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Car of the week: New Kamiq will make its own market impact

January 16th, 2020 11:50 AM

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BY BRIAN BYRNE

SKODA’S Kamiq compact crossover hasn’t been around long enough to make an impact on its market, but I’m betting that will change very quickly.

My first experience with it was some months ago when I drove one for a day from Basel in Switzerland to Strasburg in France, having the car all to myself in the most pleasant mountains on the route. It made an immediate very good impression. One which has been confirmed in a recent time with the car in Ireland.

Built on the same platform as the Scala hatchback, the Kamiq is actually shorter and has a smaller boot capacity as its sibling. But, for the likes of me, it has a big advantage ... it is taller, and getting in and out is dead easy compared to the head-scraping I have to endure in many even larger cars.

Stylewise, it has enough character to please but simple enough so that it won’t date too quickly.

That’s kind of important, especially given the affection which the fairly conservative Irish market has for the brand.

Small details like the placement of the daylight running lights, and the little kick at the last panel of the glass area give it nicely modern touches. It looks really smart from the back.

Inside, the car is the same as the Scala in design, which means a well-styled dashboard and instruments combo, the centre screen of which is neatly included in the overall shape and not sticking out like an afterthought.

There’s a good sense of space, not least because of the elevated seating, and that stands to driving ease especially in city traffic.

Skoda talk of a ‘city-proof’ design in this context, and that does make sense.

The main instruments are familiar from other current Skodas, in a mix of analogue and digital styles which provide choices for everyone. Clarity is a hallmark of all Volkswagen Group instruments these days, and I like to acknowledge it.

For back seat passengers, there’s a surprising amount of legroom, and that extra height gives them the same airy feel which those in front have. Behind them is a nominal 400L of luggage capacity, in a very practical space.

Kamiq comes with a choice of 1.0 and 1.5 petrol engines, a 1.6 diesel, and a range of appropriate gearboxes. The review car was a 115hp petrol with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Over a period where I had to make a number of longer drives, shuttling to and from airport and other family home for Christmas chores, I couldn’t have asked for anything more suitable.

Picking out details of performance and handling isn’t needed. In fact, Skoda says the name Kamiq is from the Inuit language and means something that fits as perfectly as a second skin. Kind of says all I need to.

Being a Skoda, there are what we might term as ‘cleveralities.’ The Volvo-esque ticket holder on the windscreen. An integrated funnel in the lid of the screen-washer tank.

An ice-scraper with tyre tread depth indicator clipped to the inside of the fuel filler lid. These are thoughtful. I like thoughtful.

VERDICT

What I liked: The second skin idea, it works.

Pricing: From €21,300.

 

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