After months of anticipation, numerous spy shots and several teaser images, Skoda has finally unveiled the production-spec Kushaq compact SUV in India. The Skoda Kushaq was first previewed as the Vision IN Concept at the 2020 Auto Expo. The Kushaq is the first Skoda Auto Volkswagen India product that is underpinned by the MQB-A0-IN platform. This is a heavily localized version (with up to 95% local content) of VW Group's smallest modular platform, the MQB-A0. Price announcement of the Kushaq will take place at a later date. Let's look at it in a little more detail.
Skoda Kushaq - Exterior Design
The face of the Skoda Kushaq is characterized by a prominent and wide Skoda butterfly grille, flanked by a split-headlamp setup on either side. The bumper down below is slightly toned down from the concept, but is still very aggressive and sporty-looking. At the rear, a roof spoiler and a faux diffuser element add some sense of sportiness to the design. The wraparound LED tail lights and the reflector elements accentuate the width of the SUV.
The Kushaq comes wearing heavy body cladding all around, and the rugged-looking skid plates on the front and rear bumper further add to its SUV-appeal. It looks quite butch and truly SUV-ish with its upright bonnet and flared wheel arches. The twin five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels and roof-rails on the top-spec versions look very stylish as well.The Kushaq measures 4,225mm in length, 1,760mm in width, and 16,12 mm in height. The wheelbase measures 2,651mm, which is not only longer than the wheelbase of the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos (2,610mm), but it is also longer than even the Karoq. The boot has a storage capacity of 385-litres but can expanded up to 1,405 litres.
Skoda is offering the Kushaq in five colors - Candy White, Brilliant Silver, Carbon Steel, Honey Orange, Tornedo Red. It will be offered in three trim levels - Active , Ambition and top-spec Style trim. The entry-level Active trim will come with 16-inch steel wheels with covers. The mid-spec Ambition trim will come with 16-inch alloy wheels.
On the inside, what catches your attention immediately is the 10-inch touchscreen infotainment screen that takes center stage on the dashboard. The cabin boasts of a dual-tone black-and-white color scheme with a gloss-black finish on several surfaces, adding some visual drama. Cabin ergonomics also appear to be pretty much on point, considering all controls are positioned perfectly.The other most notable thing about the Kushaq's interior is its two-spoke steering wheel that seems to be a straight lift from the 2021 Superb. The steering wheel features knurled scroll wheels and buttons for audio and phone controls, voice commands and cruise control. If you remember the interior of the Vision IN concept, you will notice that the horizontal AC vents look pretty similar and are even connected by a silver streak running along the width of the dashboard.
As for the AC controls below the central air vents, they are touch-based units and that's a really cool touch. It should also scores well on practicality, given that there are storage spaces and cup holders on the center console and large door bins as well. A wireless charger is available as well, positioned in front of the gear lever. Top-spec trims of the Kushaq will come with Skoda's Virtual cockpit - a customizable, 10-inch digital instrument cluster that displays the navigation and all driving information.Other feature highlights on the Kushaq include ambient lighting, ventilated front seats, a cooled glove box, six speakers and a 50w subwoofer, internal memory storage, wireless Smartlink, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Type-C USB ports, and the my Skoda connect app. Safety features include six airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounts, auto headlamps and wipers, and a multi-collision braking system.
The Skoda Kushaq will be offered with two petrol engine options in India. VW Group's 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engine will be the mainstay on the Kushaq and it produces 115PS of power and 175Nm of torque. This engine will come mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission. Skoda will also be offering a larger 1.5-litre TSI turbo petrol engine that will come mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual. This engine produces 150PS and 250Nm of peak torque. This is the same engine that does duty on the Karoq and the VW T-Roc. Both of these engines are now being locally manufactured in India. There will however be no diesel engine on offer.
Skoda Kushaq - Expected Price and Rivals
Being based on the MQB-A0-IN platform, the Skoda Kushaq will be sharing its underpinning with the upcoming Volkswagen Taigun, which will also be its arch rival. It will also take on the likes of the Hyundai Creta and the Kia Seltos. Due to heavy localization and sharing of essential components with other models, Skoda should be able to position the Kushaq very aggressively in the market. We expect the prices to range between INR 10-16 lakh (ex-showroom). The Kushaq is expected to hit the market by May/June 2021.
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