Otago Daily Times

What’s it like to look at?


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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