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In-depth reviews

Skoda Kamiq SUV - Engines, drive & performance

Across the engine range, the Skoda Kamiq represents a decent blend of performance and economy

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

Few small SUVs are designed to be really good to drive, as most customers aren’t enthusiasts. But while the Mazda CX-30 and SEAT Arona are top of the class in this respect, the Skoda Kamiq doesn’t fall too far behind. It treads the line between sportiness and comfort really well – perhaps as a better all-rounder than any of its rivals.

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The gearbox, pedals and steering all feel light but without sacrificing accuracy. This means it’s an easy car to drive around town but one that isn’t out of its depth if you fancy driving briskly down a twisty back road. The Kamiq very quickly gives you the confidence that it’s a well-built, secure car that won’t do anything unexpected.

Many buyers after a small SUV want one because of the higher ride height and more commanding view of the road that they offer. The Kamiq certainly delivers in this respect, and while its small dimensions mean it’s manoeuvrable and easy to live with, it feels larger in some ways than it really is. We were less impressed with the small rear window and wing mirrors, though, as rearward visibility could have been better.

While it’s not the last word in driver involvement, it’s perfectly set up for the majority of buyers. The six-speed manual gearbox is very good, but when paired with the 1.0-litre, you have to work harder to overtake or drive up steep inclines, where the DSG automatic is quick to kick down into a lower gear. The Kamiq won’t be available with four-wheel-drive.

In our time with the 1.5-litre variant paired with the seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, we found it offered plenty of grunt for easy acceleration, although when you put your foot down to overtake or join the motorway there was a momentary surge in revs which was rather noisy. Once up to speed, or having lifted off the accelerator it was fairly serene, and the gearbox was smooth and seamless around town, with the stop-start system very responsive when in traffic, allowing us to set off without too much delay.

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One minor gripe we had with the Kamiq was the amount of wind noise it produced from the tyres and wing mirrors at higher speeds, but we think this was largely down to the bigger wheels of our test car and the winter tyres fitted to them.

Skoda Kamiq petrol engines

The engine range starts with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine in two different power outputs. They produce 94 and 114bhp, and are mated to a five-speed and six-speed manual gearbox respectively. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 9.7 seconds for the 114bhp engine and 11 seconds for the 94bhp model with a manual gearbox. When equipped with the optional DSG automatic, the 114bhp model is a little slower, doing the same sprint in 10.2 seconds. We found this engine a good fit for most drivers, with enough acceleration for overtaking when needed. Refined and smooth, it's ideal for driving in town but is competent on longer journeys too.

Skoda also offers a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and with 148bhp, it’s the range-topper, and will manage the 0-62mph sprint in 8.3 seconds. It has cylinder-deactivation technology, which shuts half the engine down when full power isn’t required. It's also very linear in its response, with enough pulling power to get the Kamiq up to speed without needing to rev it too hard. If you want a little more performance and your budget stretches to the 1.5-litre model, it’s a good choice without much of a compromise on fuel economy.

Diesel engine

The majority of Kamiq sales have been for petrol versions, so only one diesel engine was offered and it has now been discontinued. Skoda’s 1.6-litre diesel engine produces 113bhp and will get from 0-62mph in just over 10 seconds. Its economy means it was the best choice for buyers doing more than 12,000 miles a year but it’s noisier than the petrols when you’re on the move. Unlike Skoda’s larger SUVs, a 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel engine isn’t available.

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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