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The Skoda Kamiq small SUV has gone into production

Skoda Kamiq small SUV goes into production

Skoda’s entry into the lucrative small SUV segment is finally ready. The Kamiq is going into production at Skoda’s plant in Mlada Boleslav ahead of deliveries beginning later in 2019.

It joins the Octavia, Fabia, Scala and Karoq online at the plant. Skoda recently invested 100 million euros into infrastructure for the manufacture of the Kamiq.

As the smallest and most affordable SUV in the range, the Kamiq ought to do gangbusters in the showrooms. At least Skoda thinks (hopes) so, hence the investment.

The result is a 400-car daily production number of Kamiqs at the pant.

The Kamiq sits below the Karoq and Kodiaq SUVs in the range. It is based on Volkswagen’s MQB platform. Similar models have been on sale at Skoda’s sister marques for some time.

The Seat Arona debuted two years ago, with the Volkswagen T-Cross following a little while later. 

Skoda Kamiq small SUV goes into production

“For us, the start of production for a new Skoda model is always a special time,” said Dr Michael Oeljeklaus, Skoda Auto Board Member for Production and Logistics

“Over the past few months, we have made all of the provisions in production and logistics to successfully launch the Kamiq in the city SUV segment. We are convinced that – in typical Skoda style – the Kamiq too will impress our customers with its excellent quality and many practical features.”

The Kamiq is available with a range of engines, including the excellent 1.0-litre TSI lumps. A larger 1.5 TSI and 1.6-litre TDI are also available. A sporty vRS is likely not far off.

Prices should start from around £17,000 and deliveries are expected to begin in the autumn. 

2019 Skoda Kodiaq vRS review: hot seven-seat SUV driven

Skoda Kodiaq VRS

The Skoda Kodiaq was the Czech marque’s first foray into the crowded arena of the family SUV.

Three years on, it’s still selling well – and Skoda has expanded its SUV offering with the smaller Karoq, plus the Kamiq coming soon.

Skoda SUVs have so far been deserving of their success. They’re the cheapest of the Volkswagen Group cars with which they share underpinnings, yet similarly equipped and built to the same standard.

Skoda Kodiaq VRS

Both the Kodiaq and the Karoq are sharp-suited and handsome. Unlike many rivals, they don’t try to disguise their SUV silhouette, embracing its chunkiness with boxy proportions and bulbous wheelarches. 

Related: The Seat Tarraco is a Spanish Skoda Kodiaq

So, good looks, seven seats, lots of space, smart pricing, good equipment levels and an efficient engine line-up – what’s not to like?

Skoda Kodiaq VRS

Review over? Not quite. Meet the new top-of-the-line Nurburgring-conquering Kodiaq vRS. Specifically, £44,730-worth of Kodiaq VRS – we’ll get back to that later.

The vRS is Skoda’s version of Volkswagen’s GTI or Seat’s Cupra. It delivers different flavours of performance, though, with strong diesels available alongside potent petrols.

Seven-seat Nurburgring fighter

Skoda Kodiaq VRS

The Kodiaq is the latest to get the diesel vRS treatment, packing a twin-turbocharged 240hp 2.0-litre TDI with a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission and four-wheel drive. It’ll get to 62mph in 7.0 seconds, plus a top speed of 136mph.

Skoda is keen to point out that this is the most powerful diesel engine in its history. It’s one of the main weapons with which the Kodiaq vRS won the title of fastest seven-seater around the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit, with a time of nine minutes and 29 seconds. When not at the ‘Ring, it’ll achieve between 34 and 35mpg.

The vRS specification adds some aggression to the Kodiaq’s already agreeable looks. Blacked-out brightwork and 20-inch ‘Xtreme’ alloy wheels are suitably moody mods.

Sportier front and rear bumpers complete the look, with big metallic exhaust exits recessed into the back. Sharp LED lighting all-round comes as standard. Ignoring the juxtaposition of sporty styling with an SUV platform, it’s a looker.

Inside the Kodiaq vRS

Skoda Kodiaq VRS

Immediately evident inside are the Alcantara sports seats with quilted stitching, carbon-look material and strong bolstering. For all their attitude, they’re still nice and comfortable.

Flashes of red and Alcantara continue elsewhere, too. Look through the sportier steering wheel and you see the digital dials – exclusively standard on the vRS.

A nicely responsive 9.2-inch touchscreen handles sat-nav, digital media, radio and more. Climate controls sit below, along with various other physical controls in an intuitive layout. Depending on how you feel about touchscreen systems, the number of buttons will either feel refreshing or regressive. We’re in the former camp.

With all of the above, plus cruise control, climate control, adaptive lighting and more, the vRS is a very well-equipped car. Options fitted that we’d tick include the rear camera with full LED rear lights for £385, plus the Canton sound system for £405. The electric folding tow bar (£865) could appeal to others.

Driving the hot Skoda Kodiaq

Skoda Kodiaq VRS

Driving the Kodiaq vRS is a curious experience. The twin-turbo deployment of that 240hp and 369lb ft is seamless, but you definitely notice it. 

This is the first use of ‘Dynamic Sound Boost’ in a Skoda vRS – also known as ‘Mercedes-AMG G63 sound effects’. The bass and woofle it puts out just trundling around is amusing, but also quite odd. At speed, it could fool the lesser-informed into thinking there’s a V8 under the bonnet.

It feels every bit as fast as the figures suggest, but it’s not a scary or dramatic flavour of acceleration. A good job, then, that in spite of the tall driving position, the sporty seats keep you anchored where you need to be.

They have their work cut out for them when it comes to corners, though. The stiffer vRS in Sport mode covers ground at serious pace, doing well to mitigate typical SUV roll characteristics.

The steering is quite numb, which becomes a problem in the wet when the car’s significant weight pushes the low-profile tyres beyond their limits. There is next to no warning or sensation through the rim that you’re playing fast and loose with the available adhesion.

Skoda Kodiaq vRS verdict: four starsSkoda Kodiaq VRS

The Kodiaq VRS is an excellent car, but mostly because the Kodiaq is an excellent car.

Most of what it offers in vRS specification is available in a 190hp Sportline for much less. Sporty looks, amiable performance, generous equipment levels and a quality interior appointment are not exclusive to the vRS.

By no means is £38,250 – the amount that a Kodiaq 190 DSG Sportline costs – a small amount of money. Nevertheless, it is more than £6,000 less than a vRS, which costs from £42,895. The 190 Sportline offers more Kodiaq for your buck.

Skoda Kodiaq VRS

If you’re dedicated to the vRS life, we’d suggest the excellent Octavia vRS estate is more the practical performance car for far less cash. It’s more economical, better looking, faster and more fun to drive.

A full-fat Octavia Estate vRS Challenge will cost you £31,300, in fact. That’s a healthy £11,000 less than kick-off in a Kodiaq vRS. We also reckon the Kodiaq looks better in the chunky ‘Scout’ spec, but that’s your call.

Skoda Kodiaq VRS

Five 2019 Skoda Kodiaq vRS rivals

  • Skoda Kodiaq 190 Sportline
  • Skoda Octavia vRS Estate
  • Cupra Ateca
  • Audi SQ5
  • BMW X3 M

How much did our test car cost?

Skoda Kodiaq vRS 2.0 TDI 240PS 4×4 DSG: £44,730

Skoda trials car-sharing service for students

Student car-sharing service

Skoda has teamed up with three Czech universities to develop a car-sharing platform for students who don’t want to commit to car ownership during their studies.

Called Uniqway, the car-sharing service is the first of its kind in Europe and is available to students and faculty members at three university campuses in Prague. 

Students can select from a fleet of 15 Skoda Fabias, paying £1.03 per hour plus 17p per kilometre driven. The fee reduces if the car is used for greater distances or day trips.

The length and distance of the rental period is tracked and paid for via an app. Pick up and drop off points are available in assigned areas near university buildings, halls of residence and free parking areas around Prague.

Uniqway car-sharing app

Skoda says the car-sharing platform “could see great demand in the future”, referencing the 2.3 million people enrolled in higher education each year in the UK.

Many UK universities promote car-sharing schemes via their websites, with some schemes operated via the Liftshare network. A commuter could save over £1,000 a year by sharing a car, says Liftshare.

Students can also arrange pay-as-you-drive car hire via the Co-wheels car club. The service is available in 24 university towns and cities, with students paying a lifetime membership fee of £25 and committing to a minimum spend of £5 per month.

If Skoda’s car-sharing trial is successful, it could be rolled out across the rest of Europe.

Skoda Karoq Velo is the ‘perfect cycling support vehicle’

Skoda Karoq Velo is the perfect cycling vehicle

The Skoda Karoq Velo boasts a washing machine. No matter which way you spin it, that’s a pretty neat feature to have onboard. 

Developed and built by Skoda UK, the Karoq Velo is the result of a survey of 1,500 active cyclists who were asked to suggest ideas for the perfect support vehicle.

It’s like having your very own Tour de France race support team car for the Tour de Commute or the Tour de Weekend Ride With Your Mates.

Cycling spin cycle

Skoda Karoq Velo concept

Twenty-seven percent of the respondents told Skoda that returning to their car in damp cycling kit was a major downside of riding, which is why the Karoq Velo features in an integrated spin cycle washing machine.

Thirty-one percent said mechanical issues were a headache, so Skoda created a full tool kit and the equipment required to facilitate rapid puncture repairs.

Cleverly, the Karoq Velo has enough room for three bikes – two on the roof and one inside – with space for three passengers. Once inside, the cyclists can use the Karoq’s wifi hotspot to upload footage of their gruelling ride to YouTube.

Skoda Karoq Velo inside

Sadly, the Karoq Velo is not available for sale, which is shame, as we know of at least one person who would be first in the queue for the ‘perfect cycling support vehicle’. Motoring Research MD Richard Aucock is our resident cycling expert.

You can check out the Skoda Karoq Velo in full courtesy of this video featuring Keira McVitty and Laura Scott.

Skoda says that it “remains a one-off concept car for now”, which leaves the door slightly ajar for a future production version. 

Unlike the majority of concept cars, we think the Karoq Velo would garner enough interest to make it a viable prospect, especially given the fact that 1.7 million Brits cycle every day.

The only thing we’d change is the car. Give the Skoda Superb the full Velo makeover and you could pretend to be driving a fully-staffed race support team car. Where do we sign? Or rather, where does Richard sign?

Skoda Octavia VRS by ABT is a 290hp Golf R fighter

Skoda Octavia VRS

Volkswagen Group tuner ABT has got its hands on the practical Skoda Octavia VRS. And the result is a 290hp Golf R fighter…

Turning the Octavia VRS up to 290

Skoda Octavia VRS

A new ECU is behind the power increase from 255hp to 290hp. Torque is also improved, from 273lb ft to 302lb ft.

The 184hp diesel VRS can be boosted to 210hp, with torque up from 280lb ft to 310lb ft. 

“Our auxiliary ABT Engine Control unit adds an extra 45hp to the already quite potent Octavia,” explains CEO Hans-Jürgen Abt. “This allows it to stand up even to much larger vehicles on the freeway.”

As for performance figures, nothing is stated. But with 290hp in your all-wheel-drive Octavia, you’ll be gnashing at the heels of Volkswagen Golf Rs and Seat Leon Cupras.

Putting the hammer down

ABT Skoda Octavia VRS

Extra performance is all well and good, but power corrupts. To prevent that, ABT offers suspension springs to lower the car by 25mm at the front and 30mm at the rear.

An optional ABT anti-roll bar shore ups the dynamics of the VRS still further.

Mouth to match the trousers

 Skoda Octavia VRS

It’s rare one gets a performance upgrade without some visual cues, so you can fit your VRS with ABT wheels.

Three options are available, with two in 18- and 19-inch versions, and a third in 20-inch size. The latter is probably only for those with a sturdy spine…

Delivering online purchases to the boot of a Skoda Scala

Skoda trials online deliveries to your car boot

Delivering online purchases to the boot of a Skoda ScalaSkoda is piloting a new scheme that allows online purchases to be delivered to the boot of a car. All the courier needs is the car’s location and number plate.

The trial is being run by the Skoda DigiLab innovation division, which is assessing the remote access technology required to give couriers access to owners’ car boots.

Skoda stresses it is building in ‘stringent’ data encryption and access management, to ‘guarantee security’ for car owners. Its trials are being conducted with two of the biggest online retailers in the Czech Republic, alaz.cz and roklik.ch.

Skoda delivery app

Jarmila Plachá, head of Skoda Auto DigiLab, said: “This pilot project provides a concrete look ahead at how everyday life can be made even simpler and more convenient in future by using state-of-the-art technology.

“I’m looking forward to further developing this project together with our partners.”

The firm has already expressed its desire to bring the technology to the UK in the future, if the trials are successful.

Skoda car boot deliveries: how does it work?

Skoda delivery to your car boot

Modern Skodas are now fully connected to the internet: this has enabled the new technology to be developed.

Owners grant online retailers permission to deliver packages to their car boot through a smartphone app.

Couriers receive the location of the car via GPS. Upon delivery, they are granted one-time-only secure access to open the car boot within a small time window.

They place the parcel in the boot, use the app to re-lock the vehicle, and this automatically notifies the customer that the parcel has been delivered.

Skoda says the data is fully encrypted and the courier is only able to access the vehicle within a short time frame set by the customer via the app.

The trials, which are underway now, are focused on honing both the technology and the potential service it would support. A select group of Czech Skoda owners will also get to try the tech.

Skoda Kodiaq GT

Skoda Kodiaq GT is the Czech China-only Lamborghini Urus

Skoda Kodiaq GTYes, you read that right. Skoda has unveiled sketches of a chopped Kodiaq named the GT. And in silhouette and window line, at least, we are indeed seeing elements of the 670hp Lamborghini Urus dune stormer.

It’s a preview of what Skoda calls an ‘SUV offensive’ intended to further fuel Skoda’s presence in China. Indeed, the ‘dynamic coupe version’ will only be available in China.

It will be part of a four-pronged Chinese SUV offering, joining the China-exclusive Kamiq and, of course, the Kodiaq and Karoq that we’re already familiar with.

Skoda Kodiaq GT

China is, in fact, the largest global market for the Czech marque – it accounts for one in every four built. As such, these two exclusive SUVs should go some way to continuing Skoda’s strong presence.

Ample investment is fuelling Skoda’s new model drive. As part of its Strategy 2025, the marque’s SUV portfolio, as well as alternative-drive vehicles, is receiving a hefty two-billion-euro investment.This follows the name reveal of Skoda’s forthcoming Golf rival, the Scala.

Skoda Kodiaq GT

Of course, bar its Volkswagen parentage, the twin-turbo V8 Lamborghini Urus and the Skoda Kodiaq GT are unlikely to share much. Think what you like of the sporty exhausts recessed up in the bumper in the rendering: underneath, it’ll probably be familiar Kodiaq. Expect very little beyond the usual range of four-cylinder engines, and the usual manuals and DSG transmissions.

Not that much of this is relevant anyway. As above, we’re probably not getting it in the UK. Looks like you’ll have to settle for the Urus after all.

Read more:

Skoda Vision RS

The Skoda Vision RS is the hybrid hot hatch of the future

Skoda Vision RS

Skoda’s vRS performance offshoot has produced some compelling and innovative cars over the years. The old Fabia and Octavia made a strong case for sporty diesels, for instance. Now oil-burners are out of vogue, Skoda is teasing a different kind of fast, eco-friendly future: meet the hybrid-powered Skoda Vision RS concept, debuting at the Paris Motor Show this week.

What is the Skoda Vision RS Concept?

The company says it “envisages sporty Skodas of the future” – and we certainly see potential for a hot Fabia or Rapid here. Big wheels and angular styling mark this concept out even before you clock the ‘RS’ badging and aero details. Up close, a flash of red at the rear, sporty carbon elements, a big splitter and a rear wing make it look purposeful. Jagged LED lights aren’t dissimilar from much of Skoda’s – very handsome – current range.

Inside, it’s typically very sporty and up-to-date. Bucket seats all-round are a fun feature, and the large screen and virtual dials are attractive. There’s Alcantara everywhere, plus quilted leather and ‘Skoda’ splayed out across the steering wheel, giving a very premium look. Vegan materials and recycled carbon fibre fortify the eco appeal.

Innovation under the skin

Skoda Vision RS

The Vision RS is also quite familiar in terms of styling, though. It’s certainly not the most extreme-looking machine in hothatchdom. So where’s the innovation? Under the skin, of course. It joins the 500hp Peugeot 308 concept from a couple of years ago in being a hybrid hot hatch.

Admittedly, it doesn’t pack the Peugeot’s heady punch, but a comparatively measly 245hp sure sounds a lot more realistic. Providing that power is a 150hp 1.5-litre petrol engine connected to a 75kw electric motor. It produces just 33g/km of CO2 and will go 46 miles on electricity alone.

None of this sounds beyond the realms of production possibility. It’s all stuff we’ve seen on other cars, just nothing with a performance pretence. This is a car that could be in showrooms within a year, minus some of the sillier concept garnish. Rear bucket seats, we’re looking at you…

Hybrid hot hatches on the horizon?

Skoda Vision RS

So, should we expect a hot hybrid Skoda? You could be forgiven for wondering why hybrid hot hatches haven’t come to market sooner. Electric power is proven as a viable provider of truly epic performance – see the plethora of Tesla ‘Ludicrous Mode’ videos.

Expense is likely one reason. What’s more, current hot hatches, while being fearsome performance machines, are relatively clean and efficient. A modern Golf GTI is as clean as your average hatchback from 15 years ago. No need for cleaner electric power just yet, then.

But we reckon this Skoda is evidence that hybrid hot hatches are well on their way and, truthfully, we’re as excited as we are concerned. Electric power can mean limitless torque vectoring. On the minus side, it also means lots of weight. If the Skoda packs an extra 200kg of paunch for the privilege of hybrid power, it’ll need more than 250hp to make waves.

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Volkswagen Beetle Vase [Cabrio dash]

The best car features owners didn’t know they had

Volkswagen Beetle Vase [Cabrio dash]

A survey of 2,000 UK motorists by Citnow has uncovered the 10 best-loved features owners found in their cars.

These range from interior ‘easter eggs’ that surprise and delight, to genuinely useful features that we’re surprised aren’t seen more widely.

Let’s look at the list…

Volkswagen Golf GTI: golf ball gearknob

Volkswagen Golf GTI Golf Ball Gear Shift

‘GTI’ is one of the most prestigious names in hot hatchery and by extension, one of the most revered badges on the road. Today, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is the perfect double act of genuine class-beating competency and fun throwbacks to GTIs of old. One example of the latter is the golf ball on the gearknob, which heads the list of best-loved features .

Volkswagen Beetle: flower vase

Volkswagen Beetle Vase [from above]

If you thought the golf ball shifter was a fun trinket, the Volkswagen Beetle and its dashboard vase will appeal. The ‘New Beetle’, when it arrived in 1997, aimed to distil the cultural phenomenon of the original in a contemporary package. Yes, even down to some flower power… Motoring meets botany, resulting in perhaps the weirdest feature of any car from the last 20 years. It makes number two on the list.

Vauxhall Corsa: Flexfix integrated bike rack

Vauxhall FlexFix Bike Rack

The Beetle’s vase can be best described as a gimmick that’s most useful when you’re without a place to store your pens. The Flexfix slide-out bike rack on the Corsa (available as far back as 2000) is of rather more use to more people. Clever packaging makes it third on the best-loved list.

Skoda: integrated umbrella

Skoda Superb Umbrella

This one, especially for Brits, is a no-brainer, and somthing you’ll find in both a Rolls-Royce and a Skoda Superb. The door-stored umbrella has to be a godsend whenever you park up in wet weather. The challenge is remembering that it’s tucked away there.

Mini: ambient lighting

MINI Ambient Lighting

In the coolness stakes, this is close to the top. Ambient lighting has proliferated throughout the car market, but the playful implementation in the Mini is rated one of the best-loved features by buyers.

Honda: Magic Seats

Honda Magic Seats

Heading the list of practical but not necessarily cool quirks are Honda’s ‘Magic Seats’. These flip-up rear seats, which create a floor-to-ceiling storage space, debuted on the Jazz in the early 2000s and eventually made their way onto the Civic. Unlike a lot of what’s on this list, they are a genuinely useful feature if your Jazz or Civic is thus equipped!

Mini Convertible: Openometer

MINI Openometer

Aaaaaand… we’re back to the gimmicks. It doesn’t get much sillier than the Mini Convetible’s ‘Openometer’. This gauge records the amount of time you have spent travelling with the roof down. At least you can say with the utmost certainty how much sunshine you’ve got, before deciding whether to buy another drop-top.

Nissan: curry hook

Nissan Curry Hook

As unknown features go, this is about as middle-of-the-road as they get. How many cars do you know of with a hook specifically for takeaways? Er, none? Well, there is one. From 1996, the Nissan Almera came equipped with this feature, which you can now find in the boots of many new cars.

Renault Modus: Boot Chute

Renault Modus Boot Chute

This is a feature that was absolutely infamous at the time, mostly among journalists. The boot chute is one of those great ideas that simply didn’t catch on (the name surely didn’t help, although this was, remember, the company that also gave us the Renault Wind).

Too close to a car or a wall behind you? Need to load shopping? No problem! The lower part of the tailgate opened to create a ‘Boot Chute’. It provided excellent access for luggage in confined spaces. Bring it back, Renault!

DS 3: perfume dispenser

DS 3 Perfume Dispenser

The last item on the list is the DS 3’s perfume dispenser. Of course, it’s not actually exclusive to the DS. Many cars are now getting integrated fragrances, but it remains a laughable hidden feature.

Or is it? Plenty of us fit our own air fresheners, so why should a built-in one seem weird? Regardless, it rounds off the top 10 hidden features that buyers love.

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NewFabiaUK

You can share the ‘fascination of Skoda’ on Twitter

NewFabiaUK

Quite frankly, you can never have enough information on Skoda, so we should be thankful that the Czech car manufacturer has launched a new Twitter account.

Going under the username @skodaautonews, the channel will deliver corporate information, model news and exclusive details from new product launches. Indeed, from today, Skoda will be tweeting from the press launch of the revised Fabia.

Jens Katemann, head of communications at Skoda said: “We want to address many target groups, including journalists, bloggers and fans, through our Twitter account @skodaautonews. Everyone can now find out about our company and get in touch with Skoda quickly and directly via Twitter.

“The Skoda Storyboard has already given the brand a strong boost in terms of branding and reputation. Now we are taking the next step and sharing the fascination of Skoda on Twitter.”

2018 Skoda Fabia

NewFabia

The revised Skoda Fabia features a new look, five trim grades, four engine options, plus hatchback and estate variants. Dealers will take your order now, with first deliveries expected in September.

Prices start from £11,160 for the entry-level 1.0-litre S model, rising to £17,950 for the 1.0-litre turbocharged DSG SE L estate. LED daytime running lights are now standard across the range, while front-assist and a multifunction trip computer are included on all models for the first time.

In the meantime, the outgoing Fabia is available with a £2,000 contribution towards your finance deposit, with repayments from £149 a month.