How many clever interior features can you fit into one compact crossover vehicle? Well, courtesy of your regular Czech automotive purveyor of such things and the facelifted Skoda Kamiq, there’s now another one.
In addition to the list of neat storage and convenience features this car already offered (a neat little cubby box between the rear footwells with an elasticated cup-holder strap in it; smartphone-sized storage pockets high in the front seat backs; many a storage net and bag hook, and a 12-volt power socket, in the boot; and the usual parking ticket holder in the windscreen, ice-scraper in the fuel filler door, dustbin in the driver’s door pocket, and umbrella in the door cavity), the new version has a wireless device charger with a difference.
It’s cooled. Well, air conditioned, to be exact, simply in order that your phone doesn’t get slow-cooked while it’s charging, as they do in so many modern cars shortly before shutting down entirely (making the charging pad largely useless). Seems like such an obvious thing to do; and yet it’s still Skoda that can be depended upon to actually do it first.
The feature’s been added to the updated Kamiq quite late on in its mid-cycle redevelopment (and to the related Scala hatchback, reviewed overleaf, likewise), so the early-build test cars on the European test drive last week didn’t have it; but, when right-hand-drive versions arrive in the UK in six weeks’ time, it’ll be there, we’re assured. And while it’s fed by the air conditioning, it always blows cool regardless what temperature the wider blower’s set to.
The car remains one of the larger and more practical cars in the ‘B-SUV’ segment, and does a pretty tidy impression of a Golf-sized hatchback on stilts. Rivals offer more outright boot space; but the accommodation level in the second row is broadly full-size-adult-friendly, although that low storage cubby we mentioned before might make life a little uncomfortable for anyone sitting ‘turret’ in the middle – so better to think of this as a practical four-seater compact car rather than one that might just stretch to five occupants.
There was a hint of dowdiness about the pre-faceiift version’s cabin decor, which the updated one addresses via the addition of some tactile cloth dashboard trim. Skoda calls the new ambience ‘living roomy’ – and not unfairly. Trouble is, my nine-year-old lad doesn’t tend to take his football boots off in our actual living room, and then rub his sweaty socks along the soft furnishings. I’m all for a bit of premium feel – but I’m inclined to think that Skodas should primarily be functional, everyday cars; and I worry a bit how those soft cloth trims might wear and age in a family hack. Depends on the family, I guess.
The rest of the Kamiq interior, and the wider contents of the facelift, are good. All models get digital instruments now, which are nice and clear and configurable. All get a touchscreen infotainment system with wireless smartphone mirroring. And Skoda’s still sensible enough to make all of the car’s ADAS driver assistance systems easy to toggle on or off via a trip computer menu that pops straight up at the touch of a button on the steering wheel spoke.