend a lot of time on motorways, you’ll appreciate the T-Cross’s quieter cruising manners – quite a bit less wind and road noise finds its way into the car. On the other hand, when you’re accelerating up to speed, the Kamiq’s engine sounds slightly less gruff.

Both cars are similarly easy to drive around town. However, the Kamiq’s five-speed manual gearbox is lighter, slicker and that bit more pleasant to use than the T-Cross’s equivalent, while the Kamiq is also the more enjoyable car to drive on twisting roads. It leans less, grips harder and feels a bit more eager to change direction.

The steering on both cars is decently precise. Whether you prefer the Kamiq’s slightly lighter weight or the T-Cross’s extra heft will come down to personal preference.

Next: What are they like inside? >>

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