New Skoda compact SUV will be based on Kushaq

The compact SUV will be based on the MQB A0-IN platform that forms the backbone of Skoda and VW in India.

By Shapur Kotwal, Autocar India calendar 27 Feb 2024 Views icon3802 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
 New Skoda compact SUV will be based on Kushaq

It’s official, Skoda will go ahead with the introduction of its compact SUV in India. Expected to hit showrooms a year from now, Skoda says March 2025, the compact SUV will be based on the MQB A0-IN platform that forms the backbone of Skoda and VW in India, sharing many of its aggregates and sub-systems. The brand has also released a teaser of the SUV, showing something of its design, and is holding a poll on which name it should choose for the upcoming model. The names currently in the running for Skoda's compact SUV include the Kwiq, Kymaq, Kylaq, Kariq, and Kyroq.

Getting into the sub-4m segment will not only help Skoda address a larger customer base, the excise cut will also help Skoda align price, size, content and features with the expectations of Indian car buyers. This could potentially take Skoda directly into the mainstream. Let’s not forget that the Slavia and its sister car the VW Virtus have already shown how competitive Skoda and VW can be when they have parity in size, spec and features. Once on par in these important metrics Skoda can also drive home advantages like high safety levels, high-quality chassis construction, and greater mechanical sophistication.   

 

Skoda Compact SUV: Compact engineering

Skoda’s Kushaq is the most compact of the midsize SUVs on sale in India. While the Hyundai Creta stretches the tape at 4.33 metres in length, Skoda's Kushaq measures only 4.22 metres. This puts the Kushaq at something of a disadvantage when it comes to midsize SUVs for size and space on the inside. 

When it comes to converting it into a compact SUV, the Kushaq starts off with an advantage. To begin with the Kushaq only needs to be shrunk by 22cm to slip under the sub-four-metre length. A fair amount of this reduction is likely to come by compacting the nose. This is relatively easy as the nose of the Kushaq has been fleshed out to make it look larger and more SUV-like for India. Skoda is even likely to alter the wheelbase, which means the compact SUV's wheelbase will mostly be shorter than the Kushaq's 2,651mm-long one. 

Where Skoda has also reduced costs is in the re-profiling of the door skins – unlike those on the Kushaq and Slavia, the new compact SUV will have no stylistic and expensive-to-produce creases and folds. In fact, every single body panel on the compact SUV – from the bumpers and bonnet, to the fenders and the boot – are likely to be very different. 

Skoda Compact SUV: engine and gearbox 

Skoda’s compact SUV will also use familiar mechanical aggregates. The engine, of course, is the 1.0 TSI unit. The award-winning three-cylinder, direct-injection, turbo-petrol engine is currently manufactured in India and produces 115hp and 178Nm under the bonnet of the Kushaq and Slavia. The engine is responsive, relatively refined and delivers strong acceleration and good fuel economy. This is only likely to improve when powering a lighter SUV. To aid in getting better fuel economy and differentiating it from the larger Kushaq, the compact SUV will also have smaller wheels, the Kushaq currently comes with 16- and 17-inch wheels. 

Also carried over to the India 2.5 project will be the 6-speed manual and the 6-speed torque convertor automatic gearbox. The super slick manual is both light and beautifully weighted, making it a joy to use. This will form the entry point to the range and will also make for a great enthusiast’s choice. The torque converter is also well suited for the job; it gels nicely with the turbocharged engine, providing a strong take off, and the gearbox is smooth and refined. It isn’t the sportiest gearbox around and feels a bit laidback, but this is unlikely to be a deal breaker.   

Skoda Compact SUV: design  

To be competitive Skoda’s new sub-four-metre SUV needs to be visually appealing as well as competitively priced. The teaser shows evolved styling at the front, which is a first step and provides some much needed freshness. What can also be seen are slim LED DRLs sitting above a large air vent or gog light housing on the bumper. The bonnet also seems to be creased in a way that's similar to the Kushaq. The compact SUV's design also contains elements from Skoda’s new ‘Modern Solid’ language as well as some fresh new ideas.

Skoda Compact SUV: price, positioning

The compact Skoda SUV is also slated to be a global model, one that will be exported to markets like South America, South-East Asia and Africa, among others. This will help deliver the scale needed to get the most out of the India 2.5 plan and the platform. Remember Skoda and VW together exported roughly 20,000 cars last year from India. With the introduction of the compact SUV, Skoda is targetting sales of 1 lakh units and a 5 percent market share by the end of the decade. 

Skoda is also aware the compact SUV has to be competitively priced to attain its full potential. Skoda CEO, Klaus Zellmer, said, “If we want to have scale we need to be very price competitive in India.” That logically could mean a price band of roughly Rs 9-14 lakh, especially if it is to be priced cheek-to-jowl with rivals from MarutiHyundai and Kia. And that, whichever way you look at, is likely to be a lot of Skoda for your money. It will need to be – Volkswagen’s earlier sub-4m exercise for India, the Ameo (a sub-4m Vento), wasn’t well specified, competitively priced or attractive enough to make a real dent and Skoda India will only be too aware of this. 

Also see:

Skoda Octavia facelift revealed

Skoda Slavia Style Edition launched at Rs 19.13 lakh

RELATED ARTICLES
New software tools up the game on lightweighting

auther Autocar Pro News Desk calendar23 May 2024

As the automotive industry continues to prioritise lightweighting, the advancements in design tools and strategies, coup...

Stricter emission norms and resource scarcity propel innovation in vehicle lightweighting: M&M’s Ritesh Agarwal

auther Autocar Pro News Desk calendar23 May 2024

Lightweighting also plays a critical role in sustainable mobility by addressing resource scarcity.

Volkswagen in talks for car JV in India: Company official

auther Autocar Pro News Desk calendar23 May 2024

Speaking at the Reuters Events Automotive Europe conference in Munich, group's finance chief, Arno Antlitz said it is e...