New Skoda Kamiq 2024 facelift review: popular small SUV just got even better
The Skoda Kamiq has been updated for 2024, adding improved tech and sustainable materials
It’s easy to see why the Skoda Kamiq is the Czech brand’s second best-selling model. The smallest SUV in the highly accomplished Skoda stable offers the comfortable ride and a commanding feel of a much larger car, combined with a well-built, spacious interior that now features more clever touches and sustainable materials as part of the mid-life facelift.
Skoda has become known to many for its SUVs in recent years, whether that be the boxy and beloved Yeti, all-electric Enyaq or seven-seat Kodiaq. But right now, its best-selling SUV globally is also its smallest; the Skoda Kamiq arrived on the scene back in 2019, and remains a firm rival to other top-sellers like the Ford Puma, Renault Captur and Volkswagen T-Cross.
Being in one of the most hotly contested segments of the new-car market means competition is fierce, and there’s fresh or facelifted models arriving on nearly a bi-monthly basis. So Skoda decided it was high time that the Kamiq was given its own mid-life spruce-up, including styling refinements and the addition of impressive new technology.
The aim with the design updates was to give the Kamiq a more robust look. Up front, the grille is bigger and stands more upright, while the bumper has been tweaked to emphasise the car’s width and incorporate a new silver three-slot diffuser that Skoda claims provides some underbody protection. It’s probably not rated for rock crawling, but it does help the car to look a little tougher.
The Kamiq’s distinctive four-crystal daytime-running lights still feature but are much thinner than before. The main headlight units are chunkier and available for the first time with matrix-LED technology, either standard on top-spec models, or as an optional extra lower down the range.
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Every Kamiq comes with dual displays as standard, plus wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Base models are now equipped with an eight-inch digital instrument panel and 8.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, but our European-spec test car featured the upgraded 9.2-inch touchscreen that’s crisp and very quick to respond. It also had the equally sharp 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit display with various layouts to choose from, including full-screen mapping.
Also new are the USB-C charging ports that can deliver up to 45 watts of power, which is enough juice to charge a laptop. Meanwhile the wireless charging pad is three times more powerful (up from 5 to 15 watts), and has a cooling function to prevent your smartphone from melting like the wicked witch of the west.
Skoda knows it's the little touches like this that buyers appreciate. Plus the brand’s decision to not add fiddly touch-sensitive climate controls as part of this update, instead sticking with good old fashioned physical dials and buttons – just on a more modern control panel.
Overall, the Kamiq’s interior cabin has a mature and high-quality feel to it. We particularly like the addition of the fabric dashboard to help create more of a living-room aesthetic. Hard scratchy black plastic is used for the door panels and other less frequently prodded areas, but the same goes for almost every small SUV in this segment.
The Kamiq is very spacious inside too, despite its size. Rear passengers have room to spare, particularly when it comes to headroom, plus space under the front seats for their feet. Two adults would be very comfortable back there.
Boot space in the Kamiq is down on the Puma and Captur’s luggage capacity, but the area itself is nice and square so you can make the most of the 400 litres on offer. Plus the large opening should make it easy to load.
This is a car that delivers a commanding driving position, too. The bonnet stretching out in front of you and the raised-up seating creates the illusion that you’re at the helm of a much larger car. For those who aspire to own a luxury SUV, the Skoda Kamiq could be a great amuse-bouche.
The other big takeaway from our drive was the supple ride, as the soft suspension rounds off impacts from potholes and bumps nicely. We did notice a fair amount of road noise coming through on the German autobahn, although a good deal of that will be the result of the larger wheels and winter tyres our car was riding on. However, the bizarrely small door mirrors and relatively slim rear window don’t do much for visibility.
Our test car featured the range-topping powertrain: a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and seven-speed DSG automatic. The engine is smooth and delivers plenty of power for effortless acceleration, while gear changes are almost seamless. The gearbox didn’t miss a step as we weaved through quaint German towns, and the stop-start system was quick to wake the engine when we wanted to move off.
The only gripe we had with this particular setup was the surge in revs when we made any sudden requests for power, like when overtaking or needing to accelerate quickly to join the motorway. But once you lift off the accelerator, the gearbox seems to require a few seconds to select the optimal gear. Once that happens though, everything calms down.
|Skoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI DSG SE L
|from £24,030 / 1.5 DSG SE L from £29,965
|1.5-litre 4cyl petrol turbo
|Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, front-wheel drive