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 11 seconds) we recommend the Skoda Kamiq's 94bhp 1.0-litre petrol (badged 1.0 TSI 95). You'll find the same engine in the Seat Arona and Volkswagen T-Cross, and it's just the ticket for most 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. That means you're not changing up and down through the five-speed manual gearbox too often.
The more powerful 108bhp version (badged 1.0 TSI 110) shaves one second off the official 0-62mph time and gains you a sixth gear for more relaxed motorway cruising. It’s worth considering if you plan to use the Kamiq to carry passengers regularly, spend a lot of time on the motorway, or live in a hilly area. The equivalent mild-hybrid in the Ford Puma 1.0 Ecoboost (mHEV) 125 is stronger, though.
The T-Cross isn't far behind, it has to be said, and the Puma is firmer but better tied down over undulating country roads. The Nissan Juke is generally more agitated over all surfaces.
If you order a Kamiq with SE trim or above, you can add optional Sport Chassis Control, giving you adjustable suspension with a lowered ride height that lets you stiffen or soften the suspension by pressing a button. We’ve yet to try a car fitted with it, but the standard suspension is so good that it's not necessary to the spend the extra money.