The Skoda Kamiq blends European styling with an affordable all-you-can-eat package. Little wonder it’s won Drive Car of the Year – Best Small SUV two years running.
- Jam-packed with equipment and tech
- Spacious and nicely designed interior
- Composed and comfortable ride
- Occasional hesitation from dual-clutch auto from standstill
- Still no digital radio
- Supply-chain price rises
In the world of small SUVs, there are few better than the Skoda Kamiq. It’s a competitive segment, and one that is gaining in popularity as buyers drift away from small cars and into small SUVs, lured by a high-riding road stance and swathes of practicality in the boot.
And for the last two years, one small SUV has stood taller than the rest.
The Skoda Kamiq, awarded Drive Car of the Year – Best Small SUV the last two years running, continues to fly the flag for what a small SUV should be. The recipe for success is a mix of practicality and value along with a utility of purpose, needing to be able to haul the family in comfort while also serving as a youthful urban runabout. The Skoda Kamiq delivers on all counts.
Skoda has updated the Kamiq range for the 2022 model year, pushing up prices and introducing a new Signature variant. It’s the car we have on test here.
The range gets underway with the $37,900 drive-away Kamiq 85TSI, moves up to the mildly warm Monte Carlo at $41,900, and tops out with the 110TSI Signature we have on test here priced at $42,990 drive-away.
It’s worth noting that like every carmaker, the Kamiq range has not been immune from the brunt of supply chain-issues and rising costs of raw materials. It’s now priced significantly higher than it was 12 months ago. The $42,990 drive-away Kamiq Signature is now $4000 more than its mid-2021 launch price, and a hefty $6000 above the earlier 2021 Kamiq 110TSI Launch Edition, essentially the same car.
But, going some way to justifying its price and status as the range-topper, the Kamiq Signature is filled with premium goodies.
Standard equipment highlights run to 18-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, a 9.2-inch touchscreen with in-built satellite navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charging, a digital driver display, keyless entry and push-button start, front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights, leather and faux-suede seat trim, an eight-speaker sound system, automatic windscreen wipers, heated front and outboard rear seats, and a heated steering wheel.
There are no options to add, other than a $1300 panoramic roof and various shades of metallic, pearl and premium paint. Our test car was fitted with the panoramic roof and finished in a $1100 shade of Velvet Red premium paint.
It’s a hot segment the Kamiq plays in, with a slew of rivals from every corner of the planet. Germany throws up the Volkswagen T-Roc (from $35,500–$42,700), while France enters the fray with the Peugeot 2008 (from $36,740–$48,290) and Renault Arkana ($34,590–$42,090). Note that, unlike the Kamiq’s, those prices are exclusive of on-road costs.
|Key details||2022 Skoda Kamiq Signature|
|Colour of test car||Velvet Red|
|Options||Panoramic roof – $1300
Premium metallic paint – $1100
|Price as tested||$45,390 drive-away|
|Rivals||Volkswagen T-Roc | Peugeot 2008 | Mazda CX-30|
Skoda has long built a reputation for extracting more from seemingly less, certainly when it comes to interior packaging. Don’t be fooled by the Kamiq’s small SUV profile. Space and comfort greet occupants inside.
The overall design of the Kamiq’s cabin feels special in an understated European kind of way. There are no garish touches or overly wrought finishes to blot what is in every respect a classy cabin.
Instead, with swathes of premium materials and ergonomic touches, the Kamiq’s cabin feels every bit the premium interior it aspires to.
The seats are trimmed in leather and a faux-suede, the heated steering wheel is wrapped in racy-looking dimpled leather, while plenty of soft-touch surfaces lift the overall ambience.
The driver’s seat features electric adjustment with lumbar support and is a comfortable pew to spend time in.
Plenty of storage options abound: from the small central storage bin, to the cupholders, and generous door pockets capable of holding bottles, there’s a home for most of the small accoutrements we regularly travel with.
The second row is where the real surprises start. You’d imagine a small SUV would bring with it second-row compromises. But, with the Kamiq that’s simply not the case.
I’m no giant at 173cm, so the fact there is oodles of space in all key areas for back seat passengers should be judged by someone with a bit more height. Enter, my colleague Justin Narayan who, at 183cm, can provide a better picture.
Certainly, behind his own driving position, Justin enjoyed a spacious and comfortable second-row experience. You can check out just how much in the video accompanying this review.
The only minor gripes are the presence of a large drivetrain tunnel, which compromises foot room in the middle seat, and the complete lack of cupholders in the second row. The door pockets do accommodate bottles and there are air vents back there as well as heating for the outboard seats, but the lack of cupholders is, to our mind, a misstep.
The electric tailgate reveals a 400L cargo area with the second row in use, expanding to 1395L with the second row stowed away in 40:60 split fashion. But, when folded away, the liberated space isn’t flat.
Instead, a big step greets loads at the point where the back seats meet boot floor. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but worth noting. A space-saver spare wheel and tyre lives under the boot floor.
|2022 Skoda Kamiq Signature|
|Boot volume||400L seats up
1395L seats folded
Infotainment and Connectivity
A 9.2-inch colour touchscreen hosts Skoda’s excellent infotainment system. It’s loaded with satellite navigation (in this top-of-the-range Signature specification) as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Missing in action is DAB+ digital radio, a mild annoyance.
The screen is crisp with sharp graphics, while CarPlay works seamlessly, firing up – wirelessly – from the moment you step into the Kamiq.
A wireless charging pad keeps devices juiced. For those who prefer wired telephony, a pair of USB-C plugs are nestled next to the wireless charging pad. There’s a pair of USB-C plugs in the second row too.
The touchscreen controls a number of critical functions, and not always in the most intuitive way. For example, there are nice dials for setting the cabin temperature, and yet fan-speed controls are nestled inside the Kamiq’s operating system and require a couple of touch inputs to effect change, which is fiddly while on the move.
If it were us, and we could only have one set of dials, we’d reverse those functions – fan speed via dials, and temperature via the touchscreen. Let’s face it, most of us set the ambient temp to 22 degrees then forget about it.
Fan speed, on the other hand, does change according to the prevailing conditions. But, again, this is a minor gripe.
No gripes with the 10.25-inch digital driver display, which is as good as any we’ve experienced. Configurable to taste, the driver display can be as info-rich as you need it to be, or as uncluttered and simple as you want.
Driving data, navigation, trip information can all be accessed easily via simple scrollers on the steering wheel. It’s a gem, and to our eyes, the standard-bearer for this type of tech.
Safety and Technology
Australia’s independent safety authority, ANCAP, awarded the Skoda Kamiq a five-star rating back in 2019. The small SUV scored highly in all key safety criteria – 96 per cent for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent child occupant, 80 per cent vulnerable road user, and 76 per cent for its safety systems.
Testing highlights include perfect scores of eight out of eight in both side impact and pole oblique crash testing.
The Kamiq Signature carries a full suite of Skoda’s advanced safety technology: autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, driver fatigue monitor, and tyre pressure monitoring.
A complement of seven airbags covers both rows.
|2022 Skoda Kamiq Signature|
|ANCAP rating||Five stars (tested 2019)|
|Safety report||Link to ANCAP report|
Value for Money
Skoda covers the Kamiq with its standard five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. But, that surety is extended to seven years with a seven-year service pack, paid for at the time of purchase.
It’s a not unreasonable $2100, or just $300 annually. Alternatively, a five-year service pack asks for $1500. Service intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first.
|At a glance||2022 Skoda Kamiq Signature|
|Warranty||Five years / unlimited km
Seven years / unlimited km (with seven-year service pack)
|Service intervals||12 months or 15,000km|
|Servicing costs||$1500 (5 years), $2100 (7 years)|
Skoda reckons the Kamiq in this spec will use 5.6L/100km of 95RON premium unleaded. Our week-long test returned an indicated 7.0L/100km over a variety of conditions. We did see as low as 5.5 litres after a particularly long stretch on the highway. That’s decent by any measure.
The fuel tank measures in at 50L.
Fuel Consumption – brought to you by bp
|Fuel Useage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||5.6L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||7.0L/100km|
|Fuel type||95-octane premium unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||50L|
The Skoda Kamiq simply impresses from behind the wheel. Motivation comes from a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol making 110kW and 250Nm. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sends drive to the front wheels.
That combination probably lacks the character of the 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine found in the Kamiq 85TSI, but it’s at once smoother and more refined than the utterly charming three-pot found in the entry-level Skoda.
What it lacks in character compared with its three-cylinder sibling, the Kamiq Signature makes up for with a smooth and effortless driving experience. Mostly.
The seven-speed dual-clutch shows some hesitation moving away from standstill. It’s minor but noticeable, and mitigated by shifting the gear selector into Sport mode. On the move, the dual-clutch auto is exemplary, with intuitive and barely perceptible shifts, and eager to kick down a notch when asked.
Around town, the Kamiq Signature is plenty fast enough, its 8.3-second 0–100km/h feeling about right. It’s not overly quick off the mark, but neither is it a slouch. We’d argue the Kamiq’s rate of acceleration is about on the money for the environment it’s likely to spend the bulk of its life.
Those urban enclaves highlight the Kamiq’s well-sorted suspension set-up, which is at once supple and comfortable without being too soft. Minor road blemishes disappear under wheel with ease, while the small soft-roader is adept at tackling larger obstacles – like speed humps – without breaking into a sweaty wallow. Instead, the Kamiq remains composed and unflappable.
Similarly, cruising at highway speeds does little to ruffle the Kamiq. Instead, Skoda’s smallest SUV settles easily into a 110km/h rhythm with minimal tyre roar and wind noise.
Ask for a burst of speed for an overtake, and the seven-speed auto eagerly shifts down in the search for a dollop of maximum torque, available from nicely down low in the rev range at 1500rpm.
Navigating tight inner-city streets remains hassle-free thanks to the Kamiq’s steering which, while light, still offers some resistance and feel. Parking is a cinch, too, the Kamiq’s compact dimensions and light steering your best friends.
The overall impression is of an accomplished and flexible – that ever-so-slight hesitation from the dual-clutch automatic notwithstanding – small SUV that’s a pleasure to drive.
|Key details||2022 Skoda Kamiq Signature|
|Engine||1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power||110kW @ 6000rpm|
|Torque||250Nm @ 1500–3500rpm|
|Drive type||Front-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||89kW/t|
|Tow rating||1250kg braked, 630kg unbraked|
The Skoda Kamiq Signature continues to uphold the Czech brand’s reputation as a maker of engaging, feature-packed cars and SUVs that can sometimes leave you shaking your head. In a good way.
Its handsome styling is married to yet another well-packaged interior that offers space beyond what its small stature suggests. And while a decent price hike has taken the edge off the Kamiq’s value proposition, it’s worth noting that not all new car prices are created equal.
Skoda’s small SUV still leads the way for the class in terms of standard equipment and technology. Similarly, Skoda is not an outlier amongst carmakers in hiking prices.
Only some very minor packaging quirks and an occasionally recalcitrant dual-clutch auto spoil what would otherwise be a near-perfect experience. No car is perfect, of course, but some climb closer to that ideal than others.
Two straight Drive Car of the Year – Best Small SUV trophies are testament to the Kamiq’s blend of comfort, style, performance and packaging.