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Skoda Kamiq SE

A brief glance at the new Skoda Kamiq and it could easily be mistaken for the Karoq or the Kodiaq. That’s not a slight on the Kamiq. Skoda obviously felt like it was on to something, and with sales of the Karoq and Kodiaq up 32% and 15% respectively in 2019 across Europe, who says they’re not?

The three cars all have the same shape at the front and back. They have the same trapezoid grills, light clusters, and air intakes. Even the lines down the side of the cars are in the exact same place. The one small difference is that the Kamiq is the first Skoda to include daytime running lights above the main headlamps.

So, the three Czech SUVs are pretty much identical when it comes to exterior design, it’s just the dimensions are different. The Kamiq is the smallest of the three at 4.2m in length, while the Karoq is 4.4m and the Kodiaq is 4.7m. But despite its size, Skoda is still keen to suggest that the Kamiq “delivers exceptional levels of practicality.” Let’s see how it stood up to the CC test.

Surprisingly, there is almost room to swing a cat in the Kamiq. Almost, but not quite. Apparently, the model sets the benchmark in its segment for elbow room, knee room and head room. Sitting behind the wheel and in the front passenger seat is comfortable, as is sitting in the back. At 6ft 1, I would probably shove a smaller human in if it came to it, but I could happily endure taking the rear middle seat for a short ride to the shops. Or the pub.

The boot is big enough to fit in a couple of small suitcases. Take out the parcel shelf, fold the back seats and there is a fair bit of space to play with. It’s not the biggest boot in the universe, but should do the trick for most luggage needs.

Back in the driver’s seat and the practicality of the model shines again. There is something comforting about the simplicity of the Kamiq’s interior, which again, is very similar to those of other Skodas (read our review of the Octavia vRS here). The company adopts a no-nonsense approach, with a simple dash populated with just a couple of buttons for air-con and the heated seats, and a touchscreen to control the rest of the functions.

The touchscreen varies in size depending on the spec, from 6.5-inches to 10.25-inches. Graphics are sharp and the system is fast, as the Kamiq uses Volkswagen’s third generation “modular infotainment matrix”. Not sure about the name, but it’s essentially pretty good and has all the features one could wish for.

As well as the essentials, tech-savvy users can have a bit of fun. Users can swipe their hands around furiously to try out gesture control. But is it really necessary? I’m not sure it is when using a touchscreen by, well, touch, is currently easier and more intuitive. Convince me otherwise.

The Kamiq also premieres some new stuff for Skoda that is designed to be practical. The company says it is the first model in its segment to have automatic door-edge protection. Nope, I’ve never heard of it either. Essentially, it’s a little flappy bit of rubber that is attached to the door. It is designed to prevent occupants from opening their doors in an Asda carpark and dinging the car next door due to the tight space. These aren’t a new invention, but Skoda says they’re traditionally only been used on luxury cars. I didn’t have the balls to test them out, but it seems like a sensible addition.

There are other features like an electrically retractable tow bar and a funnel system in the windscreen washer tank that simply prevents spillages. An electric tailgate is optional too, just in case, like me, you enjoy carrying stacks of shopping before trying to retrieve the car keys with your pinky from your back pocket to open the boot.

With the shopping safely stowed and your pinky intact, it’s time to head back on the road. Driving the Kamiq won’t instil huge amounts of enthusiasm. There are four different engine options that provide power outputs ranging from 95PS to 150PS. The most aggressive is the 1.5-litre four-cylinder TSI. No records will be broken here. The standard gearbox is a 6-speed manual, though a 7-speed DSG is optional on models with more than 115PS.

But the Kamiq isn’t designed to be thrilling. It’s designed to be practical, remember? Fuel efficiency is fantastic—I was able to drive from London to South Wales with room to spare. With its economical performance and small size, the Kamiq is well suited to both long journeys on the motorway and short urban jaunts.

The verdict

The Kamiq is just how Skoda describes—small but practical. It wouldn’t be my choice if I had a large family of two or more kids. For that, the big brother Kodiaq would be better suited. But for young couples that perhaps spend much of their time in a city, the Kamiq could be the perfect ride.

Spec: Skoda Kamiq SE 1.0 TSI 95PS

Price: £21,925

Chutzpah rating: 4/5