Skoda Kushaq India prototype review, test drive

What is the Skoda Kushaq? Born with ninety three % neighborhood written content, Skoda’s latest

What is the Skoda Kushaq?

Born with ninety three % neighborhood written content, Skoda’s latest baby is much more Indian than Czech and has fittingly been presented an Indian sounding title. Say hello there to the grounds-up, all-new Skoda Kushaq. Derived from the Sanskrit phrase ‘Kushak’ for king or emperor, it may perhaps look that Skoda took to ‘rashi’ the Vedic, astro-numerological naming practice, in the hope that its newborn would be blessed with a extended and thriving life. But no, Skoda just followed a trend it started with the Kodiaq, which is to get started the names of all Skoda SUVs with the letter K and end with Q. But can the Kushaq, be real to its Sanskrit title and become the new king of SUVs? Which is the crown the Hyundai Creta, which finds around 10,000 purchasers each thirty day period, has usurped and that’s the crown each SUV maker desires. However, for Skoda, the Kushaq is substantially much more than just an additional SUV in the vary. It’s the get started of an all-new chapter in India not just for Skoda but for the VW Group.

The Kushaq is the to start with of the VW Group’s India two. models.

The reimagined organization, dubbed ‘India two.0’, tears up the rule ebook and places Skoda in demand of the full VW Group’s operations in India. Just after a decade of trying to hack the minimal-margin Indian sector, VW gave up and remaining the work to Skoda. So, whilst the VW brand name qualified prospects the Group’s EV demand globally, Skoda has been entrusted with building affordable and minimal-price tag products and solutions for equally models into a new entity termed Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Private Ltd (SAVWIPL).

The convoluted title of this new enterprise is the vestige of a advanced structure that’s been overhauled and streamlined by dovetailing three separate organisations (1 Skoda and two VW) less than 1 umbrella, which will control the foreseeable future of the VW Group on the sub-continent and other rising marketplaces.

The Kushaq is the to start with model coming out of the India two. venture and has the full excess weight of the VW Group using on its haunches because anticipations are incredibly substantial. This model will established the common for a vary of built-for-India models coming from equally Skoda and VW models (the Taigun, the Kushaq’s sister from VW will stick to a couple of months afterwards), and importantly be an acid check of Skoda’s capacity of offering a car with the kind of values Indian shoppers want.

Skoda Kushaq: exterior and platform facts

We obtained our to start with clue of what the Kushaq would appear like at final year’s Auto Expo wherever it was unveiled in concept kind as the Vision IN. What we reported then is that if the generation model looked just about anything like the gorgeous concept, the Koreans would have a serious headache.

And now, nearly a yr afterwards, in sunny Goa we are driving an early prototype of the generation model to get our to start with style of it. So just how excellent does the Kushaq appear? Sad to say, we just cannot convey to you nonetheless. Aside from it getting closely camouflaged, we have been strictly embargoed from talking about what ever minor we have viewed of it until finally the world unveil in March. Skoda doesn’t want us to spoil the shock!

The Kushaq is dependent on the closely localisedf MQB-A0 platform.

What we can chat about is what’s less than the orange camo cloak. The starting place for the Kushaq is the VW Group’s MQB-A0 platform that also underpins a gigantic vary of models across VW models. The excellent point is that this platform is ‘package protected’ for a escalating wave of foreseeable future tech that’s speedily locating its way into mass-sector cars. Bits like 5G connectivity, whole-digital cockpits, ADAS attributes and even electrification can be plugged into the MQB-A0-dependent cars, as and when shoppers or regulations demand from customers them. The poor point is that the MQB-A0, originally conceived for European marketplaces, is inherently a substantial-price tag platform and that’s been the sticking place for the viability of the India two. venture. However, Skoda achieved a breakthrough on costs by significant localisation and the to start with Kushaq will roll off the Chakan assembly line with much more than 90 % of neighborhood components. Which is a mind-boggling achievement when you consider that around the former 10 decades, the VW Group couldn’t localise their cars past seventy six %. Also, Skoda has diligently specced the Kushaq to Indian prerequisites, which has also eked out significant price tag price savings. There is no place building components for -forty degC in a state wherever the ambient temperatures regularly hit forty+ degC. This qualified prospects us to speculate on the selling price. Clearly, it’s too early for Skoda to remark on that all-significant figure but enterprise officials have hinted that the Creta and Seltos is what they are gunning for. At the identical time, the Kushaq will carry “the quality the Skoda badge commands”. Make what you will of these cryptic hints, but we hope the Kushaq to be incredibly competitively priced to make the most of the 1 essential shot Skoda has to get shoppers flocking to its showrooms.

Skoda Kushaq: inside facts

The precise proportions of the Kushaq have not been disclosed nonetheless, besides for the wheelbase, which, at two,651mm, places the Skoda smack in the center of the midsize SUV segment. The generous wheelbase, which is the longest in the course, bodes perfectly for inside place, primarily at the rear. So, let us start off by slipping into the backseat. The to start with perception is that there’s sufficient place for six-footers to extend out, a deep squab that nicely supports your thighs, and an optimally angled backrest that can be flipped down to boost the flexibility of the roomy boot. The seat cushioning and foam density is getting further more tweaked to optimise convenience even further more in advance of the launch. The cabin isn’t significantly wide and the contoured seats make the rear seat greatest for two folks. Also the substantial-established front seat and substantial window line infringe on visibility a bit. Interestingly, Skoda has flattened the transmission tunnel a bit to make it comfier for the third passenger. What this also implies is that there will be no 4×4 option.

Up front, a pair of closely contoured seats do a terrific work in offering a supremely at ease seating placement too. The ergonomics are place on and total visibility out front is wonderful.

Skoda Kushaq: engine and functionality facts

The Kushaq will appear with two direct-injection turbo-petrol TSI engines – a one.-litre three-cylinder and a one.5-litre 4-cylinder device, equally with manual and automatic transmission possibilities. There is no diesel prepared. The one. TSI gets the identical six-speed manual and six-speed torque converter combo as in the recent Rapid, whilst the one.5 TSI model, in addition to the six-speed manual, gets a 7-speed DSG transmission. On this prototype travel, we have two variants to check – the one. TSI manual and the one.5 TSI auto.

We’ve sampled the fabulous one.5 TSI and 7-speed DSG bundle in the VW T-Roc and the one.-litre with the six-speed manual in the Rapid, so we experienced a truthful thought of what to hope. But concerning the two, it was the one. litre TSI that was the shock, impressing us even much more than the appreciably potent one.5 TSI. The one. TSI feels like a diverse animal less than the hood of the Kushaq. For starters, the engine is remarkably smooth at idle and rocks fewer on its mounts than in the Rapid. Skoda engineers verified that the engine mounts have been tweaked “to boost smoothness”, and the stiffer MQB platform aids too.

Slot the stubby gearlever into to start with and the improvement in change excellent around the manual Rapid is apparent too. The identical six-speeder in the Kushaq gains from redesigned gearbox linkages for a better change. The only fly in the ointment is the clutch, which can be a contact snappy and could do with a much more progressive bite. 

Both, the one. TSI and the one.5 TSI engines are potent the latter is envisioned to be more rapidly than the Creta and Seltos turbo-petrols.

South Goa’s narrow, winding and rather visitors-absolutely free streets make it possible for us to exploit specific facets of the Kushaq. The one. TSI doesn’t cease to astound me and makes a mockery of the age-old ‘there’s no replacement for displacement’ claim. Apart from for some sluggishness when you stomp your appropriate foot at minimal revs, the one. TSI doesn’t depart you wanting. The hallmark of this engine is its broad spread of torque, which builds up efficiently from as minimal as two,000rpm and the potent surge doesn’t tail off until finally you hit the six,200rpm limiter. Using the meaty mid-vary and allowing the engine operate in the two,five hundred to four,000rpm zone is wherever the Kushaq feels greatest. You don’t sense the will need to preserve shifting down each time the revs drop. The engine will happily spin earlier six,000rpm too. It’s just that, at larger revs, the engine does get a contact noisy, which makes you mechanically throttle back to a much more relaxed tempo.

The place Skoda has completely aced it is with the dynamics, and nevertheless this a prototype, I will adhere my neck out and say that the Kushaq will established a new benchmark for journey and dealing with in its course when it is really released, trumping even the ageing but continue to dynamically outstanding Renault Duster.

Aside from a truthful bit of slack about the straight ahead placement, the steering is properly weighted it is really light sufficient to make minimal-speed driving and parking straightforward and has sufficient heft to give you the self-assurance to travel speedy.

And self-assurance is a little something the Kushaq presents you in abundance. It has a remarkably flat journey even on bumpy highway and the total poise at substantial speeds will make it a terrific highway car. The greatest bit is that this taut human body control hasn’t appear at the price of journey. Ruts, speed breakers and sharp edges are nicely muffled, aided in no little evaluate by the beefy tyre sidewalls.

Switching to the one.5 TSI 7-speed auto didn’t heighten the driving working experience as substantially I thought it would. Sure, you can sense the further slug of electric power and torque, the minute you faucet the throttle, but the DSG, with its attribute momentary hesitation soon after you set your foot down, doesn’t give you the identical direct connect with the engine as a manual. That reported, the 7-speed DSG is continue to simply the greatest twin-clutch auto transmission about and considerably smoother and responsive than the DCTs in the Seltos and Creta. You will not complain about a absence of functionality either in the one.5 Kushaq. And judging by the brief bursts of acceleration we indulged in, I’m very assured, the Kushaq will be quicker than its Korean rivals.

In auto manner, the DSG has been programmed to upshift rather early, but use the manual option and the transmission holds onto each individual gear more time. It’s just that, like the one. TSI, there’s a truthful bit of engine noise seeping into the cabin when you in the vicinity of the redline.

A marked big difference concerning the one. and one.5 TSI is in the way they tackle. The one.5 Kushaq feels distinctly much more nose-significant and pitches a bit on an undulating highway, inspite of a stiffer suspension to issue in the heavier engine. The one. Kushaq, in contrast, feels lighter on its ft, turning into corners with much more verve. Both variants of the Kushaq have some human body roll but it is really perfectly-contained and neither will sense like a handful.

Skoda Kushaq: attributes and tools facts

But how perfectly equipped is the Kushaq? Just after all, it is really devices and gizmos that shoppers want over all the things else in their car. Once more, Skoda has embargoed the attributes listing until finally the entire world premiere, but what we can share is the suite of security attributes across all variants that includes, electronic steadiness control (a segment to start with), six airbags, hill maintain control, ISOFIX tethers for the rear seats, rain/light sensor, and a tyre monitoring program. What we can also ensure is that the Kushaq will appear with a common sunroof and not the much more sought-soon after panoramic 1.

We have not been able to remark on vital locations like the cabin, how it seems to be, how it feels and how perfectly equipped it is. But if what we have seasoned so considerably is an indicator of what the remaining merchandise will be, it’s truthful to say that the Kushaq will be the most comprehensively engineered and perfectly-built SUV for the revenue. We just cannot hold out to see and travel it with its disguise off.

Also see:

Skoda Kushaq prototype online video critique

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