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Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 review


Our reigning best small SUV gains a new entry-grade model with $5000 cut from its starting price since Kamiq took the gong in 2023

Good points

  • Refinement at a low price
  • Flexible turbo engine
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Salubrious interior
  • Surprisingly spacious inside
  • Long warranty and service plan

Needs work

  • CarPlay requires a cable
  • No cheaper manual spec
  • Only 650 units coming
  • Runout loses some spec

The Skoda Kamiq might have started its life in Australia in 2020 priced from $27,990 driveaway (with a manual gearbox), but successive price increases didn’t stop last year’s cheapest $37,990 driveaway 85TSI Style grade winning Chasing Cars’ Best Small SUV prize.

Put simply, the Kamiq was probably underpriced when it first launched on Aussie roads and it seriously was that good that an effective $10,000 price increase ($8000 over the launch-spec automatic) wasn’t enough to give rivals the upper hand.

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 front 3/4

Our testing of the compact-sized but expertly-packaged Kamiq over the years has continuously confirmed that it is small SUV fare par excellence.

Still, price matters – especially in a cost-of-living crisis – and Skoda Australia’s decision to lop $5000 from the entry ticket to the Kamiq in 2024 makes a substantial difference.

Kamiq was a winner at $38K but now it’s a palpably more accessible buy to more new car shoppers and in our books, that’s nothing but a good thing.

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 rear 3/4

Naturally, nothing comes for free, and the rather pragmatically named $32,990 Kamiq 85TSI Runout specification has seen Skoda import 650 units in gently downgraded spec to our shores.

As the name suggests, the Runout is a temporary addition to the Kamiq range as a refreshed and facelift version is prepared for an Australian market launch later in 2024.

When we say gentle downgrading of spec, we mean it: compared to most base model small SUVs – be it a Toyota Yaris Cross, Kia Stonic, or a Mazda CX-3 – the Kamiq Runout is comparatively lavish.

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 interior

Brand staples like a leather steering wheel, muscular little turbocharged petrol engine, good ergonomics and sophisticated infotainment have gone precisely nowhere.

Instead, costs are shaved in more subtle ways when compared to the (continuing) $37,990 driveaway 85TSI Style grade.

That car’s chrome exterior trim gives way to black plastic, power operation of the tailgate becomes manual, 18-inch wheels are reduced to 17s and – perhaps slightly frustratingly – Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring suddenly wants for a cable again.

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 wheel

The latter point feels more 2018 than 2024 but really none of the Kamiq Runout’s despecification makes a deal-breaker in our books, particularly with that considerable $5000 saving.

Skoda’s packaging genius is in its fullest effect when it comes to the diminutive 4241mm-long Kamiq which looks more like a raised hatchback than a small SUV.

Somehow, within its modest bounds it packages five usable seats – four of which easily fit six-footers – plus a huge 400-litre boot.

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 boot

When we talk about packaging things can get a little nebulous. But all becomes clear when you line up a Kamiq next to the 34mm-longer Mazda CX-3. It’s smaller, yet the Skoda has much more rear legroom and 50 percent more boot space.

Various tricks are used to accomplish the feat – particularly a frugally short bonnet and dedication to fill the available volume of the car right to the corners.

Thankfully, the Kamiq Runout’s interior isn’t just roomy: it’s also comfortable, with firm but very supportive Euro-style front seats with six-way manual adjustment, plus in-out manual lumbar.

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 interior front seats
Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 gauges

Driving a Kamiq three hours home from the New South Wales south coast was no issue in terms of fatigue – the drive was an easy one.

That’s also down to the Skoda’s infotainment, which works intuitively. Plug your phone in via the cable method and CarPlay (or Android Auto) is displayed quite sharply on the central 8.0-inch touchscreen.

Handsome analogue gauges replace a full-screen digital instrument cluster found in the Style, but between the tacho and speed ‘clocks’ sits a fully-featured trip computer that can show song info, efficiency, digital speedo, nav directions, and more.

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 touchscreen

Even the base stereo is surprisingly punchy, rendering podcasts and our road-trip tunes effectively.

This is no luxury car, but interior quality’s impressively good, too: a posh-feeling perforated leather steering wheel trickles down the range here with slick metal rollers for volume and list operation.

At this price you’re still getting a horrid plastic steering wheel in several rival vehicles. Don’t accept that.

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 driving front 2

On the go, the Kamiq impresses with decent ride quality, handling that is far above average for the class, and good performance from its flexible turbocharged engine.

The petrol powerplant is modest on paper: a 1.0-litre three-cylinder producing 85kW of power and 200Nm of torque. But all that twist is available from low RPMs, and as a result, the lightweight Kamiq makes progress easily.

Independently tested 0-100km/h acceleration time of 10.61 seconds isn’t quick in the scheme of things but it is average for the class, and two seconds swifter than a Toyota Yaris Cross hybrid.

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 driving side 2

Gearbox duties are done by a seven-speed dry dual-clutch automatic that at times has some manual-like tendencies at low speed but was generally refined enough on our test.

All Kamiq models, including the Runout, are front-wheel drive. Some rivals do offer AWD – including the Toyota Yaris Cross – but it’s typically a costly addition that many buyers won’t need.

A benefit of the small, muscular engine is excellent fuel economy. We achieved about 5.5L/100km with sensible driving using required 95-octane premium petrol. From the 50 litre fuel tank, the Kamiq has a long driving range of 909km.

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 driving front 4

Buyers who fall for the Kamiq package but simply want more performance can achieve that by opening their wallets further.

Two variants – starting with the $43,490 driveaway Monte Carlo – upgrade to a 1.4-litre turbo four-cylinder making 110kW/250Nm which slashes the tested 0-100km/h time to 8.28 seconds.

Brakes are acceptable despite the fitment of cheaper drums at the rear like many other cars on the Volkswagen Group’s lower-cost MQB-A0 platform (including the well-known VW Polo).

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 driving rear

Steering is excellent with tremendous fluency in the rack not often found in the budget SUV class – or SUVs generally. While it isn’t fast, there is a bit of hot hatch spirit in the dynamics of the Kamiq.

It would be remiss to think of the Kamiq as a boring commuter. Attacking the fun Macquarie Pass and Jamberoo Mountain Road brings out a real fun side.

On urban routes the Kamiq traverses potholes fairly well but those seeking significantly more comfort would be better served looking at the larger $42,490 drive-away Octavia model.

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 engine

Skoda does sell a slightly larger Karoq small SUV, priced from $39,990 driveaway. The Karoq has a 110kW four-cylinder turbo and a 30 percent-larger boot, but Karoq doesn’t offer meaningfully more polished dynamics over the cheaper Kamiq.

The Octavia sedan and wagon, however, are several classes ahead in terms of their overall big-car, premium-car feel, so they could be worth a look.

If you’re looking to spend less, we’d recommend checking out the cheap-and-cheerful Hyundai Venue. It’s not as sophisticated as the Kamiq, but it can be had from $27,490 driveaway with auto.

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 front

On the dearer end, the electric MG4 Excite 51 ($39,990 driveway) is worth a look. It’s nearly as roomy as the Kamiq and has a tested driving range of 299km (highway) and 353km (urban) – that’s OK for a cheap EV.

Like that MG, Skoda has a standard seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. Also good value is the Kamiq’s available seven-year/105,000km service plan that costs $2650, averaging to $378 per year and just 2.5 cents per kilometre.

If you’re planning to keep the Kamiq for more than a few years, the service plan makes sense and locks in additional peace of mind.

Skoda Kamiq 85TSI Runout 2024 front 3/4 2

With 650 examples of the Kamiq 85TSI Runout on their way to Australia, several hundred locals are in for a good deal with this small SUV – a vehicle in a class that hasn’t typically been associated with value.

The Kamiq was superb value when it initially launched at sub-$30,000. It was still a reasonable deal even when it was much more expensive – but now that the entry cost has been rationalised once again, it’s a win-win situation.

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