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Old 26th June 2021, 09:30   #1
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Default Skoda Kushaq Review

Skoda Kushaq Review


Skoda Kushaq Pros



• A breath of fresh (European) air in a sea of Korean, Chinese & Indian SUVs
• Classy exterior & interior styling matched with solid European build quality
• Cabin has good legroom to offer, supportive seats, perfect ergonomics & lots of storage
• 148 BHP engine makes the Kushaq one of the most fun-to-drive crossovers in the segment
• Sporty 1.0L & 1.5L turbo-petrols are mated to slick 6-speed MTs & smooth ATs
• Sorted suspension offers a balanced ride & handling package
• Safety features include 6 airbags (sadly MT only), ESC (all variants), 3-point seatbelts for all, electronic differential lock, brake disc wiping, multi-collision brake and more
• 6-year extended warranty & 4-year all inclusive service packages available
• Features like active cylinder tech, ventilated seats, sunroof, wireless Android Auto and CarPlay, audio system with a punchy subwoofer, auto headlamps & wipers etc.

Skoda Kushaq Cons



• No 1.5L diesel is a major disadvantage in a world where petrol costs over 100 bucks / litre
• DQ200 DSG transmission has a history of poor reliability & breakdowns in India
• Narrow width makes a 5th adult completely unwelcome. Best for 4 onboard
• Lovely 1.5L TSI is only available on the top variant
• At 385 litres, boot space is lesser than its direct rivals (Creta & Seltos = 433L)
• Sure lacks the street cred / presence offered by some competitors
• Skoda’s notorious dealerships & after-sales horror stories
• Missing some now expected features such as 6 airbags on the ATs, driving modes (sport), panoramic sunroof, 360-degree camera, electric driver's seat adjustment & regular USB ports
• Turbo-petrols are very sensitive to driving style. FE will drop drastically when you drive hard

This review has been jointly compiled with Aditya & GTO. Thanks to them for the expert observations!

Introduction



Skoda is finally entering the lucrative midsize SUV / crossover market in India with the Kushaq. This car is the first product developed under the ‘India 2.0’ project and is based on the Vision IN concept that was displayed at the 2020 Auto Expo. The Kushaq will compete with formidable opponents such as the Hyundai Creta & Kia Seltos. While Skoda had the Karoq on sale in India earlier, it was imported as a CBU, which made it too expensive. The Karoq was just a stopgap product to keep dealers happy.

Skoda's sales in India are very poor, despite the brand being present here for 2 decades! It's now taking a shot at the volume segment with this modern crossover. The Kushaq has the responsibility to bump up the company's numbers and is an incredibly important model for Skoda. Price & positioning will be key; if priced well, the Kushaq can easily exceed the 2,500 units / month target we've been hearing. In fact, after driving it, we can tell you that the Kushaq has the potential to sell well over 5,000 units / month. The two main restrictions will be the lack of a diesel engine (especially important in this 100-bucks-a-litre world) and the dealer network (in terms of quality & quantity).

The Kushaq is available in 3 trim levels - Active, Ambition and Style, with 2 turbo-petrol engine options - a 1.0L, 3-cylinder TSI producing 113 BHP and 178 Nm paired with a 6-speed MT and AT (torque-converter), as well as a 1.5L, 4-cylinder TSI producing 148 BHP and 250 Nm paired with a 6-speed MT and 7-speed AT (the dreaded DQ200 dual-clutch AT). The car comes in a front-wheel drive configuration only. Not offering a diesel will be a major handicap as the two best-sellers are available with diesel options, as are all competitors. Hyundai recently announced that 60% of the Creta's sales are from the diesel. It sucks that the VW-Skoda group didn't bother with making their excellent 1.5L diesel BS6 compliant. It already puts the Kushaq on the back foot. Further, the 1.5L TSI engine is available only in the top-end Style trim.

The name of the midsize SUV is derived from Sanskrit, where the word ‘kushak’ denotes a king or an emperor. Like Mahindra loves the double-O, Skoda definitely loves the letter K = Kushaq, Kamiq, Karoq & Kodiaq! All names also end with a Q.

Skoda Kushaq Price


The Kushaq is built in India with 95% localisation, which (we hope) should allow Skoda to price it competitively. That said, after spending a day with the car, we can tell you that the Kushaq is a premium product and we expect its pricing to be premium as well (especially the higher variants & 1.5L motor).

Exterior



Design & Styling



The Kushaq's styling is unmistakably Skoda. It sports the familiar Skoda family face and the rear too has some resemblance to the Kodiaq. It has those classic Skoda lines and a timeless look. When it comes to size though, the Kushaq is on the smaller side and owners should give up any aspirations of an imposing presence (like the Hector or Harrier). Because of this, we will have to wait and see how the market responds, although we do feel there is customer demand for compact + premium cars too. Did it turn heads during our test-drive? Not at all. The Kushaq gets LED daytime running lights, LED projector headlamps, plastic SUV-style cladding on the sides, 17-inch alloy wheels and roof rails. The vehicle is available in 5 single-tone body colours.

Build Quality, Fit & Finish



The Kushaq has a monocoque construction and is built on the MQB A0 IN platform, which is a variant of the modular MQB platform adapted for the Indian market. The car is solid & well-built. The doors & bonnet have a good deal of weight to them and there’s not much flex in the body panels. The sturdy doors shut with a satisfying thud, typical of European cars. Overall fit & finish are just as you'd expect from a European car. The panel gaps are even and the paint finish is rich (typical Skoda).

Wheels & Tyres



The Style variant gets funky 17” Atlas two-tone alloy wheels shod with 205/55 Goodyear Assurance Triplemax 2 tyres. These fill up the wheel arches well and look proportionate to the metal on top. They are the same tyres that are available with the recently launched Octavia. However, while the Goodyears were ridiculous on the 187 BHP 35-lakh rupee Octavia, they are more acceptable on the 148 BHP Kushaq. Still, we would definitely recommend an upgrade to a superior tyre model, particularly for those who prefer spirited driving.

The Active variant gets 16” alloy wheels with Lhotse wheel covers, while the Ambition variant comes with 16” Grus alloy wheels. These lower variants should offer an even cushier ride than the Style variant which is already very comfortable.

Ground Clearance



The Kushaq has a laden ground clearance rating of 155 mm. Its unladen ground clearance is rated at 188 mm, which is similar to the Creta / Seltos' 190 mm.

Standard & Extended Warranty



The Kushaq comes with a 4 year / 100,000 km warranty as standard, with an option to extend it to 6 years / 150,000 km (please be dead sure to take this). Skoda is also providing 3 years paint warranty, 6 years corrosion warranty, 2 years parts warranty and 2 years battery warranty. 3 different service and maintenance plans for up to 4 years / 60,000 km are available. Extended RSA programs up to 9 years are also being offered. Golden rule when buying premium cars and especially Skodas, thanks to the horror after-sales stories we hear = invest in the maximum possible extended warranty available.

Safety



The Kushaq is loaded with safety features such as 3-point seatbelts for all five occupants, 6 airbags, ESC, ABS, EBD, brake assist, electronic differential lock, hydraulic brake boosting, rollover protection, brake disc wiping, multi-collision brake, hill-hold, TPMS, ISOFIX child seat mounts, auto headlamps, auto wipers & more. We hope that the Kushaq upholds the VW-Skoda Group's usual commitment to safety and there have been no compromises made. Just that, whenever we heard that a platform has been "modified for India", it makes us nervous. That being said, we do have faith in this group in the area of safety. Even their old VW Polo got 4 stars in the NCAP!

Interior





Cabin Design & Quality



The dual-tone dashboard is stylish & looks upmarket, with liberal use of piano black at various places. We like the unique carbon-fiber'ish insert on the dash as well as the shiny 'Skoda' badge plate on the passenger side. The 2-spoke steering (divides opinions, GTO hates it), tablet ICE and touch a/c controls do add some spice here. There are no soft-touch plastics anywhere, yet the interiors feel solidly put together without any poorly finished areas. BHPians looking closer will find that the feel of plastics lower down in the cabin isn't as nice as what we've experienced in other Skoda cars. Also, while most touch areas are satisfactory, the plastics on the power window console (doorpads) seem rudimentary.

Space & Comfort



Being a crossover, ingress & egress are easy. Cabin space is enough for 4 adults. In fact, rear legroom is better than we expected and a 6-footer passenger can sit behind an equally tall driver. Headroom is also satisfactory front & back, although the rear seat is on the narrower side. Two fit adults & a kid or two healthy adults is the max that it will accommodate.

The driver’s seat doesn't get lumbar adjustment, yet it is supportive enough. It has healthy side bolstering for support through the corners. The seat can slide back far enough even for tall drivers to feel comfortable. The leather upholstery is of acceptable quality.

Driving Position & Ergonomics



The ergonomics are spot on with everything exactly where you would expect it to be, and within easy reach of the driver. For a European car, we must say that the cabin is as user-friendly as any Japanese or Korean model (including a wide footwell). There’s actually not a single ergonomic error to be found. The steering is nice to hold, it gets rake + reach adjustment, the instrument cluster has the classic Skoda analogue design and frontal visibility is good. The bonnet will be visible to some drivers, which can be helpful while parking. On the downside, we feel that the high-set dashboard will bother shorter drivers in terms of visibility. While on visibility, we will state that the ORVMs should have been a size wider; their height is fine, but the width should've been more.

Cabin Storage



The cabin has a total of 26.2 litres of storage space including a 6.1 litre solid-feeling glovebox and a 2.2L deep but narrow storage bin under the driver armrest. Doorpads get accommodating bottle holders and room for other miscellaneous items. Cupholders and cubby holes have been provided in the center console as well. We like the vertical slot on the center console for the passenger's smartphone, while the driver's is being charged on the wireless pad. Additionally, there is a spot on top of the dashboard to place a deity. The front seatbacks have deep pockets as well as smartphone holders for rear passengers to use. Uniquely, there is a ticket / FASTag clip on the windshield, while the non-sunroof Ambition variant gets a storage spot for sunglasses.

Air-Conditioning



The Ambition and Style variants get a "Climatronic" climate control system with an Air Care (purifier) function and a touch control panel. While we usually hate touch-panels for the air-con, we won't complain about this one. The design is such that, even without taking your eyes off the road, you can slide your finger into the perfectly curved slot and move it left / right to decrease / increase the temperature / fan speed. Air vents have been provided at the rear.

Features


Unique & Noteworthy Features



The Kushaq comes with most of the necessary features (including a sunroof and touchscreen head-unit with Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay). It also gets paddle shifters, ambient lighting (white coloured), connected car technology, wireless phone charging, ventilated seats and a subwoofer for that added punch. However, some goodies such as a panoramic sunroof, electrically adjustable driver's seat and 360-degree camera are missing. The Korean siblings provide these.

Audio System & Sound Quality



The Active variant comes with a 7” touchscreen head-unit, while the Ambition and Style variants get a 10” touchscreen HU. The HU is snappy to use, has a sharp display and a user-friendly interface.

Sound is delivered via a 340-watt system with 6 speakers and a subwoofer. Sound quality is good. Bass lovers will enjoy the thumpy bass from the subwoofer. That said, the MG Hector still offers the best sound system in the 15 - 20 lakh segment.

Rear Passengers




Rear Seat Comfort & Space



Ingress & egress are easy. The rear bench is placed at a decent height as well. Legroom is better than we expected! 5'10" GTO had legroom to spare when he sat behind the driving position of Aditya (also 5'10"). Two 6-footers will be able to sit one behind the other & headroom is adequate too. However, the seat width is too less for three adults to feel comfortable. It's more suitable for two adults and a kid. If the two adults are on the heavier side, then it's just them, no kid. The cushioning is adequate and the bench offers extremely good under-thigh support. All 3 seats get adjustable headrests. Rear occupants get a/c vents and a couple of Type-C USB ports for their smartphones.

Boot Space



At 385 litres, boot space is more comparable to sub-4 meter crossovers like the Sonet (392L) & WR-V (363L) rather than the Seltos (433) or Duster (475L). That being said, the boot is well shaped and there is enough depth too. Weekend holiday luggage for your family should fit in. The rear seat splits in a 60:40 ratio for when you need that flexibility. Folding the backrests down gives the Kushaq a cargo capacity of 1,405 litres. The loading lip is high though & you will have to lift your bags to take them out. The boot gets a light, parcel tray and bag hooks.

Last edited by GTO : 29th June 2021 at 20:40.
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Driving the Skoda Kushaq 1.5L Turbo Petrol MT


1.5L turbo-petrol engine makes 148 BHP @ 5,000 - 6,000 rpm and 250 Nm @ 1,600 - 3,500 rpm:


While all variants of the Kushaq come with an improved version of the Rapid's 1.0L, 3-cylinder TSI engine and some have a torque-converter AT too, the top-end Style variant also gets the 1.5L, 4-cylinder TSI engine which was used in the Karoq. It's matched to a 6-speed MT and a 7-speed DSG. The engine produces 148 BHP & 250 Nm. This makes it more powerful than the Korean twins' 1.4L turbo-petrol (138 BHP & 242 Nm), but not the Duster 1.3L's 154 BHP & 254 Nm. There is no diesel engine on offer. It's very sad that VAG has decided not to make its 1.5L TDI BS6 compliant. Those with high usage will be disappointed, especially with petrol now costing over 100-bucks a litre!

Throttle response is satisfactory and the Kushaq rolls off without a fuss. Once on the move, the 1.5 TSI provides good driveability. We were happily cruising within Navi Mumbai in the higher gears. The motor can pull from as low as 1,000 rpm, although it's more comfortable above 1,200+ rpm and alive above 1,500. The bottom end is good, because of which we were climbing up a flyover at low rpm in 3rd gear itself. Importantly, this engine pulls much better than the 1.0 TSI from low revs. At the end of the day, you can't argue with displacement and this is 50% bigger in size than its smaller sibling. Downshifts aren't required frequently. The light electric steering, compact size of the car, taller seating, good ergonomics and excellent frontal view make the Kushaq superb to drive in the city.

However, an important point to keep in mind is if you let the revs drop too low at crawling speeds or over speed breakers, the engine will just abruptly stall! This stall-happy nature reminded us of how the Skoda Yeti was and take it from us, you will 100% stall the Kushaq 1.5L until you get used to its power delivery characteristics. When it stalls though, all you need to do is press the clutch pedal all the way in and the engine fires back up! We had also seen this feature in the Duster Turbo. Of course, we went on testing this auto-restart feature until the computer gave up and flashed a warning on the MID saying "please start the engine manually".

Out on the open road, the power on tap makes the 1.5 TSI a fast performer and a whole lot of fun. Skoda says it'll do 0 - 100 in 8.6 seconds on a good day and we totally buy that (1.0 TSI's timing is 10.6 seconds). However, it doesn't have that crazy streak of the 1.0L. While the smaller 1.0 TSI is wild and begs to be driven hard, the 1.5L is more mature with its power delivery. Think of the 1.5L as the grownup bigger brother to the mischievous brat 1.0 TSI. Even torque steer is extremely well-controlled for a 148 BHP FWD car. The 1.5L TSI is very tractable and pulls cleanly. Driving it on the highway is an addictive experience and you will find yourself driving fast, even if you didn't intend to. To overtake, just drop a gear and floor it...the strong mid-range will ensure you fly past the slower vehicle. The engine revs in a linear fashion till ~6,600 rpm. In terms of cruisability, the Kushaq can run at triple-digit speeds all day long without breaking into a sweat. The TSI spins at a relaxed ~2,000 rpm at 100 km/h in 6th gear. Beyond 5,000 rpm, however, the engine starts getting a bit boomy. Summary = this is overall a fast, smooth & lovable engine.

Enthusiasts will relish the 6-speed MT. It is slick, with short throws and well-defined gates. The gears are closely stacked together (try shifting from 4th to 5th and you'll see). The clutch, however, is quite springy and you need to carefully modulate it in stop-and-go traffic. Its travel range is longer than we'd like too. This trait of the clutch gets irritating in bumper to bumper traffic.

The Kushaq 1.5L DSG Automatic



The 1.5L engine also comes with the notorious 7-speed DQ200 DSG gearbox. We will be driving it soon. You can expect the typical DSG traits - it will be fast shifting, enthusiastic to drive and smooth. On the flip side, we have serious concerns over its long-term reliability. Just search on Team-BHP and you will see story after story of DQ200 failures & breakdowns. Also, when crawling in slow traffic (1st - 3rd gears), you will experience a little jerkiness which is a typical DSG trait.

Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)



The 1.5L TSI is overall refined. It's a lot smoother than the 1.0 TSI which has some 3-cylinder vibrations, noises, groans & growls. That said, even the 1.5L TSI gets somewhat boomy past 5,000 rpm. We found tyre & road noise at 110 - 120 km/h on concrete expressways / rumble strips to be higher than expected in a car with premium aspirations. On the other hand, wind noise is nicely controlled at expressway speeds.

Mileage & Fuel Economy



ARAI fuel economy figures for the Kushaq have not yet been revealed. Drive the TSIs with a light foot and they should give you acceptable FE. Turbo-petrols are very sensitive to throttle input though; drive it hard and you'll see the tank needle drop fast. Skoda has given the 1.5L Kushaq Active Cylinder Technology. When cruising calmly on the open road, the ECU shuts off cylinders 2 and 3 to reduce fuel consumption. This 2-cylinder mode will lead to good long distance FE, that is if you drive calmly (which is tough in the TSI). While we never felt the cylinder activation / deactivation happening, we did see an "ECO" sign on the MID which might be signalling its action.

Suspension





Ride Comfort



The Kushaq's ride quality can be termed as mature & compliant. We have to say this is the perfect suspension tune that Skoda has chosen. It is neither too soft (Hector) nor too stiff (Seltos). Owners will find the ride quality to be endearing. It offers good comfort levels in the city & on highways alike. Sharp ruts do find their way into the cabin though - the Kushaq doesn't round off the bigger potholes. This could be due to the 17" rims & 33 PSI tyre pressures. Ride quality of the lower variants with 16" rims will be even better.

Handling & Dynamics



As expected of a Skoda, the Kushaq has sorted road manners. It has excellent straight line stability and composure at high speeds. In fact, 120 km/h feels more like 90 - 100 km/h. You can confidently maintain high speeds on the expressway.

Driving the Kushaq on winding roads was fun, with the front end seemingly eager to turn. Sure, there is some body roll, but it's a family crossover at the end of the day. Nothing too alarming, and we actually had a blast coming down the Lonavala ghats. The tyres are the same Goodyears used in the Octavia. While they felt terrible on a 187 BHP car, the Goodyears are more acceptable on a 148 BHP car. Grip levels on the mountain roads was fair. Although, we would still recommend upgrading to better rubber as these tyres were squealing under hard cornering @ 85 km/h!

Steering



The EPS feels direct & sharp. It is light at parking & city speeds which is now the market's preference. Our complaint is that, at 100 - 110 km/h, it is still a level too light and comfort-oriented for enthusiasts' tastes. We wish Skoda had firmed things up more for highway speeds. Even while cornering hard in the Lonavala ghats, GTO wished that the steering was firmer. A user selectable 'Sport' driving mode that would stiffen things up would be nice, but Skoda has omitted driving modes in the new Octavia as well as the Kushaq.

Braking



While its main rivals, the Creta and Seltos, get all-wheel disc brakes, the Kushaq makes do with discs at the front and drums at the rear. The brake pedal is well calibrated and feels sharp to use. In fact, we felt that the brakes of the Kushaq were more confidence-inspiring than that of the Korean twins. The braking is powerful and we felt confident with them on our highway run.

Niggles & Problems



Skoda is the first name that pops to mind when we speak of unreliability and bad after-sales experiences. Truth is, many owners have suffered multiple breakdowns, especially with the DQ200 DSG gearbox. Even apart from the gearbox, don't expect a Toyota or Maruti kind of ownership experience over 5 - 10 years. Take the extended warranty without a second thought, and be sure to get the car serviced on time. For its part, Skoda is trying to improve its brand image with maintenance packages etc., but the dealers are the same, the cars are complicated & parts are expensive. Those buying the 1.5L MT or 1.0L AT (torque converter) / MT might enjoy better long-term reliability than owners of the 1.5L DSG.

You'll enjoy this car on the open road:


There's no insulation sheet under the bonnet. Both the Korean twins get it:


An 'ECO' indicator comes up on the MID when you are cruising at easy revs. The Kushaq 1.5L has Active Cylinder Technology, which shuts down cylinders 2 and 3 in the interest of fuel efficiency:


Recommended tyre pressure is 33 PSI all-round:

Last edited by Rehaan : 26th June 2021 at 10:09.
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Skoda Kushaq Exterior Images


Front is unmistakably Skoda and very close to the Vision IN concept:


The rear too is very "Skoda". Compared to the concept car, there are some subtle changes to the tail-lamp cluster, tail-gate and bumper:


The Style variant gets chrome window lines & chrome door handles. Our test car was finished in the Carbon Steel shade which seems to be popular with BHPians:


The Kushaq measures 4,225 mm in length, 1,760 mm in width and 1,612 mm in height. It has a wheelbase of 2,651 mm. Dimensionally, the Kushaq is smaller than its main rivals, the Creta and the Seltos, but it has a longer wheelbase (the Korean twins have a wheelbase of 2,610 mm). Small size doesn't give it much street presence:


The car has the classic VAG lines. Notice the crease that emerges from the front Skoda badging and merges with the tail lamps:


Smart headlamp clusters consist of L-shaped LED daytime running lights, LED projectors for the low beam and main beam and halogen turn-indicators. Halogen foglamps sit below the headlights, high on the bumper and come with a cornering function. Headlights have many crystalline touches:


A look at the detailing inside:


DRLs are bright and prominent, even during the day:


The signature butterfly grille looks good & gets chrome lining all around:


Front bumper features a wide air dam with a black honeycomb mesh grille and a faux silver skid plate. Skid plate has aggressive detailing:


No underbody protection offered. Should have been given considering India's unpredictable road conditions & Skoda's expensive part prices:


Bonnet has a prominent Skoda-style hump in the middle. The Skoda logo on the bonnet looks swell:


Rain-sensing wipers have their spindles & washers tucked under the bonnet:


Fenders house unique piano black panels with chrome "SKODA" lettering:


ORVMs with integrated blinkers:


Chrome inserts on the door handles, with request sensors on both front doors:


Roof slopes down towards the rear, while the window line rises. It starts rising sharply just before the C-pillar to form a nice kink:


That's not a quarter glass on the C-Pillar. It's merely a piano black filler giving a glass-like effect:


Lovely cuts & creases, done in a classy manner accomplished only by the German brands:


Subtle crease runs low on the doors. Black plastic cladding for that "crossover" stance:


All 3 of us loved the design as well as the dual-tone finish of the 17" Atlas alloy wheels. They are shod with 205/55 section Goodyear Assurance tyres which fill up the wheel wells nicely. Lower variants get 16” rims:


Even the top-end Style variant does not get rear disc brakes. Still, braking performance is strong and reassuring:


Full plastic cladding in the front wheel well...


...as well as the rear:


Silver roof rails (cosmetic purpose only) enhance the vehicle's crossover appearance. The Kushaq gets a fair-sized regular sunroof, but not a panoramic unit like the Creta's:


Rear spoiler is a two-piece unit with a metal portion on the inside and a plastic portion on the outside. The two portions are separated by a crease. Black sharkfin antenna sits at the end of the roof section:


Split tail-lamp clusters feature C-shaped LED pilot and brake lamps, with halogen units for the turn-indicators and reversing lights. No rear foglamps in the Kushaq:


A look at the funky crystalline detailing inside:


Ugghh! That old frame-type wiper looks so damn ugly. Why didn't Skoda choose a modern frameless type? Tail-gate has cuts and creases just like we have seen on the Kodiaq. Chrome strip runs lower down - a staple fitment for India, and merges with the reflectors. No variant or engine badges have been provided anywhere on the car:


Higher variant gets a reversing camera which is placed next to the electromagnetic boot release. The reversing camera does not get adaptive guidelines - unexpected in a premium crossover:


We L-O-V-E the font used for this KUSHAQ badge. Whoever picked it has taste:


The rear bumper has a fake silver skid plate as well. 3 parking sensors have been provided, while a pair of slim reflectors sits higher on either side:


Twin exhaust pipes on the left:


50-litre fuel tank is located just ahead of the rear axle, to the right. Its capacity is the same as that of the Creta, Seltos and Harrier:

Last edited by Rehaan : 26th June 2021 at 10:10.
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Skoda Kushaq Interior Images


Good-looking dashboard with a large piano black insert and carbon-fiber like detailing running from end to end. There are no soft-touch plastics, but the cabin does feel well built and nicely finished:


Windscreen is large and the seating position is a little high up. This means one can get a very clean view of the road. On the downside, we feel that the high-set dashboard will bother shorter drivers in terms of visibility


Top quality two-spoke steering wheel with piano black and chrome inserts. 2-spokes make for a love it or hate it design (Aditya likes it, GTO & I don't). When cornering in the ghats, it gives you better visibility of the meters, especially the useful rev-gauge. Ambition and Style variants get a leather-wrapped steering. Nice sounding dual disc horns, but not the classic Skoda wind tone that you have in the Octavia:


LHS buttons are for audio & voice commands, while the ones on the RHS are for the MID. Scrollers have a knurled finish:


Left light / indicator stalk also houses the cruise control options. Very busy! On the right is the wiper stalk. The Kushaq is equipped with auto wipers which are on by default:


Just like all other Skoda cars, the engine start/stop button is placed on the right side of the steering column. Located here so no mischievous kid can access it & cause trouble, whether the car is on the move or even stationary:


Sturdy lever for adjusting the steering wheel. It has both tilt and reach adjustment to help the driver find his / her perfect driving position:


Old school, classy, conventional Skoda-style dials. Dials and needles are backlit in white. Analogue fuel and temperature gauges have been provided too. We are so glad Skoda has chosen analogue instruments (we're not fans of the all-digital trend). The buttons to check the service interval, set the time and display the trip meter are the same as the ones used in the Rapid:


The MID displays the vehicle status, driving data, telephone and audio info, along with the oil temperature:


The MID also shows the exact door which is open. It covers the tailgate and bonnet too (great to see as the bonnet is skipped by 99% of cars out there):


Big hexagonal a/c vents:


Typical European headlamp and foglamp controls. The Kushaq gets automatic headlamps. All-black knob here looks too basic & cheap. We would've liked some silver metal highlights or bordering:


Bonnet release is located on the right of the footwell:


Doorpads are mostly black with a small grey portion, and a piano black patch around the chrome door handle. This looks very boring & plain Jane to our eyes (check out Kia's more interesting approach here & here). The recessed door handle housing has a diamond pattern finish, while the armrest is wrapped in leather. The door houses a 50W speaker:


The usual set of window and mirror controls. Driver's window gets auto up & down with an anti-pinch function. We found this plastic panel to be low rent:


Wide door pockets can hold a lot more than just a water bottle:


A string has been provided (on both front pockets) to keep standing items in place:


A slot to put in longer items, such as an umbrella:


Reflectors are placed on all 4 doors to warn traffic when the door is open:


Did I tell you that I love the KUSHAQ font? Branded aluminium scuff plates provided:


Leather upholstered seats offer satisfactory support. Center armrest is useful + adjustable:


A close look at the perforated leather seat upholstery. Perforated material is mandatory for the seat's cooling function. The quality of materials used is good. Don't miss the contrast orange stitching:


Even the top variant does not get electrical adjustment. Lumbar adjustment is not provided, but back support is fine. The seat offers a good adjustment range (fore & aft and height) and even a 6-footer will be comfortable:


Center armrest has a soft leather cladding with orange stitching. It is adjustable and placed at a comfortable height:


Seatbelts aren't adjustable for height. Still, the position is neutral and no one will have an issue:


A, B, C pedals are well spaced out. A very useable dead pedal has been provided:


3D-effect mats look cool:


Music is played through 6 speakers, including one on each door and 20W tweeters on the A-Pillars:


Nifty ticket holder has been provided on the windshield. Skoda used it for the FASTag on our test cars:


We feel that Skoda has gone for form over function with the ORVMs. We would have liked them to be a size bigger in terms of width. They should have extended out more and you will find yourself craning your neck when joining the main road. Notice how the driver can see the blinker from the inside (like in many other VAG cars):


IRVM gets a slim frame and the auto-dimming function. It is wide enough to cover the rear windshield. Headrests (including one for the 5th occupant) do restrict visibility to some extent:


Like most crossovers, rearward view is average at best. Because of the thick C-pillars and protruding headrests, it’s better to rely on the reversing camera and parking sensors:


A recessed area on top of the dashboard - could be used to place a small idol of a deity here:


Center fascia hosts a 10” floating touchscreen at the top. Piano black has been applied liberally:


A look at the home screen of the tablet-like floating touchscreen head-unit. I liked the display and it is smooth to use. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have been provided. The system's sound quality will keep owners happy:


The system displays the usual driving data. Vehicle status (including low tyre pressure warnings) are also shown:


Four apps come pre-installed:


'Valet Mode' lets you handover the vehicle to a driver with restricted access:


The infotainment system can also be connected to your smartphone via the MySkoda Connect app. The app displays real-time speed, driving behaviour, car tracking, SOS, trip insights etc. and service / insurance / PUC due prompts:


Ambition and Style variants get a Climatronic climate control system with an "Air Care" air purifier function and a touch-and-slide function for adjusting the temperature and fan blower speed. Even on the move, the sliders are easy to operate without taking your eyes off the road as they are placed in a perfectly recessed area. Buttons for the idling start / stop system, central locking, hazard lamps and ventilated seats are located above. Ventilated seats sure are a boon in our hot climatic conditions:


The Kushaq is equipped with a wireless charging pad along with Type-C USB ports. I feel that adding Type-C USB ports is not a good idea as most people still use regular USB cables today. At least, one of them should have been a regular USB. Skoda is clearly inspired by Apple!


12V power socket is located just ahead of the gear shifter:


6-speed gear-shifter is absolutely superb with smooth, short throws and well-defined gates:


A close look at the carbon fiber-like panel on the dashboard:


Bird's eye view of the center console. Cupholders get a rubber base:


Ahead of the cupholders is a deep slot to place a smartphone:


Beneath the center armrest is a deep, but narrow 2.2 litre storage compartment:


The passenger's side of the dashboard gets a shiny panel with embossed 'Skoda' branding. It's very well-executed and premium looking:


At 6.1 litres, the glovebox is accommodating. The glovebox's opening & closing actions feel very solid & satisfying. We did it a couple of times just for the fun of it!


It gets a cooling function, but no illumination. We feel that it is the latter that'll be more used!


Roof bezel holds two individual lights, sunroof controls and the Bluetooth mic:


Sunvisors have a basic design, yet they don’t feel flimsy. Driver-side unit merely gets a flap to hold slips (no mirror or illumination), while the passenger-side piece gets a vanity mirror, but there's no cover or light provided:


Spring-loaded grab handles have been provided above each door, including the driver's! Why for the driver? Well, some old or overweight people can use it for easier ingress / egress. I like how they are recessed inside the roof moulding:


The Kushaq gets 6 airbags in total, including dual front airbags, side airbags (no seat covers please) and curtain airbags:


A glance at the roof moulding & sunroof cover. We found the roof liner quality to be budget-grade and more suitable to a B2-segment hatchback, not a crossover that's going to cost much higher:


While some of the competition offers a panoramic sunroof, the Kushaq makes do with a regular unit, which is fairly sized for the cabin:

Last edited by Rehaan : 26th June 2021 at 10:12.
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Old 26th June 2021, 09:30   #5
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Rear doorpads have an identical theme to the front ones. The 50W rear speakers are housed in them. The front and rear doors, both, open in a triple-stage action:


Wide door pockets can hold a water bottle and other knick-knacks with ease:


Legroom is healthy and even two 6-footers can sit one behind the other:


A glance at the minimum / maximum legroom available:


Mod Aditya @ 5'10" had enough knee space with the front seat adjusted to his seating position. The backrest is set at a comfortable angle and the bench is supportive. Under-thigh support is very good, as evident in this picture. Aditya had ~3 inches of headroom to spare:


The center armrest is positioned at a comfortable height. It is wide & soft, and comes with two cupholders:


Rear seat has nice contours for support. While three 3-point seatbelts and three adjustable headrests have been provided, the rear seat is better suited for 2 adults and a kid (rather than 3 healthy adults). If it is two overweight adults, even a kid cannot be accommodated. Also, the middle area of the backrest protrudes (due to the armrest) and the seat base is elevated in the center. The headrests have a firm compound:


Rear bench gets ISOFIX child seat anchors on both sides:


Window line rises toward the rear. Shorter occupants will find this restricting their view outside. The rear glass rolls down all the way. While the bottom half is dark-coloured, a lighter top ensures one doesn't feel stuffy inside:


Both front seats have deep seatback pockets and - uniquely - smartphone pockets for rear passengers to use. Very nifty! Hyundai and Kia need to learn from Skoda here. While all three carmakers offer front ventilated seats, Hyundai and Kia cars come with horrible hard plastic surfaces on the seatback, while the Skoda gets soft seatbacks that don't hurt the rear passenger's knees:


Two Type-C USB charging ports are provided below the simple rear vents. Wish Skoda had provided at least one Type-A port which is more widely used today. Skoda is clearly taking inspiration from Cupertino here!


Spring-loaded grab handles get coat hooks. I like how they are recessed inside the roof moulding:


Floor hump is medium-sized, but still, this isn't a car in which a 5th adult will be welcomed:


Rear light console is sharp looking! It consists of two individual LED lights:


Whitish roof liner dips in where headroom is required:


At 385 litres, boot space is more comparable to sub-4 meter crossovers like the Sonet (392L) & WR-V (363L) rather than the Seltos (433) or Duster (475L). That being said, the boot is well shaped and there is enough depth too. Weekend holiday luggage for your family should fit in.


A wide tray with a prominent border has been provided:


Practical bag hooks on both sides of the boot:


The boot light and first-aid kit are on the right:


Tools are stored in a good Skoda-branded leather bag. Still, it should've been hidden out of view, instead of being stuck on the boot floor. The boot looks ugly with pouches for the tools, first-aid kit & warning triangle all visible:


Rear seats can split in a 60:40 ratio. Folding the seatbacks down gives you 1,405 litres of cargo capacity. Floor is far from flat though:


Spare is a 16” rim with a 205/55 section tyre. Subwoofer is located inside it:


Tailgate gets partial cladding on the inside:


A plastic piece has been provided to pull the tailgate down. Different from the kind of handles we usually see:

Last edited by Rehaan : 26th June 2021 at 10:13.
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Old 26th June 2021, 09:30   #6
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!

Last edited by Aditya : 26th June 2021 at 09:45.
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Old 26th June 2021, 10:00   #7
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Thanks for such a good review

Quote:
Out on the open road, the power on tap makes the 1.5 TSI a fast performer and a whole lot of fun. Skoda says it'll do 0 - 100 in 8.6 seconds on a good day and we totally buy that (1.0 TSI's timing is 10.6 seconds).
Impressive!! 1.5 TSI MT Kushaq should be the fastest car below 20 lakhs . Hope the Skoda claim is right. Seltos 1.4 MT has done 8.9s on VBOX.

Overdrive figures (for automatic)

Skoda Kushaq Review-screenshot_20210626095345__01.jpg

https://www.overdrive.in/reviews/202...d-test-review/

Autocar

Skoda Kushaq Review-screenshot_20210626101316__01.jpg

Skoda Kushaq Review-screenshot_20210626100951__01.jpg

Last edited by Dr.Naren : 26th June 2021 at 10:23.
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Old 26th June 2021, 10:00   #8
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Thank you GTO, Aditya & Chirag for taking out the time and efforts for putting up the most awaited review in such a short span of time. The car looks absolutely gorgeous in this carbon steel shade and if we de-chrome the front grill in this particular shade, it’s going to look sinister. I am super excited for the Kushaq and Skoda’s future, I will be visiting the service centre in a week’s time and then have a close look. Kushaq might as well be the second vehicle in our garage assuming it offers similar driving experience like the Rapid if not better. Will definitely wait for a year or two to let them iron out all the niggles as has been always suggested by the man himself. Thanks again for such a detailed review

Last edited by sachin_cs : 26th June 2021 at 10:02.
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Old 26th June 2021, 10:01   #9
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The Alcazar left me underwhelmed, but the Kushaq left me overwhelmed! Absolutely loved the 1.5L TSI motor, fantastic 6-speed MT (best manual I've shifted in a long time), solid build and perfect suspension tune. You should've seen us flying down the Lonavla ghats. Everyone knows how I love the Seltos and this car also goes straight to the top of my recommendations list. The main downsides are the lack of that terrific 1.5L diesel & other Skoda-related stuff = DQ200's pathetic reliability and the fact that Skoda's long-term ownership is never trouble-free (patchy reliability, bad dealers, expensive spares, electronics, injectors, water pumps...). Are you willing to forego some peace-of-the-mind and endure some nonsense for driving pleasure & European finesse? Are you willing to suffer headaches for a couple of days a year, to enjoy the rest? That's a question you have to answer yourself.

Skoda is going to see volumes now that it's never seen before. From a 1500 cars / month company, it's just become a 6000 cars / month organisation. Hope the company & its dealers can handle the sales increase. As they say in the auto industry, there really is no company problem that a good car cannot solve. Make no mistake, this is the most important car for Skoda India since the 1st-gen Octavia marked the company's debut.

Sucks that they didn't make their brilliant 1.5L Diesel BS6-compliant when everyone else did. With a Diesel MT & AT, this is easily a 8000 cars / month model (subject to good pricing of course!).

Monday is the launch and I am excited as well as worried! In recent times, Skoda has shown an inclination toward profitability above all else (Octavia + Kodiaq were both overpriced by a few lakhs, as was the Karoq & RS245). I expect Skoda to charge a premium for what is truly a great package, but they shouldn't go overboard and make it overpriced. Competition is fierce in the segment.

Last edited by GTO : 26th June 2021 at 11:03.
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Old 26th June 2021, 10:04   #10
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Thanks for the detailed review folks! What better way to start a weekend. Rating it 5 stars.

I like the car all round. Always been a fan of German (ok Czech!) engineering and attention to detail even in invisible areas like wheel wells and under body. Great it all continues in the -IN platform also. I hope the crash test and results are out soon and complete the package statistically as well. I liked the cabin and the exterior looks quite a lot. The only unpleasant items in my opinion -
  • Lack of a diesel. Thats an instant turn off for low rpm diesel-heads like me, who like diesels for the engineering, not for fuel price. Especially disheartening to see these European masters of oil-engineering turning back.
  • The rear section design in side profile appears a bit abrupt. The car appears to end suddenly at the back. Somewhat like the XUV3OO but not as awkward. Slightly disproportionate to the rest of the dimensions imo. Not a big deal though. I'm sure the longer wheelbase also has a part to play in this appearance.
  • The inner plastic door panel trims look a bit too dull for such a stylish car. Others in the segment are a bit more imaginative. Not a deal breaker though, surely the Europeans make up for it in terms of build quality and solid feel when using.

Last edited by Reinhard : 26th June 2021 at 10:11.
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Old 26th June 2021, 10:08   #11
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Great review guys.

Suggestion:

1. It would be useful to have some side by side images of the Kushaq against the Creta / Seltos on one hand and Venue / Sonet on the other. This is a top of mind consideration for some. As for the size difference, I’m glad they’ve let the difference in their respective sizes mostly play out in the boot. This is where it would impact people the least. (Apologies if I’ve missed this somewhere in the review.

2. I hope this review will be updated with the drives of both the automatics soon. That’s where a good chunk of buyers would lean.

Engine / variant selection

I think with both the Creta as well as the Kushaq, one important comparison is the exact driving experience between the DSG / DCT and the TC automatic variants available in the same car.

For someone fixed on buying a petrol automatic it would be worth getting specific perspective on the driving experience between the top end turbo petrol DCT / DSG equipped variant vs the top end TC equipped variant. In the Creta’s case I’d say people might make the shift to Alcazar even to get the comfort of the TC automatic with the bigger engine even though the 1.4 DCT is more fun to drive.
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Old 26th June 2021, 10:09   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Absolutely loved the 1.5L TSI motor, fantastic 6-speed MT (best manual I've shifted in a long time), solid build and perfect suspension tune. Everyone knows how I love the Seltos and this car also goes straight to the top of my recommendations list.
Thanks GTO and Aditya for the absolutely wonderful review, such a joy to read this!

Would love to hear your detailed comments on how the 1.0 MT & AT drive and compare to 1.5 MT & DSG? This is something I look forward to keenly as am very much interested in 1.0 AT. Like Diesel Auto for Seltos, what would be your pick here?
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Old 26th June 2021, 10:09   #13
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Seeing from the photographs I could see premium feel factor in every design element of the car and somehow reminds me of Jeep compass feel. Who knows this 1.5L variant of Kushaq may be preferred by many prospective Jeep compass buyers.
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Old 26th June 2021, 10:17   #14
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Thanks for the review

Kushaq 1.0L seems to be the pick of the lot. Guess the AT varaint will draw in most volumes if priced right.

Expecting the price to start at ₹ 9.5 lakhs with the 1.5L MT at ₹ 16 lakhs ex-showroom.
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Old 26th June 2021, 10:18   #15
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Going by the reviews, it seems 1.0 is no slouch and perhaps is more fun compared to the 1.5L engine.

Overall a great ‘Indian’ car. I am glad Skoda made it this way because I genuinely want them to survive in our market. Going full monty as an enthusiasts’ car would have made us happy but they actually don’t sell in India. This on the other hand has good legroom, engine with good drivability, a tag line for good FE (Active cylinder tech) and a sunroof. Should be a hit.

Last edited by Pancham : 26th June 2021 at 10:19.
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