Skoda reveals production-ready Kushaq SUV for India

by Soham Thakur, Autocar India 18 Mar 2021


Czech carmaker Skoda today held the global premiere of the Kushaq midsized SUV, which stays true to the styling design of the the Skoda Vision IN Concept, which was first revealed at the Auto Expo 2020. 

The medium-sized SUV and the first model to arrive from the Volkswagen Group’s India 2.0 project, has dynamic and muscular looks, while the focus inside the car is on generous space and comfort and convenience for the occupants. The Kushaq’s design has come out of the Czech carmaker’s new Indian design studio headed by Caroline Liehr, from the Colour & Trim department at Skoda Auto.

According to Skoda, bookings for the Skoda Kushaq will begin from June 2021 with the first Kushaqs to be delivered in July. As part of the India 2.0 project, a total of four new MQB-A0-IN-based Skoda and Volkswagen vehicles will be launched – an SUV and a notchback for each brand – and all in the A0 segment. In order to achieve the best possible level of localisation in India, ŠKODA has set up a new MQB production line at its Pune plant. Most of the development is taking place at the new technology centre, also in Pune, which the Czech carmaker opened in January 2019.

Design and styling
The exterior design of the production-spec Skoda Kushaq remains quite similar to the Vision IN concept. Up front, it features a prominent and wide Skoda grille flanked by a dual-headlight set-up. The Kushaq’s front bumper has plenty of cuts and creases, which makes it look sporty.

Along the sides, there’s a bold character line, along with body cladding on the lower parts of the doors and around the wheel wells. Top-spec versions also get roof rails and the 17-inch diamond-cut dual-tone alloys look sporty as well.

At the rear, the production-spec Kushaq gets a roof spoiler and a faux diffuser element that’s finished in silver. There are also wraparound LED tail-lights that add to the sense of width of the SUV. Overall, the Kushaq looks similar to larger Skoda SUVs such as the Kodiaq and the Karoq.

The Kushaq is 4,225mm long, 1,760mm wide, and has a height of 1,612mm. It also has a ground clearance of 188mm, a wheelbase that is 2,651mm long and a 385-litre boot that can expand up to 1,405 litres. Skoda will offer five colour options - Candy White, Brilliant Silver, Carbon Steel, Honey Orange, Tornedo Red.

Skoda says that out of the three trims available with the Kushaq, only the top-spec Style variant will get the aforementioned 17-inch alloy wheels, while the entry-level Active variant will get 16-inch steel wheels with covers. The mid-spec Ambition trim will come with 16-inch alloy wheels. 

The inside story
The Kushaq gets a layered dashboard with a thin chrome bar that separates the top from the bottom. The chrome bar spans the length of the dash and connects the large, chrome-lined vents at each end.

A free-standing, 10-inch touchscreen, which will feature smartphone connectivity, connected car technology and more, takes centre stage. The central AC vents are positioned below the touchscreen, under which, are the feather-touch HVAC controls. Interestingly, the “crystalline element” that was placed atop the dash on the Vision IN concept is not present on the production model.

The steering wheel on the production-spec Kushaq is a two-spoke unit, in line with newer Skoda models like the Superb and the upcoming Octavia. The steering wheel features knurled scroll wheels and buttons for audio and phone controls, voice commands and cruise control. The Kushaq also gets Skoda’s Virtual cockpit – a customisable, 10-inch digital instrument cluster that displays the navigation and all driving information.

There are also twin cup holders, a centre armrest and multiple storage areas in the cabin. A wireless charger is available as well, positioned in front of the gear lever.

Other kit includes 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, 1and the my Skoda connect app.

Safety features on the top-spec Kushaq will include six airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounts, auto headlamps and wipers, and a multi-collision braking system. 

Engine and platform details
The Skoda Kushaq comes with two engine options – a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol. The 1.0-litre TSI puts out 110hp and comes with 6-speed manual and torque convertor auto gearbox options. The 1.5-litre TSI unit, meanwhile, puts out a healthy 150hp and will be available with a 6-speed manual and a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic option. Both engines will be produced at Skoda's Chakan plant.

The Skoda Kushaq is based on the India-specific MQB-A0-IN platform – which will be shared with the Volkswagen Taigun  and the replacements for the VW Vento and Skoda Rapid.

Expected price and rivals
Due to the 95 percent localisation of parts and the sharing of essential components with other models, expect the Skoda Kushaq to be priced competitively, in the Rs 10-16 lakh (ex-showroom) range. Skoda is expected to announce prices for the Kushaq in the coming weeks.

In terms of rivals, the Skoda Kushaq will compete against the upcoming Volkswagen Taigun, the Kia Seltos, the Hyundai Creta, the Nissan Kicks, the MG Hector and the Tata Harrier.

Vision India 2.0
One of the main objectives of vision India 2.0 of Skoda was to capture 5 percent market share by 2025. This was kick started by the global unveiling of Skoda's Kushaq in India. The vehicle is based on the India-specific MQB-A0-IN platform. It will be available in five different colours : Candy White, Brilliant Silver, Carbon Steel, Honey Orange and Tornado Red.

Around 1,500,000 km of testing was done on the prototype. Zac Hollis, Brand Director, Skoda Auto India, said, "We aim to sell around 1,00,000 Skoda cars in India by 2025 and the Kushaq is the beginning of that excitement journey."

At the unveiling, Thomas Schafer, CEO, Skoda Auto said that around one million Skoda vehicles were delivered worldwide in 2020. "We are expanding, exploring and engaging. India offers a huge opportunity for us," he added.