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Indians have always loved SUVs. Even those who cannot afford one at the moment aspire to own one someday, and the manufacturers know this all too well. The Kia Seltos, Hyundai Creta, Renault Duster, MG Hector, and Tata Harrier all compete in the same segment. It is quite clearly the hottest segment in India and it was only a matter of time before the Europeans came into the picture.
Skoda has been one of the few European brands that understood the Indian market well. The Czech auto giant has in the past and present launched several products that connected well with Indian buyers. It doesn't seem to end at the past and present but Skoda might have some brilliant aces up its sleeve for the future as well.
This – the Skoda Kushaq – is proof of the pudding. Skoda seems to have made it perfectly to match what the segment needs and we got our hands on the new SUV. "Does it have what it takes to unsettle the competition? How does it drive? Will it be value for money?" are some of the questions we had in mind when we took the Kushaq for a drive. Read this Skoda Kushaq review to know the answers.
Design & Style
In terms of design and styling, the Skoda Kushaq perfectly embodies the Skoda genes in a mid-size SUV package. Taking prominence up front is the signature Skoda butterfly grille, flanked by sleek headlamps with LED DRLs. The fog lamps have been positioned under the headlamp, in the bumper.
The front bumper is muscular and gives the Kushaq a rather bold stance. It gets some honeycomb elements along with plastic cladding and a faux bash plate. Moving over to the side, the classy 17-inch alloy wheels grab one's attention immediately. The dual-tone alloy wheels get a brushed finish on the outside with glossy gun-metal grey towards the inside.
Even the door handles get this dual-tone finish and just adds to the fantastic design. The front quarter panels get a classy Skoda badging finished in Piano Black and the dual-tone ORVMs have indicators integrated into them. Towards the rear, the Skoda Kushaq gets a very short overhang that is in some ways reminiscent of the good ol' Skoda Yeti.
At the rear, the Skoda Kushaq comes with a thoroughly modern design, complete with split tail lamps. The reflectors on both sides of the SUV are connected by a chrome strip that runs along the width of the tailgate. The chunky rear bumper is complete with a faux bash plate.
The Skoda Kushaq is the first product to take birth from the India 2.0 strategy adopted by Volkswagen and Skoda in India. We quite like the design that it carries and we expect further models from Skoda to carry forward a similar design language.
Cockpit & Interiors
Tug on the chunky door handles and swing the door open wide and you are greeted by an almost bland, but classy interior. There is none of the fancy contrasting colours offered by the Kushaq's rivals. It is a dual-tone interior with Black and Grey being the primary colours all across.
The grey bit on all the seats is perforated which allows for better breathability while the front seats are ventilated. The dashboard primarily uses grey plastics with brushed aluminium finishes on certain panels. It even gets a honeycomb-like material that surrounds the infotainment screen. The centre-console trim is finished in Piano Black.
Taking centre-stage on the dashboard is a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It is loaded with features like in-built navigation and can connect to your smartphone through the Skoda Play App, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and even gets the wireless SMARTLINK connectivity suite.
Using this system is a breeze and the touch sensitivity is great. The screen does not pick up any accidental touches, while driving and many of its functions can be controlled via the steering-mounted controls. The sound reproduction through the six ‘Skoda Sound' speakers and a subwoofer is rather good.
Instrumentation is handled by an analogue-digital cluster. The TFT screen displays lots of vehicle-related information including range, outside temperature, trip meters, odometer, etc. It is flanked by the tachometer and engine temperature gauge to the left and the speedometer and fuel gauge to the right.
Below the infotainment screen are the centre AC vents and below that are the controls for the climate control. Most of the controls are haptic-touch-oriented and this gives it a rather premium feel. Skoda has equipped the Kushaq with a wireless smartphone charging dock.
Moving to the rear seat, the comfort quotient is further enhanced. The Kushaq comes with rear AC vents and two USB ports underneath it for mobile phone charging. It also gets a fold-down armrest with cupholders.
Comfort, Practicality & Boot Space
Seating its occupants in comfort has always been the forte of Skoda's cars. The Skoda Kushaq is no different in this regard. The front seats are quite sporty and get good lumbar support, lateral support, and even thigh support.
The seats hold the driver and front passenger in place even through hard cornering. The front seats are ventilated and cooled. It gets two settings for ventilation
The comfort is further elevated at the rear. The Skoda Kushaq has great head room, knee room and leg room. The rear seats are also sporty and seat the passengers in comfort. The comfort quotient is definitely class-leading.
The Skoda Kushaq comes with an electric sunroof, and this certainly adds to the airy feel inside the carbon and makes it feel roomier than it really is.
Engine Performance & Driving Impressions
The Skoda Kushaq is available with two engine options in the Indian market. They are petrol engines and both of them are turbocharged. The lower-spec model is powered by a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine while the top-of-the line model gets the more powerful 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine.
The variant with the 1.5-litre engine puts out 147.5bhp at 6,000rpm and a 250Nm at 3,500rpm. Buyers can choose between a 6-Speed manual gearbox and a 7-Speed DSG for transmission duties.
The 1.0-litre engine on the other hand has a maximum power output of 114bhp at 5,500rpm and a peak torque output of 175Nm at 1,750rpm. It is available with a 6-Speed Manual or a 6-Speed automatic gearbox. This is the variant we got to drive.
Initially, we were sceptical of the small engine and its performance, but the Kushaq proved us wrong real quick. Power delivery is smooth initially but the boost kicks in at around 2,200rpm. This is where the Skoda Kushaq turns into a fun-to-drive SUV. The car has a strong midrange between 2,200rpm and 4,800 rpm.
The two-spoke steering wheel has been taken straight from the Octavia and looks fancy. The steering response is great and reacts quickly to every input. The steering feels light at lower speeds and slightly heavier at high speeds.
Suspension is on the softer side, but feels slightly harder than the other cars in its segment. This results in good handling prowess. The SUV can cut through corners at speed, but it will start to lose grip because of the body roll at very high speeds.
The brakes feel good and are powerful enough to keep the car in control irrespective of the speed. The Skoda Kushaq gets disc brakes up front and drum brakes at the rear. Though the braking was powerful, we did end up wishing for disc brakes at the rear too.
In terms of fuel efficiency, the Skoda Kushaq returned around 8.5 to 11.6km/l in the urban jungle. We couldn't really test it out on the highway but it should be in the range of around 14-16km/h at cruising speeds. Stay tuned for our detailed road test review for the actual figures.
Safety & Key Features
The Koda Kushaq is one of the safest cars in its segment. Like all other modern Skoda cars, the Czech company has loaded the Kushaq with top-notch safety features. It also gets a fairly long list of key features that increase convenience.
- ABS with EBD
- Electronic Stability Control
- 6 Airbags
- Rear Parking Camera
- Multi-Collision Brake
- Electric sunroof
- 6-Speaker Skoda Soundaudio system
- 10-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
The Skoda Kushaq is sold in three trim levels.
- Tornado Red Metallic
- Candy White
- Carbon Steel Metallic
- Honey Orange Metallic
We drove the top-spec Style trim in the Candy White shade. However, we did find ourselves wishing for the Tornado Red Metallic or Honey Orange Metallic shades as these colours are really attractive.
Skoda Kushaq Prices:
Variants & Pricing
|1.0L TSI 6 MT||Rs 10.49 Lakh||Rs 12.79 Lakh||Rs 14.59 Lakh|
|1.0L TSI 6AT||NA||Rs 14.19 Lakh||Rs 15.79 Lakh|
|1.5L TSI 6 MT||NA||NA||Rs 16.19 Lakh|
|1.5L TSI 7 DSG||NA||NA||Rs 17.59 Lakh|
All prices mentioned are ex-showroom (India)
Competitors & Fact Check
As aforementioned, the Skoda Kushaq will be entering one of the most competitive segments in the Indian market. The Skoda Kushaq's primary rivals are the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos, until the Volkswagen Taigun is launched in India.
|Specifications||Skoda Kushaq||Hyundai Creta||Kia Seltos|
|Engine||1.0-litre Turbo Petrol / 1.5-litre Turbo Petrol||1.5-litre Petrol / 1.5-litre Turbo-Diesel / 1.4-litre Turbo-Petrol||1.5-litre Petrol / 1.5-litre Turbo-Diesel / 1.4-litre Turbo Petrol|
|Power||114bhp / 147.5bhp||113.4bhp / 113.4bhp / 140bhp||113.4bhp / 113.4bhp / 140bhp|
|Torque||175Nm / 250Nm||144Nm / 250Nm / 242.2Nm||144Nm / 250Nm / 242.2Nm|
|Transmission||6-Speed Manual / 6-Speed Automatic / 7-Speed DSG||6-Speed Manual / iVT / 6-Speed Automatic / 7-Speed DCT||6-Speed Manual / CVT / 6-Speed iMT / 6-Speed Automatic / 7-Speed DCT|
|Prices||To Be Announced||Rs 9.99 lakh to Rs 17.70 lakh||Rs 9.95 lakh to Rs 17.65 lakh|
The Kushaq is the least-expensive SUV that Skdoa has ever sold in India. Skoda is a brand that has managed to give Indian buyers just what they need, and continues to do so with the new Kushaq. It has just the right amount of everything.
Yes, the Hyundai Creta and Kia Sonet offer more options and flexibility with a never-ending list of features. However, the Skoda offers better build quality, and an overall greater premium appeal. Also, it feels better to drive and offers more comfort as well. As a car, it definitely feels better than the competition.
If Skoda gets the pricing right, the Kushaq definitely has what it takes to make it into the top 10 best selling cars in India.
Written by Stephen Neil; Reviewed by Promeet Ghosh