Skoda Kamiq Monte Carlo 1.5 TSI Review
Kamiq Together, Right Now Over Me

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
18 Mar 2021
 

The interior is what you can expect from Skoda, where the use of materials are simple and unpretentious.

Skoda’s new small SUV has a unique name - Kamiq. Sourced from an ancient Inuit tongue, loosely meaning the perfect fit… the Czech manufacturer could not be too far from the truth here, especially in a built-up country like ours.

The Kamiq is Skoda’s newest and smallest SUV, and it shares quite a lot with its sister car, the also newly-launched Scala hatchback. Both cars are built on the same MQB A0 architecture, intended for the group’s small cars, that includes the luxuriously-built Audi A1, and the more closely related Volkswagen T-Cross SUV.

The third car in the brand’s SUV range, Kamiq is strikingly close to that of the larger Karoq and even Kodiaq SUVs, which includes its signature SUV split upper and lower headlamp design, and upturned rear window line.

When decked out in the higher-end Monte Carlo trim, the Kamiq features a full-sized glass roof that lets in the light to the car’s interior.

Inside

The interior is what you can expect from Skoda, where the use of materials are simple and unpretentious. In-fact, the Kamiq shares the very same dashboard as the Scala. Where cars in this class would tend to be fitted with mounds of hard plastics, I like that Skoda has filled places like the door cards and various touch points with softer materials. With the Monte Carlo trim, the Kamiq also gets huggy-huggy front bucket seats.

In going with its versatile theme, the Kamiq, like the Scala, gets practical door pockets, large enough to hold 1.5 litre bottles, and a generously-large central bin.

The infotainment unit, fronted by a 9.2” screen is easy to navigate, and features left-right gesture recognition. Both Apple and Android devices are supported, and within the dash, there is a wireless charging pad to keep your mobile device charged up. In moving with the times, wired connections are by way of only USB-C. I would have been happier if there was just one USB-A socket made available. 

One thing that did not sit too well with me is how the fan adjustment for the air-conditioning is buried into the menu. If it were sited on the traditional control panel, that would have been much better.

The Kamiq shares a 2,651mm wheelbase that is similar to the Scala, and 10mm longer than the Volkswagen T-Cross, and even trumps the KIA Seltos. The generous gap between the front and rear wheels, ensures that adult rear passengers have ample knee and foot wriggle room. As cars have grown over the years, small ones included, the Kamiq’s interior does not skimp on size, and it is in-fact similar in-size to cars a class larger just a few generations ago.

The 400 litre boot features an adjustable false boot floor for added versatility, and with the rear seats folded, cargo room goes up to 1,395 litres; and you can even fold the front passenger seatback forward and flat just for that added extra space when you really do not want to call that LaLa Ninja guy.

The Drive

Those who may be hoping that the Kamiq is off-road capable might be slightly disappointed. While its styling is off-road inspired, the Kamiq is more at home parked right beside you while you indulge yourself in sip on a hot cup of coco at a sidewalk cafe.

The Kamiq gets its power from a 1.5 litre turbocharged mill, first seen in the Karoq SUV. Drive is to the front wheels only, via a 7-speed DSG. The Kamiq’s 1.5 litre delivers 150hp and 250Nm, the latter from between 1,500 to 3,500rpm; translating to heaps of torque where you need, for you haul the troops or even plenty of gear without fuss.

Skoda claims that the Kamiq does a combined 17.9km/l, and we were not far off, achieving 17km/l. Part of this is thanks to the transmission’s ability in ‘Eco’ mode to disengage, allowing you to coast along undisturbed stretches of roads, with the engine kept in idle, just to keep the Kamiq’s electricals alive.

Like the Scala, the Kamiq sits on a simple front MacPherson Strut and rear Torsion Crank combination, which is tuned to deliver a pliant ride. The small SUV rides comfortably, and even feels quite planted around some of the zigs and zags we put the car into. There is a little more roll than the Scala, since the Kamiq is 60mm taller than its hatchback sibling… But for some, height does have its advantages.

Our Thoughts

While the Kamiq does a fab job of transporting the troops and your gear, those who may be looking for a slightly more engaging drive, might be more keen on its Scala sibling, since it does ride lower, and it does feel more precise around the bends. But for those who like the little more height that a (urban) softroader provides, the Kamiq does deliver very well.

The Kamiq starts at a launch price of $119,990, $125,900 for the mid-tier Style, and $127,900 for the range-topping Monte Carlo. 

In Summary

We Like

Punchy engine. Upbeat styling. Hard-to-beat versatility.

We Don't

Air-Conditioning fan controls are buried in the menu.

Verdict

A Skoda is known for its versatility and the Kamiq does not disappoint, with its clever design and that punchy 1.5 litre is quite a gem of an engine.

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SGD 179,900 (23 Jun 2022)

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