The Skoda Kushaq has been the topic of many heated debates and controversies. The majority of it is due to its premium pricing than its rivals including Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos.
While price is an important factor, less does not always equal more, as the Kushaq exemplifies. Kushaq is one of Skoda's most important product to date in the Indian car market. It is ideally prepared to compete with the most popular four-meter-plus SUVs on the market, notably the Korean pair of Seltos and Creta.
It is 4,225mm in length, which is somewhat less than the length of some other SUVs, but it has a the best wheelbase in class.
Skoda Kushaq is the first model to launch under 'India 2.0,' the reboot of Skoda's activities in India to establish a sustainable and lucrative business for the Czech carmaker. The Skoda Kushaq, with 93 percent localisation, is also the first in a series of highly localised cars created and built for Indian preferences, needs, and, most crucially, budgets.
The Kushaq is built on the Volkswagen Group's historic and proven MQB-A0 platform, which has served as the foundation for millions of small Volkswagen Group models worldwide. The Indian variant platform, dubbed the MQB-A0-IN, has a strong and stiff chassis and an expertly designed suspension system that promises class-leading dynamics.
Under the hood, there are two direct-injection, turbo-petrol, or TSI, engines. The entry-level 1.0 TSI is manufactured in India and equipped with a six-speed manual transmission and a six-speed torque converter as standard. In comparison, the 1.5 TSI is equipped with a six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed DSG or twin-clutch automatic transmission as standard.
However, even these widely acclaimed underpinnings do not ensure success, particularly in an era where the battle has moved into the cabins. That is where the Koreans are at their most formidable, so Skoda has put all it has into the Kushaq, which will be available in three trim levels: Active, Ambition, and Style. Safety is not compromised.
The top-spec Style version comes with six airbags and a slew of other active safety features, including traction control, a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, brake assistance, a Multi Collision Brake, EBC, and an electronic differential lock. Additionally, to the required anti-lock braking system (ABS), all versions have electronic stability control (ESC).
There is no compromise on the design, which is undeniably Skoda. The body has many cuts and creases, and the headlights, which have crystalline components and LED strips, peel back beautifully from the distinctive Skoda signature grille.
From the front, the Kushaq seems much bigger than it is. While the 4.2-meter-long Kushaq is not the largest SUV in its class, it does have the longest wheelbase, which, along with the low overhangs, gives it the proper proportions and stance. While the 17-inch 'Atlas' alloy wheels look stunning and quite European, generous doses of chrome everywhere provide the Indian flavor that Skoda has worked so hard to acquire.
Skoda has also elevated the Kushaq's roof in the rear, making the roof flat rather than arched, and the SUV-like upright 'C' pillar with chrome accent strikes the spot once again. Although the back is not as visually stunning as the front, the three-dimensional taillights with their crystalline structure certainly grab the eye. If there is a drawback, the taut and tightly skinned body seems to be a size down.
The modern dashboard is built with three contrasting materials that scream luxury when you enter the interior. Along with the dash, a gloss strip adds to the luxury feel. Without sacrificing functionality, the overall design is simple and beautiful. What's interesting about the inside of the Kushaq is the center console's minimal amount of buttons.
Skoda has sleek, practical, and useful interiors with Kushaq, and they have more than delivered. The spaces for storage are well-organized, including compartments for your phone and bottles. Under the centre elbow rest, there is a tag holder and even a chilled storage box.
The latest Android Auto and Apple Car Play wireless connectivity suites, as well as a wireless charger are incorporated into cubbies and front and back USB-type C fast charging connections, are available in the 10.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
The front seat in the Style version has good ventilation, which significantly improves driving comfort, particularly in humid regions. The Valet Mode, which may enable while your car is with the valet, is one of the most unusual features. Not only does it secure the infotainment system, but it also keeps a record of boot and hood unlocks, passenger door unlocks, and total kilometers traveled. The mode may deactivate by entering a four-digit secret pin.
Engine and performance
The 1.5-liter TSI engine, which produces 150hp and 250Nm of torque, is the most powerful in its class. Additionally, the Kushaq 1.5 is the quickest car when equipped with a quick-shifting 7-speed twin-clutch DSG transmission. It sprints from rest to 100kph in 9.54 seconds, making it faster than the Creta and Seltos. It accelerates quickly from the rest, and the sharp upshifts stitch together an almost continuous surge of power.
The VW DSG is impressive, although it could be a little more refined. When you need to slow down, the DSG hesitates somewhat, and the engine rpm jumps slightly before the clutch fully engages. The 1.5-liter engine is smooth, although it becomes a little noisy at redline, which is more a result of the car's general sound insulation, which could have been better. You will also hear road noise on a coarse surface, as well as a considerable amount of wind noise at high speeds.
There is no doubt that the price will play a significant role in Kushaq's success in India. Skoda has placed a large bet on the success of this SUV, which most likely implies that the company's bean counters have pushed to the limit to ensure that the car has a solid value proposition. Although based on our first impressions, the Kushaq has an ample amount of features and segment-leading performance and handling. Skoda Kushaq makes a good case for those seeking a practical SUV with excellent performance.