The booming Indian SUV market has just got new competition. Skoda Auto India has launched its new Kushaq, the first product from Volkswagen Group’s India 2.0 project, priced between Rs 10.49 lakh for the base 1.0 TSI Active variant and Rs 17.59 lakh (ex-showroom) for the top-spec 1.5 TSI AT Style variant.
The Kusahq, Skoda’s first SUV based on the localised MQB A0 IN platform, was first revealed at the Auto Expo 2020 as the Skoda Vision IN Concept. It has a longer wheelbase compared to its competitors, which helps deliver generous space and comfort and convenience for the vehicle’s occupants.
The Kushaq’s design is born of the Czech carmaker’s new Indian design studio headed by Caroline Liehr, from the Colour & Trim department at Skoda Auto. It bears many elements from the Vision IN concept, and its overall style is in line with Skoda’s larger SUVs. Up front, it has Skoda’s trademark grille flanked by sleek headlights on either side and a secondary light cluster positioned just below. The Kushaq features some sharp lines and prominent creases along the body. At the rear, it has large wrap-around LED tail-lights, a faux diffuser element on the bumper, and a roof-mounted spoiler. The top-spec model also comes with a set of 17-inch alloy wheels.
Zac Hollis, Brand Director – Skoda Auto India, said: “The launch of the Kushaq is a watershed moment for Skoda Auto India as we enter one of the most exciting segments in this dynamic automotive market. The Kushaq is made keeping in mind what really matters to our customers and is localised and tailored to suit the Indian market. Built on the acclaimed MQB-A0-IN platform, the Kushaq is well designed, robust, exceptionally well-built, safe, spacious, feature laden and future-proof. We will also offer the globally renowned TSI technology across the range, empowering an optimum combination of performance, efficiency, refinement and output. With a world-class SUV that is ready for India, we are looking at taking the Skoda brand to new and emerging markets across the country.”
The inside story
The Kushaq’s cabin has a clean and minimal design, with a layered dash that has a free-standing touchscreen sitting in the middle. The SUV gets a two-spoke steering wheel (as in the new Octavia).
There’s plenty of kit on offer and the top-spec Style trim gets a large 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, connected car tech, leatherette seats, ventilated front seats, ambient lighting, touch-sensitive buttons for the climate control, in-car Wi-Fi, wireless charger, and a sunroof, to name a few. Safety kit includes six airbags, ABS with EBD, TCS, rear-parking camera, auto headlamps and wipers, a multi-collision braking system, tyre pressure monitor, and hill start assist. All variants will also come fitted with ESC as standard.
Turbo petrol power: 1.0 and 1.5-litre engines
The Kushaq is powered by two turbo-petrol engines. The first is a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder TSI unit that produces 115hp and 178Nm, and the other is a larger 1.5-litre, four-cylinder TSI unit that develops a 150hp and 250Nm. Both engines get a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard. Additionally, they also get the option of automatic gearboxes – a 6-speed torque converter for the 1.0 TSI and a 7-speed DSG for the 1.5 TSI. Additionally, the 1.5 TSI also gets cylinder deactivation technology for better fuel efficiency.
Skoda claims the 1.0 TSI version of the Kushaq can do the 0-100kph sprint in 10.6sec in manual form and 11.7sec in automatic gearbox guise. The 1.5 TSI on the other hand can do 0-100kph in 8.6sec (with both gearboxes).
Battle lines are drawn
The new Skoda Kushaq has driven into the hotly contested midsize SUV segment, where it takes on the likes of India’s best-selling SUV, the Hyundai Creta, the Kia Seltos, Nissan Kicks, MG Hector and the Tata Harrier. The Kushaq will also do battle when its sister SUV, the Volkswagen Taigun in launched in the near future.
Skoda has also begun accepting bookings for the midsize SUV via its dealerships and website, with the booking amount set at Rs 35,000. Skoda plans to penetrate deeper in the country by expanding its network to Tier 2 and 3 cities. Skoda currently has 120 sales touchpoints in 85 cities and plans to expand to 150 touchpoints by the end of 2021.
Meanwhile, along with expanding its sales and service network, the company has have announced various customer-centric initiatives. Every Kushaq comes with a 4-year/100,000km warranty, which can be extended up to 6 years/150,000km. Additionally, Skoda will also offer two years’ parts warranty, two years battery warranty, three years paint warranty, six years corrosion warranty and extended roadside assistance programs up to nine years.
(With inputs from Autocar India)