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Skoda Kamiq engines, driving and performance

How does the Skoda Kamiq drive?

The Skoda Kamiq is exceptionally competent to drive. That isn’t meant to sound like damning with faint praise. No, it won’t appeal to underground street racers but, for the vast majority of drivers who simply want to get to where they’re going, it does everything right.

Perhaps the only minor gripe is that you sit low, so it’s not an SUV for someone who wants a lofty driving position. But the Kamiq impresses with its body control – it doesn’t roll or feel out of its depth in fast corners. The whole driving experience is largely the same – everything about how the Kamiq drives is measured, stable and confidence-inspiring. Very predictable, very sensible, very good.

Is the Skoda Kamiq comfortable?

On the whole, yes, the Kamiq is comfortable. Its suspension probably isn’t the most sophisticated, given how affordable it is, but most bumps are dealt with admirably. Even some speedbumps are barely noticeable in the baby Skoda. 

Things change a little in the top-spec Monte Carlo model, where we found the bigger 18-inch wheels do send a few more bangs to your bum over sharper bumps. These models also have switchable adaptive suspension where you can choose between sport and normal firmness. Sport is noticeably firmer, and we struggled to see the point of it given how tidily the Kamiq handles bends in normal mode.

What’s the best engine to get?

The Kamiq won’t do much for buyers looking for a diesel, hybrid or electric car, but the two available petrol engines are economical, powerful enough and help keep the Kamiq's overall purchase price down.

For the 2024 facelift, Skoda introduced second-generation versions of the 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine option. It now comes with either 95 or 116hp, and some internal modifications mean it's designed to feel a bit smoother in its power delivery. Neither horsepower option feels underpowered in the Kamiq, although the 95hp version does only come with a five-speed manual gearbox, and a sixth ratio would've been nice to lower revs on the motorways.

The 116hp version can be mated to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic, and it has more than enough pep in its step to cope with long motorway drives, with the caveat that you'll need to drop a gear or two for brisk overtakes. Whichever 1.0-litre option you pick, you're treated to an enthusiastic growl when you accelerate, which lends the Kamiq a bit of character.

Above the 1.0-litre engine is a 1.5-litre petrol engine with 150hp, which can turn off two of its cylinders to return fuel economy of about 49mpg – only 3 mpg behind the 1.0-litre engines. This bigger engine is happier on the motorway than the smaller engine and offers brisk acceleration.

Skoda Kamiq performance

Some small SUVs are pretty slow to get up to speed, but every Kamiq offers at least adequate performance. The 95hp entry-level engine gets from 0-62mph in around 11 seconds, which is pretty reasonable. We’d aim to hold out for a 116hp version if you’re on faster roads a lot – it’s about a second quicker off the line and has a six-speed gearbox rather than the 95hp engine’s five-speed. That makes it more refined at higher speeds.

The 1.5-litre engine offers surprisingly pokey acceleration for a small SUV, hitting the 0-62mph benchmark in 8.3 seconds regardless of whether you pick the manual or automatic gearbox.

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