Skoda’s small SUV was once the darling of the segment. But in the face of new competition and a higher asking price, does it still work as a good value and practical offering?
- Turbocharged three-cylinder engine is responsive and torquey
- Nice combination of ride quality and chassis control
- Well-appointed interior has good space and comfort
- Take-off hesitation through the driveline can be frustrating
- It’s not the value-laden choice that it once was
- Some climate controls are buried in the infotainment
2023 Skoda Kamiq Style 85TSI
It was only two years ago that the Skoda Kamiq was crowned as the best in its class, winning the 2021 Drive Car of the Year awards as Best Small SUV, with a back-to-back win in 2022. It was praised then for good levels of equipment, a well-designed cabin, and an engaging powertrain well matched to competent steering and ride qualities. It successfully defended the title the year after, putting onus on the quality of the offering.
However, there’s an important point to cover here: a base-grade Skoda Kamiq was priced at $29,990 drive-away back in 2021 (with an automatic transmission), rising up to $32,990 (once again drive-away) in 2022. Prices have risen quite a bit, so it doesn’t carry the same kind of value bite that it once did. And don’t forget about a bunch of new competitors in the field, so the Kamiq needs to fight harder than ever to stay in the game.
How much does the Skoda Kamiq cost in Australia?
Fast-forward to 2023, and the Skoda Kamiq is now priced from $37,990 drive-away. That’s a significant jump up in price in a segment where value for money matters.
Standard equipment is mostly similar to 2021, with things like 18-inch alloys, LED headlights, digital instrument cluster, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry (and push-button start), and wireless phone charging being standard fare. However, the once standard electric tailgate is now optional and comes with a $600 surcharge.
Other options include a panoramic sunroof ($1300) and Side Assist with rear cross-traffic alert ($1250).
Safe to say, the Kamiq is a much more expensive proposition these days. It’s noticeably more expensive but with less kit.
Competitive entry-level or small SUVs include the Honda HR-V (starting from $36,700 drive-away), Toyota Corolla Cross (starting from $33,000 plus-on-road costs), Mazda CX-30 (starting from $30,120 +ORCs), Nissan Qashqai (starting from $33,890 +ORCs), Hyundai Kona (starting from $26,900 +ORCs) and Kia Seltos (starting from $31,690 drive-away).
|Key details||2023 Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Style|
|Colour of test car||Graphite Grey|
|Options||Metallic paint – $550
Power tailgate – $600
|Price as tested||$39,140 drive-away|
|Rivals||Nissan Qashqai | Toyota Corolla Cross | Honda HR-V|
How much space does the Skoda Kamiq have inside?
Inside the Kamiq, you’ll find a nice mix of materials and an interior layout that is practical and comfortable for everyday usage. This isn’t an expensive car, but Skoda has clearly gone to some effort to keep it away from feeling like a fleet special. The steering wheel – wrapped in perforated leather – has interesting design elements and feels quality, and the large slab of sliver-grey across the dashboard helps to break up the black.
Seating material is a multi-hued mix of textured cloth finished off with some white exposed stitching. The seats are comfortable, and the range of manual adjustment (with lumbar support and tilt/rake through the steering column) allows for ergonomic positioning.
And, of course, you’ve got that classic Skoda touch of an umbrella hiding in the driver’s door.
There is room for bottles in the doors and two cupholders in the centre stack. USB-C power outlets can be found next to the wireless charging pad, and there’s a 12V power outlet by the centre console. This is a small space, by the way: I could only fit two sunglasses cases in here.
The amount of space in the second row is good for the segment, with enough room for adults to squeeze with enough comfort. Air vents and power outlets are duly noted, along with room for a bottle in each door.
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The boot – which measures in at 400L – is also good for the segment, and gains some additional space thanks to the low-slung floor. There is quite a lip to negotiate, and there’s no full-size spare hiding underneath – only a space-saver. However, the amount of overall space is good, and helped by the inclusion of hooks, a light, tie-down points and side bins.
|2023 Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Style|
|Boot volume||400L seats up
1395L seats folded
Does the Skoda Kamiq have Apple CarPlay?
Infotainment comes via an 8.0-inch infotainment display, which can be upgraded to 9.2 inches in higher specification grades. As we have it here, however, there is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, both wired and wireless. I didn’t have much luck with a wireless connection through my own Android smartphone, so I resorted to plugging in a cable. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer this anyway.
At least if you do live the wireless life, you’re able to throw your phone on the charging pad to keep the juice flowing.
Digital radio is missing in the lineup, as is native navigation.
The infotainment display is backed up by a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, which is an impressive inclusion for a base model. It’s not a set-up that is dripping with cool tricks and features, but you can customise the readouts here to suit your own tastes.
Is the Skoda Kamiq a safe car?
The 2023 Skoda Kamiq carries a five-star ANCAP rating from testing done in 2019. And due to recent changes by the independent crash-testing authority, this rating is set to expire in December 2025.
Adult occupant protection is impressively high at 96 per cent, while child occupant protection rates at 87 per cent. The Skoda Kamiq’s safety assist systems rated at 76 per cent. Vulnerable road user (pedestrian) protection rates at 80 per cent.
What safety technology does the Skoda Kamiq have?
Blind-spot monitoring is missing from our test vehicle because it is a $1250 option (which includes rear cross-traffic alert).
Things that are included: autonomous emergency braking (including pedestrian detection), adaptive cruise control, driver fatigue detection, lane-keep assistance and rear parking sensors (no front).
There is also tyre pressure monitoring, and the airbag count is seven: dual front side and curtain airbags, as well as one for the driver’s knee.
How much does the Skoda Kamiq cost to maintain?
Servicing over three years – using Skoda’s capped-price program – costs $1242 over three years ($414 per year on average) or $2538 over five years ($507.60 per year on average).
Insurance for the Kamiq is listed at $1319.72 per year using an online quote generator. This quote is comparative based on a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.
|At a glance||2023 Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Style|
|Warranty||Five years, unlimited km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 15,000km|
|Servicing costs||$1242 (3 years)
$2538 (5 years)
Is the 2023 Skoda Kamiq fuel-efficient?
A turbocharged, small three-cylinder engine is normally good news for fuel economy, especially when it is matched to a dual-clutch automatic transmission. Against a claim of 5.0 litres per 100 kilometres, we logged 7.3L/100km. We did see mid-5s on some more sympathetic highway driving, but heavier town use would likely see a number starting with a seven.
Getting 2.3 litres per hundred kilometres over the claim might not sound like the end of the world, but it does represent a 46 per cent jump in the consumption levels in a segment where running costs are very important.
It’s also worth noting that the turbocharged Skoda Kamiq – which does abide by strict Euro 6 emissions laws – requires 95RON premium fuel as a minimum.
|Fuel Usage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||5.0L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||7.3L/100km|
|Fuel type||95-octane premium unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||50L|
What is the Skoda Kamiq like to drive?
There’s often something special about the nature of a three-cylinder engine. They’re almost never high-powered (except for rare examples like this or this), but they often have a loveable nature in the way that they rev and sound.
This Skoda Kamiq is no different. Just 85kW certainly doesn’t set the world on fire, but 200Nm (available from 2000–3500rpm) is what one leans on most for around-town acceleration. It has a fun-to-drive and loveable sense, which I think is important.
From take-off, the Kamiq can often feel quite laggy. It’s not so much a fault of the motor, but the dual-clutch DSG transmission going through its motions removes responsiveness. Press the pedal, wait a few moments for clutch packs to align, and then you’ll feel the surge of torque travel through the powertrain.
Once it kicks in, it’s a willing engine that can get a nice head of steam up to highway speeds. It’s particularly peppy through the first three gears, which suits the application of the car that’s likely to be living mostly around town.
There’s a stop-start system on the Kamiq, which certainly helps to reduce fuel consumption. However, it can help to extend the wait times after stopping (or coming to a stop) and pressing the pedal.
Once rolling, the dual-clutch transmission is sharp and smooth, proving to be a much better suited companion to the engine in this scenario. There is a clear strategy here for holding as high a gear ratio as possible with the aim of reducing fuel consumption. Clicking the gearshifter down helps a more responsive feel by putting the transmission into a sportier mode. It holds a lower gear in this case, and makes the whole experience a little more nippy and enjoyable. It also feels much better when merging and overtaking in this mode.
There is a nice balance of ride quality and bump control going on in the Kamiq, which combines nicely with steering feel that is sweetly dialled for the application as well. It’s comfortable around town, not overly busy on the highway, but also responds well to twisty roads.
|Key details||2023 Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Style|
|Engine||1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power||85kW @ 5500rpm|
|Torque||200Nm @ 2000–3500rpm|
|Drive type||Front-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||65.1kW/t|
|Spare tyre type||Space-saver|
|Tow rating||1200kg braked
Should I buy a Skoda Kamiq?
Jacking up the price by over 26 per cent (in comparison to those prices two years ago) knocks the Kamiq’s appeal around quite a lot. There are at least some nice spec inclusions in this base-grade Kamiq, but it cannot fight on the same value quotient that it once did.
There are some omissions as well. We can live without a digital radio if we have to, but putting blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert on the options list – despite the raised prices – is a more bitter pill to swallow, especially when competing models from Toyota, Nissan, Mazda and other brands include this tech.
Combine this with a fresh wave of new options in the segment, and the Kamiq doesn’t stand out like the prime choice it once did. Those that do choose Czech will be rewarded with a willing (if hesitant) powertrain, smartly designed interior, and rewarding driving experience.
However, the pragmatic thing to do would be to size up the competition of this Kamiq before committing.
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