The Škoda Kamiq is the Czech brand’s smallest SUV, a rival for the likes of the Ford Puma and the Peugeot 2008. We’re testing the top-spec Monte Carlo, which looks more sporty than the rest of the range inside and out. There’s no diesel Kamiq, so we’re testing the most powerful petrol, the Škoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI 150PS Monte Carlo.
What are we looking for?
Towing ability of the Škoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI 150PS Monte Carlo
This is indeed a light car, but not such a featherweight that it won’t make a suitable match for a small caravan. For our tests, we matched it to our long-term Bailey Discovery D4-4 with a MiRO of 1059kg, an 83% match for the Škoda.
With peak pulling power from 1500rpm, the 1.5-litre petrol is much stronger than you might expect of a petrol. Once the maximum torque is delivered, it’s a very responsive, punchy engine. You can opt for a 1.0-litre petrol with 95hp or 110hp, but the 1.5’s extra muscle is welcome while towing.
It holds 60mph comfortably in top gear in most conditions, although a downshift to fifth will help with a headwind or incline.
The best caravan tow car will always be stable at speed, and we found the Škoda was. There are some slight movements in the disturbed air around coaches and HGVs, but nothing alarming. You rarely need to make steering corrections, as the Kamiq generally pulls the caravan straight again with minimal intervention from the driver.
On country roads, the Škoda tows very well. Perhaps the Kamiq needs a lower gear more often than a good turbodiesel, but the slick gearshift is no chore to use.
On narrower roads, a small car and small caravan feel easier to manage than a larger combination, and the Škoda’s well-judged suspension delivers comfort and control. Precise steering helps to keep both car and caravan on course.
Hill starts are something of a weakness, though. It takes plenty of revs and clutch slip to pull away on a 1-in-6 slope. Our test took place in dry weather – we can imagine traction could be an issue in the wet.
Solo driving in the Škoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI 150PS Monte Carlo
Without a caravan to pull, the Škoda’s engine is strong enough for brisk overtaking and it’s easy to keep pace with traffic.
Around town, the Monte Carlo’s 18-inch wheels make the ride a little firmer than more affordable Kamiq models with 17-inch alloys, but this is still a comfortable car. The Škoda is much more forgiving of rough surfaces than a Ford Puma, for example.
And being so small, the Kamiq is easy to manoeuvre around town. The view forward is clear, and with front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, parking the Kamiq is very easy.
The controls are light, which is a plus in stop-start traffic. Our test car was a manual, but if you’d rather rest your left leg, the DSG auto costs another £1300.
On country roads, the Kamiq handles neatly, although it doesn’t match the vim and verve of a Ford Puma. But while the Ford is fun to drive, this does come at the expense of an overly firm ride. The Kamiq is happy to get a move on when it suits you, but just as content to potter comfortably.
There’s a little wind noise at speed, but otherwise, the Škoda is a hushed, serene vehicle on the motorway. There’s very little noise from the engine once cruising, and the 1.5 shuts down two of its four cylinders under light loads to save fuel.
Practicality of the Škoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI 150PS Monte Carlo
For a car that will take up very little space on the road, the Kamiq is surprisingly roomy. Even with the panoramic sunroof that comes as standard on the Monte Carlo, tall drivers will have sufficient headroom, and the front seats move back far enough to accommodate long legs.
However, if you favour an SUV for the high-up driving position, you might be disappointed. Even with the seat raised to the maximum, it feels more like sitting in a conventional hatchback, rather than a shrunken offroader.
The seats at the back are surprisingly adult friendly, although there’s a stout tunnel in the middle which could get in the way if you are travelling with three rear-seat passengers.
On the other hand, there are air vents between the front seats, the ISOFIX points for child seats are accessible, and there’s the bonus of ISOFIX mounts on the front passenger seat – very handy if you ever travel alone with a young child.
Luggage space is generous for a car of this size, with 400 litres for bags with the seats upright. There’s no remote release for the seat backs, but it’s easy enough to reach the catches on the top of the back seats. With the seats folded down, there’s a slight slope to the floor, but the capacity increases to 1395 litres.
Buying and owning a Škoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI 150PS Monte Carlo
Research by What Car? magazine suggests discounts of around £2000 are available if you twist the dealer’s arm. Even so, we would probably save a few more pounds by choosing SE Drive or SE L Executive spec, rather than the range-topping Monte Carlo.
Whichever model you go for, running costs should be low. The official combined economy figure is 46-47.2mpg, which we found to be achievable in everyday driving. On our towing economy route, the Kamiq returned 28.1mpg.
The Kamiq can feel laboured in a hill start, but otherwise this is a fine lightweight tow car – stable, practical, we found it a pleasure to drive.
Looking for a way to improve your towing? Then check out our guide to 7 ways to be a better tow car driver, where we share our top hints and tips.
Technical spec of the Škoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI 150PS Monte Carlo
- Price: £28,370
- What Car? Target Price: £26,385
- Retained value after three years: 52%
- Kerbweight: 1280kg
- 85% of kerbweight: 1088kg
- Gross vehicle weight: 1790kg
- Max towing limit: 1250kg
- Gross train weight: 3040kg
- Towball limit: 75kg
- Price of tow ball and electrics: £1045
- Boot size: 400-1395 litres
- Payload: 510kg
- Test conditions: Dry
- Engine size: 1498cc
- Power (hp)/rpm: 150@5000rpm
- Torque (lb ft)/rpm: 184@1500rpm
- Official combined economy: 46-47.2mpg
- Towing economy: 28.1mpg
- CO2 emissions: 135-139g/km
- First year car tax: £255
- Second year car tax: £180
- Insurance group: 20E
- Euro NCAP rating: 5/5
Or you could try…
- Škoda Enyaq Coupé iV vRS: the sporty Coupé is great to drive solo and ideal for those with lightweight tourers.
- Audi A6 Avant 50 TFSI e Quattro S Line Tiptronic: strong performance and a roomy cabin are both provided by the Audi A6 Avant.
- Ford Ranger 2.0 TDCi Wildtrak Double Cab Auto: well-suited to heavier caravans, this Ford Ranger provides plenty of muscle.
Images: David Motton
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, why not get the latest news, reviews and features delivered direct to your door or inbox every month. Take advantage of our brilliant Practical Caravan magazine SUBSCRIBERS’ OFFER and SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER for regular weekly updates on all things caravan related.
|Engine Size||1498 cc|
|85% KW||1088 kg|
|Towball Limit||75 kg|
|Maximum Towing Limit||1250 kg|
|Torque||184 lb ft|
|Offical MPG||46-47.2 mpg|
|Towing MPG||28.1 mpg|