Skoda Kamiq Monte Carlo review: return of the Yeti
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Skoda Kamiq Monte Carlo
- Looks great
- Lots of equipment over Ambition+
- Super-practical for its size
- Gruff powertrain
- Gearbox a bit fussy in Sport mode
- Why can’t we have the 3-cylinder in this?
The new flagship Monte Carlo version of the Skoda Kamiq SUV is really just a specced-up version of the Ambition+ model we’re already familiar with.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, because it looks really smart. If you remember the old Yeti Monte Carlo fondly, this Kamiq might even give you a few warm fuzzies: blacked-out exterior details, trick-looking “Vega” alloy wheels and flashes of red in the cabin.
The 1.5-litre engine with cylinder deactivation is the same as the Ambition+, although you do get a slightly more versatile dynamic package, with selectable two-stage adaptive suspension and a chassis setup that’s 15mm lower overall (a $750 package on the Ambition+).
Those snazzy wheels are also a size up, to 18 inches, but the Monte Carlo is still not as aggressive as those changes look on paper. It’s incremental stuff and this is still primarily a comfort-oriented (FWD only) urban SUV.
There’s some extra driver-assistance and safety tech in there, including adaptive cruise control (normally a $900 option), adaptive LED headlights, front parking sensors, and Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert.
Consider the suite of trim upgrades (including sports seats and a larger 9.2in infotainment screen) and panoramic roof and suddenly the Kamiq Monte Carlo is looking like a credible alternative to its flashy twin-under-the-skin, the Volkswagen T-Cross.
Don’t be fooled by the grown-up looks: the Kamiq is very much a city vehicle, just 4.2m long but surprisingly spacious with it (like the Scala hatchback on which it’s based). You even get a class-leading 400-litre boot.
The 1.5-litre engine is a little gruff under load and the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox can be a tad aggressive in Sport mode (although those fizzy rev-matched downchanges are nice), but the powertrain works really well in everyday driving.
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There’s also a neat bit of eco-tech in the form of cylinder deactivation. Two pots can shut off when they’re not needed (a gentle cruise on the motorway for example), which helps achieve overall fuel efficiency similar to that of the entry-level Kamiq three-cylinder : 5.8l/100km compared with 5.5l.
You’ll know it’s working by a light on the dashboard and maybe a little shudder and/or change in engine note.
So no, this tricked-up Kamiq is not as sporty as the Monte Carlo connotations suggest. But it is still a sharp-looking, enjoyable city SUV that’s superbly practical (which is what Skodas are supposed to be, right?).
Worth bearing in mind that Kamiq and its hatchback sibling Scala are the two newest-gen models in the Skoda lineup so far. A lot smaller than a Karoq or Kodiaq, but a leader when it comes to quality and tech.
SKODA KAMIQ MONTE CARLO
ENGINE: 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four
GEARBOX: 7-speed automated dual-clutch gearbox, FWD
0-100km/h: 8.4 seconds