We drove the Škoda Kamiq Monte Carlo 1,5 TSI: a crossover with urban panache…

Škoda has a wonderful sporting history in the world famous Monte Carlo Rally. Already 85 years ago, the ŠKODA RAPID delivers an excellent performance from Palermo to Monaco; fair play here was more important to the driver team than the chance of achieving a second place.  

To celebrate this success, the POPULAR MONTE CARLO made its debut in 1936; it was a stylish two seater coupé; Look at the story we made about this beautiful and interesting car in our columns, with the following link: https://autoprova.be/2017/10/19/a-1937-skoda-steals-the-jurys-hearts-at-the-zoute-concours-delegance/.

Your servant made even two You Tube films about it. See one video of ing. Michal Velebný, https://youtu.be/TQ4aoKGVIMk , introducing himself, and another video telling us more about this Skoda Popular Coupé, https://youtu.be/Ad_XPM_Ej8s. In the Monte Rally, it was second in its class up to 1500 cc(!)

Since 2011, the MONTE CARLO equipment line has commemorated the brand’s legendary motorsport successes, and this adorns also this compact crossover, which indeed impressed us also greatly with its agility and zesty performance.

Not that Škoda has since then rested on its laurels: the FABIA Rally2 evo won the WRC2 category at the Monte Carlo Rally in 2021!

But now let’s turn to our test car. Its angular and sharp edged styling language pleases, and the proportions of this Kamiq are exactly what a compact crossover/SUV should be. Typical for Škoda is the excellent use of available space; Also here the Kamiq (comes from the language of the Inuit people, living in northern Canada and Greenland. It describes something that fits as perfectly as a second skin in every situation) has not stolen its name. It is indeed like a second skin enveloping passengers and luggage. Not losing one inch between them. Be it in the front or in the back, there is more than ample room for four adults, and Škoda boasts that the Kamiq offers more rear legroom than… the Octavia!   

The overall finish is very good, dashboard and front doors have soft padded panels, the fit of the external body panels is also precise and accurate, the paint finish is quite good. Indeed, one smells and feels quality in this Škoda. Speaking of room, the luggage space is 265 liter, not too much, when you use the available standard space up to the roof, it becomes 390 liter; When you fold everything down, the maximum available space is 1145 liters.

Behind the wheel…

Indeed, let’s get going in this Škoda. We just loved the digital instrumentation, which offers various displays. We always preferred the layout where the rev counter takes centre place, right in your line of vision. The steering wheel can be adjusted over a very wide range, so an ideal seating position is soon found. The central more than nine inch infotainment display screen is a breeze to use, and offers CarPlay, Android Auto, amongst others in this Monte Carlo Line version. Fortunately the ventilation/heating controls are separate, with round knobs and buttons for intuitive and easy everyday use.

The seats – in the Monte Carlo version – have sporting looks with integrated headrest, and are electronically adjustable. They wrap beautifully around you and give excellent support. Indeed, inviting to have a go…

We also liked the ambiance in  the cabin, thanks also to the wide opening panoramic roof.

Excellent performance paired with accurate, lively handling.   

This Škoda has the 1498 cc 4 cylinder petrol engine developing not less than 150 HP or 110 kW at 5000 rpm. Torque is also very impressive with 250 Nm at merely 1500 rpm. With a kerb weight of 1277 kg, this means 8,5 kg/hp, and indeed, this is synonymous for excellent performance. What to think of a 0 to 100 acceleration time of 8,3 seconds to 100 km? To put everything in perspective, a 1970 Porsche 2,2 litre 911 T needed 9,5 seconds to reach 100 km/h. Its top speed was 211 km/h, the Škoda reaches 215 km/h…

So you understand that we drove this Škoda with the rev counter in front of us. Faster than a 2,2 litre six cylinder classic Porsche…wow!  The 150 HP engine was coupled in our test car to an excellent seven speed DCT transmission, which provided smooth gearchanges. It takes however a rather gentle right foot when you want a supersmooth getaway from the traffic light. The engine can react rather abruptly with the gearbox hesitating somewhat, which can result in some jerkiness in the first meters. But soon your right foot will learn to bring all this ample torque smoothly on the tarmac.  

Thanks to its pulling power, this Kamiq is wonderfully lively. Even if you just leave the gearlever in the “D” position, the Kamiq will nevertheless sprint from 60 to 100 km/h in less than 5 seconds… take that!

Wind and tire roar is also well insulated from the cabin at speed, and this Škoda reveals itself as a very talented high speed cruising machine. It is a true compact GT, with excellent long distance qualities. The seventh gear is also laid out pleasantly high, with some 2400 rpm at 130 km/h for instance. The engine itself remains rather silent, with only a sporting roar when pushed to the limit. The Kamiq is of course als well prepared for night driving. It has LED headlamps as standard equipment.  

Let’s now focus on the handling. It’s very good indeed, with also the electromagnetic steering light and precise. You can steer with verve into corners; the Kamiq remains undisturbed and stable, with only some noticeable body roll. With all this, the Kamiq remains comfortable.

As it was so tempting to adopt a rather engaged driving style during our test, the consumption tended to suffer somewhat; We averaged 6,6 liters, while according to the WLTP cycle standards, the Kamiq should reach a figure of 6 l/100 km. CO2 emissions are quoted as 128 according to the WLTP norm.

Besides the good dynamic qualities, the rather high stance of this compact SUV and its nimble size make it fun to drive in town.

Brakes are also excellent, nicely progressive and responsive.

Conclusion

The Kamiq has excellent all round qualities, and in fact offers everything you would want from a car. It is roomy, compact in town, well finished, built to last, comfortable with excellent performance and dynamic qualities, which makes it an outstanding GT for long European (holiday) trips.

Of course, this Kamiq doesn’t come (very) cheap.. Škoda however offers for your money an excellent car, which will give you years of motoring pleasure… and yes, the performance and panache of a (classic) Porsche… at least in this well equipped top of the line Monte Carlo 150 HP version.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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