Otago Daily Times

What’s it like to look at?

- Cars · Consumer Goods · Monte Carlo · Volkswagen

adap­tive sus­pen­sion, with adap­tive bi­LED head­lights and cor­ner­ing lights, tinted glass and a panorama sun­roof. There’s also adap­tive radar cruise con­trol, side and rear cross traf­fic alert, sports seats and a sports steer­ing wheel, and a 9.2­inch touch­screen and nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem.

Test­ing the Karoq in 2018, I lamented Skoda’s de­ci­sion to play it safe with a ve­hi­cle that re­placed Skoda’s first mod­ern SUV, the vis­ually idio­syn­cratic Yeti.

Vis­ual risk­tak­ing isn’t part of the new Kamiq’s reper­toire, ei­ther. What we have here is a nicely bal­anced, but ut­terly con­ven­tional con­tem­po­rary SUV de­sign.

The bold­est trick the Kamiq plays up front is break­ing with es­tab­lished con­ven­tion by po­si­tion­ing its day­time run­ning lights above, rather than be­low, the head­lights. It’s a nice touch on a nose which is more up­right than that of the Karoq. At the rear, the Kamiq echoes styling cues from the Scala hatch­back, and fol­lows that model in be­com­ing the sec­ond mod­ern Skoda to have the brand’s name writ large in chrome let­ter­ing across the tail.

Fin­ished in eye­catch­ing red, the test car’s styling ben­e­fited from a few flag­ship flour­ishes such as dis­creet ‘‘Monte Carlo’’ badg­ing, black rather than chrome de­tail­ing, and those 18­inch black al­loys. quite strik­ing, and prac­ti­cal, too.

Up front, the Monte Carlo’s sports seats look su­per with their body­hug­ging form, red and car­bon­fin­ish high­light­ing, and con­trast stitch­ing.

The dash is clean­lined, with soft­touch up­per sur­faces, while the large touch­screen plays a cen­tral role in elim­i­nat­ing but­ton clut­ter: air­con­di­tion­ing aside, pretty much ev­ery­thing is op­er­ated via ei­ther the touch­screen, which is very easy to nav­i­gate, or but­tons on the multi­func­tion steer­ing wheel, and the stalks that sur­round it.

The main in­stru­ment clus­ter is fully dig­i­tal — it’s Skoda’s ver­sion of the VW Group ex­cel­lent Vir­tual Cock­pit sys­tem — and can be con­fig­ured in many dif­fer­ent ways (there are seven pri­mary lay­outs alone) via but­tons and a scroll wheel on the steer­ing wheel.

The front seats are sep­a­rated by a cen­tre con­sole, which in­cludes a small lid­ded cen­tre bin/arm­rest, twin cuphold­ers, a con­ven­tional (rather than elec­tronic) park brake, the gearshift and a tray at the base of the dash­board. The door pock­ets are deep and able to hold a 1.5­litre water bot­tle, while the driver’s side pocket boasts an um­brella holder. Felt lin­ing for the glove­box and door pock­ets are also nice touches.

The Kamiq moves with the times in pro­vid­ing USB­C plugin points: two within the tray at the based of the con­sole and two for back­seat oc­cu­pants.

The ben­e­fits of a de­cent wheel­base are re­alised in the back seats, which are pos­sessed of class­lead­ing legroom as well as gen­er­ous head­room. The con­tin­u­a­tion of red seat trim­ming from the front into the back seats, along with the panorama sun­roof, give the rear of the cabin a spa­cious feel­ing, de­spite the choice of dark trim for the door pil­lars and roof lin­ing.

Boot space is a very rea­son­able 400 litres, ex­pand­ing to 1395 litres when the rears seats are folded down. The main boot cav­ity fea­tures ad­justable cargo fas­ten­ers. An­other neat con­ve­nience fea­ture is the ice­scraper fit­ted on the in­side of the fuel filler cap.

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