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The Indian consumer is King for the Kushaq

S. Muralidhar | Updated on June 17, 2021

Local influences like patterns from Kalamkari paintings and other buyer preferences gave shape to the compact Skoda SUV

Skoda Auto is speeding through the final stages of rolling out the new Kushaq, its compact sports utility vehicle. Likely to be officially launched into the market later this month, this is one model that Skoda is banking on for raking in the volumes over the next few months. In the run up to the Kushaq’s arrival into showrooms, Skoda has smartly rekindled the interest in the brand by launching the new Octavia — the vehicle that really made it a household name in the Indian market.

The Kushaq is built on the Volkswagen group shared platform code named MQB-AO-IN, which has been locally developed and will form the basis for many more models to roll out sporting both Skoda and Volkswagen logos. The Kushaq is expected to roll out with a localisation level of 95 per cent and Skoda has spared no efforts at making this as India-centric as it can get. Starting from the design, the model’s development and production has focused on delivering for Indian tastes and preferences. To get a deeper understanding of the Kushaq’s design and the Indian influences that shaped its features, we chatted up Oliver Stefani, Chief Designer, Skoda Auto. Here are a few pointers from the discussion.

The Kushaq has been primarily designed for the Indian market and the target segment is the local buyers for premium compact SUVs. According to Oliver, that is one of the reasons why the design team took on the liberty to create a more aggressive fascia compared to Skoda models that may be focused on design sensibilities prevalent in European markets. The choice of body colours and quite a few of the exterior contours have similarly been influenced by customer expectations in India.

Skoda design philosophy

The Skoda designer says that they have tried to bring an amalgam of Skoda design that is influenced both by the Czech Republic and its local flavours, and at the same time also incorporates what buyers in India will appreciate. Designers at HQ worked very closely with Indian colleagues on the design of the Kushaq.

He says “Skoda design is about functionality and that is reflected in the new model. Simplicity is also one of the key metrics we look at, which is why the daylight opening (window line) is clean with a lot of symmetry. We wanted to make the Kushaq look robust to make it stand out with meaning in the competitive Indian traffic scenario.”

On the bonnet, for example, it has the typical Skoda power dome with the Skoda logo at the edge, but “we also gave the lid edge a chamfer that lends it a more mature, robust front design.”

More curves on either side of the power dome, give the bonnet character with a play of light and shadow. The typical Skoda grille has also been made more elegant with a chrome frame to give it modernity. The slim LED headlamps join into the grille and together with the four lights combo deliver the same modern day design. The dual coloured element in the front fender gives off a SUV flavour.

The Kushaq is very compact, yet its proportions are meant to deliver a pleasing combination of footprint and space. The body sides have been designed with lines and edges that are meant to deliver a 3-dimensional image, again with the intent to improve perceived size. The wheel arches and the pulled out wheels give it the stance and robust SUV design flavour. The alloy wheels have also been specially developed for the Kushaq. They are more technical with a design that was chosen to visually deliver a larger size impact.

The rear is dominated by the pair of two-piece tail-lights, which are elongated and combine with the fog lights and reflectors to deliver the brand typical C-shaped light signature. The details within the light enclosures also show off a crystalline structure that has been brought forward from the show car. The lamp design and the fender layering give the rear of the Kushaq a wider appearance. The overall effect of the colours and elements boost the SUV design of the model.


The cabin design focused on balance and symmetry. The Skoda wing design can be seen in the dashboard edge design with the screen on the centre stack dividing the left and right sections. In fact, the screen is not driver-focused to preserve the symmetry of the layout. This also enables all the occupants of car to view the screen with the same level of visibility. The air vents are special for this car; they stretch and improve the width of the cabin. The steering wheel is now a two-spoke unit with rotary knobs that are meant to improve hold and access to critical functions.

Skoda DNA in trim concept

Longevity and durability are two factors that seem to have influenced the trim and colour concept for the Kushaq. The colours and shapes of India, including from Kalamkari art, are said to have influenced some of the choices.

For example, in the cabin, the dashboard sports a hexagonal 3D structure; this trim extends into the door panels. The geometric pattern is said to be a homage to the craftsmen and artisans of India.

Three trim variants will be available with specific decor and upholstery options. The Active trim variant with a structured decor parts with Skoda lettering on the dash. The seats feature a herringbone design with textile upholstery. The Ambition variant features matt paint and branding. The seat features cloth upholstery and a sporty centre stripe. Accessories are available if buyers want to customise their seat covers. The top-end Style variant offers perforated seat covers in dual tones and features seat ventilation. It is a grey and black colour combination PVC seat cover that is said to be stain-resistant and durable.

Published on June 17, 2021

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