Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
If you're happy with modest, but still perfectly exploitable levels of zip (ie, 0-62mph in around eleven seconds) then we recommend the 94bhp 1.0-litre petrol (badged 1.0 TSI 95). You'll also find this engine in the Seat Arona and Volkswagen T-Cross, and it's just the ticket for daily journeys; okay, it needs revving fairly hard if you want to get up to motorway speeds quickly, but once you’re rolling there’s a surprising amount of low-down shove, which means you're not changing up and down through the five-speed manual gearbox too often.
The more powerful 113bhp version (badged 1.0 TSI 115) shaves just over a second off the official 0-62mph time (circa ten seconds) and gains you a sixth gear for more relaxed motorway cruising. It’s well worth considering, especially if you plan to regularly carry several passengers around or if you live in a hilly area, but the equivalent mild-hybrid engines in the Ford Puma are stronger.
For a truly enlivening experience try the 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol (1.5 TSI 150), which is about as powerful as the engines in small SUVs get. Or the 1.6 TDI 115 proves very flexible if you're towing a trailer or caravan. If you want the option of an automatic gearbox, you’ll need to either the 1.0 TSI 115 or 1.5 TSI 150 petrol, or the 1.6 TDI diesel.
Suspension and ride comfort
The Kamiq is one of the best-riding cars in the Small SUV class. On standard suspension set-ups, only the compliant Volkswagen T-Roc gets anywhere near the Kamiq's canny knack of smothering potholes and ridges around town, or its soothing motorway manners. The Volkswagen T-Cross isn't far behind, it has to be said, and the Ford Puma is more composed over undulating country roads. Meanwhile, the Nissan Juke is generally more agitated on all surfaces.
You can add optional Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) – adaptive suspension – that gives you the ability to stiffen and soften the suspension by pressing a button. Comfort mode proves even more cosseting, but bearing in mind how good the standard suspension is, and the cost to upgrade, it's not essential.
The name Kamiq means ‘something that fits perfectly’ in the language of the Inuit people of Canada and Greenland, and Skoda says that’s because this new small SUV is a perfect fit for the city. We suspect there's a degree of post-rationalisation going on there, but in many respects the Kamiq is very well suited to the urban hustle and bustle.
It has a tighter turning circle than most rivals and light, accurate steering that makes negotiating narrow streets or winding your way up multi-storey car parks a breeze. The Kamiq doesn't sway around as much as the taller T-Roc or T-Cross through faster corners, and feels just as agile as a Seat Arona. But for a small SUV that's genuinely fun to drive, get yourself behind the wheel of a Ford Puma.
Noise and vibration
The Kamiq is a doddle to drive smoothly, thanks to a sweet manual gearshift and a positive clutch and brake pedal. The automatic gearbox is a mite jerky if you're edging in and out of a parking space, but changes calmly through its gears.
In gentle driving, the 1.0 TSI 95 and 115 petrol engines are smooth, and the thrummy sound the engine makes isn’t loud enough to cause annoyance. Work the engine hard, though, and you'll feel a few vibrations filtering up through the steering wheel and pedals. The 1.6 TDI 115 diesel, meanwhile, is quiet and makes itself known only if revved out, while the 1.5 TSI 150 is the smoothest engine in the range.
As is the case in the Ford Puma, you'll hear a little bit of wind noise at fast motorway speeds, a fair degree of road noise and quite a few twangs from the suspension over bumps – the latter more noticeable at lower speeds. Overall, the Kamiq is fractionally noisier than the VW T-Cross, so for a bit of peace and quiet on long trips we highly recommend the hushed T-Roc.