Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Four engines will be offered when the order books open in the autumn, the cheapest being a 94bhp 1.0-litre petrol (badged 1.0 TSI 95). Based on our experience of this engine in the Seat Arona and VW T-Cross, performance should be perfectly adequate; there’s a good chance it will be the pick of the line-up.
The only Kamiq we’ve driven thus far had a more powerful 114bhp version of the same basic 1.0-litre engine (badged 1.0 TSI 115), which shaves just over a second off the official 0-62mph time and gains you a sixth gear for more relaxed motorway cruising. It’s worth considering, especially if you plan to regularly carry around several passengers or if you live in a hilly area.
A 148bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol and a 114bhp 1.6 diesel will also be offered, although, based on our experience of these engines in the rival Arona, they’re unlikely to be worth the extra outlay. If you want an automatic gearbox, you’ll need to go for the 1.0 TSI 115 or the range-topping 1.5-litre petrol.
Suspension and ride comfort
The Kamiq does suffer from a slightly choppy ride around town. Then again, the only model we’ve driven so far was fitted with optional Sport Chassis Control – Skoda’s name for an optional suspension system that sits the car 10mm closer to the ground than the regular setup, and gives you the ability to stiffen and soften the suspension by pressing a button.
In any case, ride comfort becomes noticeably better above about 40mph and things are very smooth on the motorway. We’ll be able to give you a better steer on how the Kamiq compares with its key rivals for ride comfort when we’ve tried the regular suspension on UK roads.
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 might be 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, for example, and its light, accurate steering makes negotiating narrow streets and winding your way up multi-storey car parks a breeze. Given its relatively tall stature, you might expect the Kamiq to sway around a fair bit through faster corners, but it’s actually pretty agile – especially with the optional Sport Chassis Control suspension (the only setup we’ve tried so far) set to Sport mode.
Noise and vibration
The Kamiq is a doddle to drive smoothly, thanks to a sweet manual gearshift (we haven’t tried the auto yet) and a positive clutch pedal.
In gentle driving, the 1.0 TSI 115 (the only engine we’ve tried so far) is smooth and the thrummy sound the engine makes isn’t loud enough to cause annoyance. Work the engine hard and and you do feel a few vibrations filtering up through the steering wheel and pedals, though.
There’s a little bit of wind noise at fast motorway speeds and you can also hear a few thuds from the suspension as it goes about its business – this is more noticeable at low speeds. Overall, the Kamiq is fractionally noisier than the VW T-Cross, but still a more peaceful companion than the vast majority of other small SUV rivals.