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Origami vibes: Skoda Kamiq SE L

The Skoda Kamiq is an excellent example of the Skoda design philosophy that has been such an important factor in the revival of the brand, such that it is now not only well established across Europe but is also something of a global name.

Simply put, the secret of Skoda’s success is to take an existing VW Group “platform” – floor plan plus various suspension components – and stretch it for extra room. Thus the original Octavia was a stretched version of the Golf, which yielded impressive boot space and leg room for the rear seat passengers – and with minimal sacrifice in weight and performance.

The two-spoke multifunction steering wheel and 8.25-inch touchscreen
The two-spoke multifunction steering wheel and 8.25-inch touchscreen (The Independent)

The Kamiq, a dinky “crossover” (part SUV, part hatch), does the same with the platform it shares with the notably dinkier VW Polo, Audi A1 and Seat Arona, among others. It is longer overall, and has a longer wheelbase, which means that it maximises the luggage and passenger space for a slightly bigger “footprint” on the road.

Plus, Skodas remain reasonably good value, albeit not the bargains they once were. As well as its pretty in-house rivals the Arona and T-Cross, it’s up against the Nissan Juke, Citroen C3 Aircross, Ford Puma, Renault Captur, and the new and rather more luxurious Lexus LBX, and it makes a case for itself. 

The Kamiq has a full suite of useful tech, including adaptive cruise control
The Kamiq has a full suite of useful tech, including adaptive cruise control (The Independent)

Typical also of Skoda is the Kamiq’s conservative styling, with no concessions to fashion. This helps it because, though a slightly old design, dating back to 2019, it doesn’t look especially dated, and this year receives its midlife facelift, which comprises some slimmer two-tier LED front lights, a larger, more upright grille, wider bumper and a rear “diffuser”, which makes it look very slightly more sporting (and, to be fair, even the smaller engined versions will get to 120mph, where legal).

The slightly origami vibes of contemporary Skoda cars run right up to the big Superb and electric Enyaq models. Gone, for now at any rate, are the whimsically innovative Yeti and Roomster models, no doubt future cult favourites for their unique eccentricity.

Child safety is built in with ISOFIX for front passenger seat and rear seats
Child safety is built in with ISOFIX for front passenger seat and rear seats (The Independent)

How does it go? In short, it’s easy to drive. I tried the slightly more powerful version of the smallest engine, a three-cylinder 1-litre petrol unit, teamed with a six-speed manual gearbox (an auto is an option), and it goes just as you’d expect – a bit thrummy and insistent when you press it hard, but revving freely yielding brisk rather than scorching performance.

THE SPEC

Skoda Kamiq SE L 1.0TSI 116PS

Price: £27,835 (as tested; range starts at £24,040)

Engine capacity: 1.0l petrol; 6-sp manual, fwd

Power output (bhp): 113

Top speed (mph): 121

0-62 mph (seconds): 9.7

Fuel economy (mpg): 49.2

CO2 emissions (g/km): 130g

It’ll return 50 mpg or more, which is also competitive. For that, and a sportier look you really need the 1.5-litre engine and the “Monte Carlo” trim (which I disdain because Skoda has next to zero connection with the Monte Carlo rally – too cynical an exercise in marketing). But that will push your little Skoda close to the £30,000 mark, or more.

The SE L model has two-tier LED front lights and dynamic indicators
The SE L model has two-tier LED front lights and dynamic indicators (The Independent)

My lower spec SE L model, to be honest, felt a little dark and spartan inside, but the nylon seats were comfortable enough on a journey. What you do get in abundance is the full suite of useful tech – adaptive cruise control, lane assist, voice control, full connectivity, steering wheel controls, plus an easily used touchscreen with in-built satnav. You will especially appreciate the induction pad for recharging your smartphone, which I found even worked on my antique iPhone. The only thing you might miss is a proper dial for volume on the radio. 

The Kamiq has a 400-litre boot with seats up and 1395-litre with them down
The Kamiq has a 400-litre boot with seats up and 1395-litre with them down (The Independent)

So this is a highly competent and roomy car which rewards with acceptable performance and pleasing economy. It might well be all the car you and your family need. The Kamiq also shares with its Skoda siblings the now usual trademark touches – plenty of storage pockets, an umbrella in the front door frame, a little Perspex clip on the windscreen for parking tickets and the like, and an ice scraper that lives with the fuel filler cap. It is details such as that that save the Skoda from being a boring car. It’s much more fun than it looks. 

#Origami #vibes #Skoda #Kamiq

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