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New Skoda tech spies on your kids when they borrow your car

Skoda geofencing tool for young drivers

Skoda has revealed new technology that lets you limit where your kids are allowed to drive.

The ‘geofencing’ function within the Skoda Connect infotainment system can also keep you updated about where young drivers are taking your car.

Skoda geofencing tool for young drivers

More than half of 17-24 year-olds rely on their parents’ cars after they’ve passed their test. Car sharing can be the best solution in financial terms, which is where the app comes in. It’s ‘ideal for when the parents are on holiday this summer and don’t want their offspring at home racking up the miles driving up and down the country,’ says Skoda.

The app will send phone notifications if the car steps outside of a ‘green area’ on the map. You can select regions on the map that are ‘green’ or ‘red’. The former is where drivers can go and the latter is where they can’t. 

Skoda reckons this spells the end of vague explanations like ‘just popping to the shops’ that previously might have resulted in unsanctioned joyrides…

Skoda Kamiq dials

Geofencing can be active on specific days and times, keeping at bay arguments about who gets the car and when.

Skoda Connect also allows you to keep an eye on fuel levels, driving data, whether the car is locked and its exact location when parked.

While the app itself is free via Apple AppStore and Google Play, the Skoda Connect online services package is an option.

New Skoda Kamiq: everything you need to know

New Skoda Kamiq

The Skoda Kamiq is the Czech company’s newest – and smallest SUV – and it sits below the Kodiaq and the Karoq in the range.

It has to face some serious rivals, such as the Renault Captur, Volkswagen T-Cross and the soon-to-be-launched Nissan Juke. But given the excellence of its larger siblings, it stands a good chance of being a smash hit.

We’re still waiting for Skoda to confirm UK specs and prices (we expect it to start from around £17,000), but in the meantime, this is what we know so far.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Kamiq is pronounced ‘Ka-Mick’.

Skoda Kamiq: sizes

New Skoda Kamiq details

At 4,241mm long, 1,793mm wide and 1,553 high (including roof rails), the Kamiq is by far the smallest SUV in the Skoda range. For context, the Renault Captur is 4,122mm long, 1,778mm wide and 1,566mm high.

The boot offers 400 litres of space, which can be extended to 1,395mm by folding down the 60:40 split rear seat. This means it’s less practical than the Scala, which offers 467 litres extending to 1,410 litres.

Skoda Kamiq: engines

Skoda Kamiq dials

Four engines are available: three petrol and one diesel, with a choice of five- and six-speed manual gearboxes and a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission.

At launch, a pair of 1.0-litre TSI petrol engines producing 95hp and 115hp will be joined by a 1.6-litre TDI producing 115hp. A more powerful 150hp 1.5-litre petrol will join the range before the end of the year.

The Kamiq offers 39mm more ground clearance than the new Scala hatchback and can be fitted with Sports Chassis Control, which lowers the ride height by 10mm.

Skoda Kamiq: specification

Skoda Kamiq interior

We don’t know the Kamiq trim levels, but they’re likely to be similar to other Skoda models, so could include S, SE, SE Technology and SE L.

Some models will get split LED headlights with daytime running lights above (a Skoda first), while cars with full LED lights will get dynamic front and rear indicators. A panoramic roof will be optional.

Other options include a 10.25-inch virtual cockpit, a heated windscreen and steering wheel, an electric tailgate and a retractable tow bar. Standard features should include manual air conditioning, DAB radio, 16-inch alloy wheels and a 6.5-inch infotainment screen.

Skoda Kamiq: prices

Skoda Kamiq Apple CarPlay

Right now, this is the great unknown. The Volkswagen T-Cross starts from £16,995, so we’d expect the entry-level Kamiq to follow suit. Most buyers will opt for the SE model with the more powerful 1.0-litre engine, which should come in just shy of £20,000.

Skoda Kamiq: what else do we need to know

Skoda Kamiq infotainment

Skoda doesn’t make a bad car. Each one offers great value for money and is loaded with neat features. The Kamiq will be no exception.

Skoda is promising a range of ‘Simply Clever’ features, such as door-edge protection, a tip-to-close electric tailgate, a removable LED torch, an integrated funnel in the lid of the windscreen washer tank and, of course, an umbrella.

We’ll bring you full details of prices and specifications as soon as they’re announced, along with driving impressions when we’ve driven the car in the UK.

Line of duty: new Skoda Scala joins police force

Skoda Scala now available to Police and other services

The police and other emergency services can now place orders for the Skoda Scala hatchback.

The Scala is the latest model to join Skoda’s ‘blue-light line-up’. The larger Octavia, along with the Karoq and Kodiaq SUVs, feature prominently in existing emergency fleets.

The fully-converted Scala comes with a range of gear that readies it for service. LED signal lights let everyone know the Skoda is in pursuit, as does a 100-amp three-tone siren.

Skoda Scala now available to Police and other services

Built-in active safety features such as blind-spot detection, side assist, front assist and lane assist all lend themselves to work with the services. A spacious cabin and 467-litre boot help, too.

The Scala went on sale earlier this year as a rival to the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Kia Ceed.

 

“Our partnership with emergency services teams stretches back over a century,” said Henry Williams, head of fleet at Skoda.

“It’s that extensive knowledge in the sector that makes Skoda a reliable partner for both technologically advanced cars and value for money, and Scala, our most connected car to date, more than fits the bill.”

Read more:

2019 Skoda Scala 1.5 DSG review: reality Czech

Skoda Scala review

The Skoda Scala is here to tempt you away from a Ford Focus, Hyundai i30 or even a Volkswagen Golf. Can it stand out in such a congested sector?

The Scala is the underdog in Volkswagen Group’s family of mid-size hatchbacks. Next to the premium Audi A3, dependable Volkswagen Golf and sporty Seat Leon, it’s the cheapest of the set.

It starts from £16,595 for the entry-level ’S’ model, although the savings are more ‘premium bond’ than ‘lottery win’ once you reach a desirable spec. The ‘S’ isn’t available yet, anyway.

The Scala is handsome car with its fair share of double-take visual quirks. The way the black roof slopes down to end atop the number plate is neat. The lighting is a sleek and classy affair, too.

Inside, the cabin is familiar as you might expect, although the dashboard is distinctive enough to avoid VW Group déjà vu. It’s certainly a step on from the old Rapid, but remains a bit bland.

The tablet-style touchscreen has a more premium look than some German executive cars with a similar setup. As standard, you get a 6.5-inch display, but SE specification is worth the upgrade for the eight-inch version. Stepping up to SE-L brings a nine-inch screen with sat-nav and digital dials (pictured below).

The interface has slightly aged, hand-me-down Golf visuals, but is intuitive and responsive. MR’s Richard Aucock did experience a few system crashes, though, so it’s not perfect.

The Scala’s cabin is spacious and easy to see out of. Its rear seats will accommodate two adults with ease, although three might feel a little cramped. The broad boot holds 467 litres.

Skoda Scala review

Quality is better than most rivals at this price, and not too far off its premium Group-mates. There are plenty of soft-touch plastics and it feels well made.

Fire up the Scala – with a traditional key – and the 1.5-litre TSI thrums into life. Our car came with the automatic gearbox, so a smooth glide into D set us on our way.

A ride out to Kings Lynn from the Suffolk border to see The Lion King is exactly the sort of journey a family hatch like the Scala should excel at. We saw more than 50mpg from the little TSI petrol motor on the run. Who misses diesel?

Skoda Scala reviewIts performance is more kitten than big cat, but those keen for more can wait for the forthcoming vRS version.

The Scala could swap between ratios with a little more grace and its automatic gearbox is easy to confuse at lower speeds. It even juddered like it had a slipping clutch, on multiple occasions. Not so ‘Simply Clever’, then.

There are no steering wheel paddles, but a bump of the shifter to the left allows you shift gears manually. 

Skoda Scala review

Also irritating was the lane-assist steering system. For reasons unknown, it would bleep, rumble and flash as if we were driving ‘hands-off’. This happened unprompted on multiple occasions.

In terms of handling, the Scala is inoffensive, but the Mazda 3 and Ford Focus are possessed of more poise. The ride is exceptional, though. Small wheels and soft suspension make it refreshingly doughy.

Body-roll that sees the door handles reaching for the tarmac is a side effect to note, so beware when transiting kids with tummies full of popcorn.

Skoda Scala review

Overall, the Scala makes a good go of being a practical and well-equipped family car. It’s a little rough around the edges, though, and not as affordable as you might hope

Indeed, climb the Scala ladder and the price gets very Golf-ish. Ours topped £20,000. Go for the six-speed manual gearbox and a petrol engine and it’s a fine little car. But it doesn’t stand out.

Skoda Scala review

2019 Skoda Scala 1.5 DSG: specification

Price: From £16,595 (£20,000+ as tested)

Engine: Four cylinders, 1,498cc turbocharged, petrol

Transmission: Seven-speed, dual-clutch auto

Power: 150hp @ 5,000rpm

Torque: 184lb ft @1,500rpm

0-62mph: 8.2 seconds

Top speed: 136mph

Fuel economy: 40.9-45.6mpg (50+ as tested)

CO2 emissions: TBC

Boot space: 467 litres

Kerb weight: 1,200kg

Verdict: 3.5 stars

Skoda offers £1,000 off SUVs in summer deal

Summer Skoda SUV offer

Fancy a Skoda Kodiaq or Karoq? The company’s summer SUV event could save you £1,000 off the purchase price.

All Kodiaq and Karoq models are included, with the exception of SE Technology variants. With the saving, buyers can drive home an entry-level Karoq for £20,945, or a Kodiaq for £24,775.

Those signing up for PCP finance will also get a £2,000 contribution towards a Kodiaq, £1,950 towards a diesel Karoq and £1,250 for a petrol Karoq.

Summer Skoda SUV offer

Skoda will also offer 15 percent off accessories like roof boxes, bike carriers and boot mats for the duration of the deal, which runs between 25 July and 7 August.

Skoda introduced the Kodiaq as its first SUV less than three years ago, but has since added the smaller Karoq.

A supermini-sized Kamiq SUV is due to join the line-up before the end of the year.

Parents drive an extra 1,648 miles a year for their kids

Parents drive an extra 1,648 miles a year for their kids

Parents are driving approximately 1,648 additional miles a year ferrying their children around. That’s according to a study conducted by Skoda.

Mums and dads in Northern Ireland appear to be the hardest working parents, racking up a total of 2,142 miles a year. That’s an average of 41.19 miles a week.

Dropping the children off to see friends is the most common reason for travel (42 percent), followed by birthday parties (40 percent), sporting activities (36 percent) and swimming (34 percent).

Six percent of the 1,723 parents surveyed said they provided a lift for their children for no particular reason.

Nearly half of the respondents admitted to using the time in the car to catch up with their children, while 44 percent are pleased to do the extra miles as it means their kids are out doing things.

Mum and dad taxi

Skoda Parent Taxi app

Skoda reckons this ‘unpaid taxi service’ is an excuse to encourage the kids to do a little extra work around the house, which is why it has launched the ‘Parent Taxi’ app.

The smartphone app works like a real taxi meter, allowing parents to exchange miles for chores, such as cleaning the car, feeding the dog, tidying the bedroom or doing the washing up.

The app tracks the car journey via GPS, with parents able to set how many miles equate to a single chore. 

You know, like one mile for washing up. Two miles for drying up. Three for feeding the cat. Four for repointing the chimney. Five for grouting the bathroom. Six for laying a new patio. That kind of thing.

Children tidying bedroom

The driver can share the journey details to their offspring’s smartphone, with the option to share the details on social media. Because the world needs more needless info on its social channels.

Does the app seem a little harsh? After all, parents should be responsible for their children, and driving them to and from sporting activities is part of their parental duties.

What’s next, an app that calculates how much time a parent spends watching their child from the sidelines on a Saturday morning? An app for time spent changing a nappy?

As for the chores, unplugging the wi-fi router normally gets things done… 

‘The app I’ve been waiting for’

Using the Skoda Parent Taxi app

A delighted mummy blogger, Jo Middleton, said: “This is the app I’ve been waiting for!

“It’s true that kids generally have a better social life than adults and as result that can mean a lot of car journeys each week.

“Although I love encouraging them to get out and do more, I think it’s a great idea to swap miles for some help around the house in return.”

Average additional miles driven by parents in a year

RegionMiles travelled
Northern Ireland2,142
London1,789
South West1,760
Scotland1,759
East Midlands1,654
Wales1,635
East Anglia1,550
North West1,515
North East1,481
Yorkshire and the Humber1,425
West Midlands1,399

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?