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Skoda’s new compact SUV could be its kingmaker

S Muralidhar | Updated on March 18, 2021

The Kushaq has been unveiled. It promises to set a new benchmark in the segment and give the brand fresh mass appeal

Skoda Auto has finally pulled the wraps off the Kushaq, its compact sports utility vehicle that is based on the MQB-AO-IN platform. Part of the India 2.0 project, the Kushaq will be the first of four vehicles to be launched using the same platform by both Skoda and Volkswagen.

The Kushaq sports a classic SUV stance and build. The front design is particularly striking and leads you on to the sharply creased, upright profile of the Kushaq with many of its sharply creased lines derived and inspired by other Skoda SUVs of the past. The 3D butterfly grille, which was featured in the Vision IN concept has almost been carried over into the Kushaq as is.

 

The headlamp design consists of an LED module behind a clear lens in the upper part for low beam and high beam, and a thin, L-shaped LED module for the daytime running lights (available from the Ambition trim level upwards). Together with the reflectors in the bumper, the rear lights featuring the Skoda-typical crystalline structures create a fresh look in the familiar C-shape. Active, Ambition, Style are the names for Kushaq’s trim variants.

The Kushaq’s dimensions give it a fairly compact footprint, but it still manages a fairly spacious cabin. At a little over 4.2 metres in length, it is set close to the competitors in the segment, but its wheelbase of 2,651mm is said to be the longest in the segment. Adding to the upright stance is the ground clearance of 188mm. The boot space offered is 375-litres. The entry trim variant will be offered with 16-inch steel rims, but the mid and top trim variants will get 16-inch and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Impressive features

The Kushaq’s cabin also has an impressive combination of new features with a fit and finish quality that could potentially set a new benchmark in the segment. The dashboard is a vertical, very SUV-like orientation with three layers visually differentiating the trim materials. The inserts and chrome surrounds that identify individual features deliver a premium finish to the cabin.

 

Depending on the trim variant, there are features like the infotainment screen (7-inch for entry or 10-inch for mid and top trim), digital climate control display and classic analog dial instrument cluster with an MID info display in the middle. The two spoke steering wheel also offers multiple controls with a unique machined aluminium scrolls for audio volume and info. Top trim variant will get a Skoda sound system with six speakers and an amplifier and subwoofer that’s been tucked away into the spare-wheel well in the boot. Multiple auto functions for sensing rain, low light etc., wireless charger, sunroof,

Two-engine options

The Kushaq will be offered with two-engine options, both TSI petrol units powering this front-wheel drive car. They include the one-litre, 3-cylinder putting out 115PS of peak power. This mill is to be offered with a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed torque converter automatic gearbox (no DSG). The other engine will be the 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder TSI engine that generates 150PS of peak power and 250Nm torque. This engine will get a 6-speed manual and a 7-speed DSG gearbox.

 

These are both fairly refined, peppy mills delivering the kind of performance we have come to expect from Skoda. We have already tested both these engines when we drove the camouflaged prototypes earlier this year. From the same drive, we can also confirm that the ride quality of the Kushaq has the potential to be segment-best. You can read the review on our website. ESC (electronic stability control) as a safety feature is standard across all variants. Active and passive safety features will include up to six airbags. The other optional extras will be tyre pressure monitoring and Hill-hold control.

Initial impressions about the Kushaq are very positive. The build quality, finish and choice of materials used are very good. Skoda will start taking orders for the Kushaq from June with the first vehicles expected to be delivered in July this year. Expect prices to range from ₹12 lakh to ₹18 lakh.

Published on March 18, 2021

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