Will Skoda win space race with cool Kamiq?
The move to SUV body styles has been the big success story of the motor industry in recent times. The muscular outdoor look has taken the fancy of those who in the past would have opted for a saloon because of the high seating position which gives a better view of the road and an the elevated hip entry level which makes entry and exit more natural and elegant.
To go with the easy-living trend, Skoda has added a third model to its SUV range. Enter the Kamiq, a motor that is designed to take sales from competitors such as the Nissan Juke. This is now the entry point to the company's SUV range of models such as the Kodiaq and the Karoq.
It is a compact car that will suit the traditional family market and the lifestyle-orientated brigade with a good use of space, and all importantly, top driving assistance systems and infotainment gadgetry.
Skoda Ireland head of marketing and product, Raymond Leddy, says that the Kamiq is tapping into a younger market where an off-road appearance and a high level of engine efficiency is important.
Front-wheel drive and the latest Connect system for infotainment use are available to make driving more relaxed and there is the option of a virtual cockpit with a 9.3" touchscreen in the line-up. Boot capacity is a generous 400 litres for an SUV of this size and it expands to 1395 litres when the rear seats are folded.
The new model will be shown at the Geneva Motor Show later this month and will be available to order here from October.
Prices will be competitive with rival compact SUVs and will come in below the high-selling Octavia model.
The engine line-up comprises direct injection units with turbochargers, combined with brake energy recovery and Stop-Start technology. The entry level is a 3-cylinder 1-litre TSI 95bhp unit with a more powerful 115bhp option with 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG automatic transmission.
Also on offer is a 4-cylinder 1.5 litre TSI with 150bhp on tap and a 1.6 litre TDI 115bhp diesel with manual or automatic transmission.
On show at Geneva is a new Skoda concept, called the 'iV', which is expected to be the foundation for an electric SUV in 2021. Skoda says it is investing almost €2bn into 'Alternative Drive Systems' in the next few years and the plan is to offer more than 10 electrified models by the end of 2022.
These models will be built on a new MEB platform VW has developed for all its new electric vehicles.