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Old 22nd November 2021, 12:17   #1
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Default Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style

From simpler times to an updated drive

After a decade since I'd last purchased a car, the need arose to replace my much loved Fiat Punto and it had to be a compact SUV that's effortless to use within the city and comfy enough for long drives. Three months for research, repeat test drives and then a rethink of my initial budget allocation led me to finally zero in on the baby Skoda - the Kushaq 1.0L MT Style variant.

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There were two personal reasons why I found the decision making process hard. Well, for one thing - it's raining compact SUVs these days and this demand seems to have allowed most them to be overpriced. My budget was a max. of 18 lakhs OTR.

The second reason was that frankly I was unaccustomed with having the kind of features on offer in cars these days. All my previous cars were simpler machines from a generation long gone. Some these features have become must-haves nowadays and some seem like fads (what's with the hype over a rarely useful sunroof option?)

The AT vs. MT dilemma

My ownership of Indian cars (after a stint with AT's while at college in the US) was kick started with a Fiat Palio Stile (petrol) in 2004. By 2009, a Scorpio VLX with the first version of the mHawk 2.0L engine was added to the stable. The Scorpio is still very much running (2.65 lakh on Odo).

The wonderful Palio (1.18 on Odo) was replaced with the gorgeously designed Punto Emotion 1.3L (diesel) in 2011. This brilliant machine that I'd often opted for over the Scorpio for solo inter-state drives was half heartedly sold a month ago (had clocked 1.35 lakhs on Odo by then) to make space for the Kushaq.

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So 12 years of diesel engines and enough time spent on the roads with their heavy or long travel clutch temperaments (read knee stiffness - I'm nearing 48 in earth years now) had definitely stoked my interest to revisit the light drive feel of a petrol car but it came with an indecisiveness of whether I should switch to an AT now.

However, every time an AT lured me into it's very persuasive comfort zone (the VW DSG especially), there was this feeling like a loss of drive control after the TD sessions. I suppose I'm still old-school in that respect. I kept wondering if I really was ready to let go of the joy of the classic shift down, floor it and shift up thrill as yet - nope not yet and not really was the answer from within.

So when the Kushaq was booked eventually, I stuck with the good old manual transmission. But I must say that till the day of delivery, there was a tiny nagging worry if I was making a mistake about the AT vs MT choice....Pleasant surprises were in the offing - but I didn't know that yet.


The 1.5L vs the 1.0L dilemma

By the end of my search, it was either the Taigun or the Kushaq as the final options on the table.

But after owning four pot engines in both petrol and diesel for so many years and being quite unaware of developments in the three cylinder engines domain, I found myself having an added confusion of choosing between the two.

The test drives of the all new & brilliant 1.0L EA211 engines in both the Taigun and the Kushaq introduced me to their capabilities for highway runs when needed but there was this nagging pull from within that a enthusiast would (and should) opt for the 1.5L

The catch here was the budget (isn't always the case?). Between the VAG twins, there were some compromises to be considered if one were to opt for the higher powertrain variants.

VW offers the Taigun GT in it's MT avatar and it was within my budget but it meant settling for the mid-variant in terms of essential/useful features - especially the number of air bags (why, VW, why?). The next option was the pricier GT in the top-end AT version and I couldn't stretch my budget by that much nor did I want an AT.

Skoda meanwhile has the 1.5L only in the top-end variants so their prices shot right out of my already stretched out budget of 18 lakhs OTR. The Style 1.5L MT variant would've touched 20 lakhs OTR after all the required additional fitments included. I did mull over an further extension in the down payment amount but the wifey reminded me of the other upcoming financial targets we'd planned for in the near future.

So it was going to have to be an 1.0L then. A period of research followed thereafter - from reliable senior enthusiasts & a particularly familiar, well respected motoring forum I know (aka Team-BHP ) and some selective inputs from YouTube channels.

This timely article published in Evo India about the latest iteration of the 1.0L engine from VW gracing the Taigun and Kushaq was also quite informative:

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https://www.evoindia.com/features/sp...ech-behind-tsi

With my research done with regards to the life-span and the performance of the 3 pot marvels these days, I decided to go for the Kushaq's 1.0L package.

The decision for which car to opt for was also based on other requirements which I have posted next.

The deciding factors

Besides my personal filters in choosing a new car for the points I'd mentioned earlier, there were these factors too that needed to work out for us as a family:

1. The drive comfort and handling: must be as good as or better than our capable little Punto (Yup, we're still fans of our old car)
2. The build quality and safety rating had to be good (both the Palio and Punto were great in this regard)
3. Good legroom and headroom at the back (my elder son is 6'2")
4. Adequate boot space would do - a football field in the back wasn't needed
5. Sound quality of the inbuilt music system was important for all four of us
6. Not too much tech in the car. For safety & travel ease, yes; for the heck of it, no (AI robots, please excuse )
7. The service costs should be justified for the value the car offered
8. Larger SUVs were out as our aged yet dependable Scorpio filled that need
9. Smaller hatchbacks & sedans were not being considered
10. Diesel engines : nope, too many years of them
11. Budget : 16 to max. 18 lakhs OTR


The hunt begins

The very first test drive taken in our hunt for a new car was on 13th August and it was the Kushaq. It was love at first drive, so to speak. Ticked all the boxes in our list perfectly and the OTR price of the Style 1.0L MT variant was within our budget. So we went ahead paid the booking advance of 45k on the 16th of August.

The stated waiting period of 20-30 days was agreeable with us. Till then, the Scorpio was the only vehicle for use (the Punto had a found a new owner in the previous month). But the mHawk had an errant fuel injector nozzle and required an EGR valve cleaning pronto, so a shorter waiting period for the new car was a must.

Bad news galore

As one is prone to do when you're awaiting your new acquisition, I began to read up on whatever I could find on the Kushaq. The previously unknown reports of the EPC errors (or 'horrors' for some unlucky early owners) had started gaining attention and started to bother me much more than it did initially. This alone made us think about looking around for other options, albeit dejectedly .

However we decided not to cancel our booking right then, since we were hopeful that the initial batch issues would be resolved at the earliest by Skoda - so it was keep-an-eye-on-Kushaq while some other cars were tested. First love is first love, after all

The other options explored

I wasn't interested in Hyundai or Kia (safety + not so involved drive feel, just my personal experiences here) so we considered the Ford Ecosport next & this was before the news of Ford exiting India was known. Anyhow, the four month waiting period informed over the initial call to the dealer just wouldn't work out for us. Didn't bother about any test drives because of that.

The Nissan Kicks was also a strong contender - I absolutely loved driving my friend's 2014 Terrano Diesel - but the meagre sales figures of the Kicks made us worried if the product may get discontinued in the future. The Magnite & it's sibling the Kiger weren't appealing on paper itself as the engine specs didn't catch my enthusiast interest. By then the options were running thin (and it felt like it wasn't raining compact SUVs anymore).

Subsequently, the news of Ford exiting our market was all over the news and in parallel, the Taigun & the MG Astor launches took place.

It was the Astor we could access first & I tried out both the engine options. However, the TD vehicles were only available in the AT variants (strangely) and both the 1.5L NA + the 1.3L turbo engines felt a wee bit bland (again, this is my personal opinion & I mean no disrespect to any of the new or potential Astor owners).

We didn't feel an immediate liking to the exterior design of this car. Moreover, the black (or dark grey, is it?) + off-white soft touch leatherette interiors in the option I felt was workable - the Smart 1.5L NA MT variant - didn't catch our fancy either.

In fact, it left us wondering how much care would be needed to maintain some of the frequently touched areas like this:

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I particularly found the the design of the AC vents weird - but then aesthetics is a subjective matter:

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So the Astor was dropped after a week of pondering over and I eagerly awaited a chance to test drive the Taigun - that car was in great demand by then for TDs.

Enter the Taigun

I had dropped in a pre-booking for the Taigun during it's pre-launch period and was sent an invitation to the launch event.

Initial impressions of the Taigun from the launch event was that it's a baby Tiguan with lot more bling (chrome, unnecessarily) on the exterior panels. Why, VW, why? The chrome seriously felt overdone and I kept wondering how the same could be stay protected since it was extensively used in the front & rear bumper lower areas.

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When I eventually got to do test drives of the Taigun, I noted that it's drive character was similar to the Kushaq but with an interior that felt brighter, sportier than the Kushaq's grey/black themed one. We became fans of the VW's interiors.

Features wise too, the Topline 1.0L MT variant is very similar to the Kushaq's Style 1.0L MT variant. That also worked out favourably for the VW.

For around two weeks, we were leaning towards the Taigun in the Topline 1.0L MT avatar. And it was to be a silver colour one.

The other colour options like red & yellow led to tussles between the kids and my wife. We were in agreement though that the white didn't bring out the best in the Taigun's exterior looks. So the silver was settled upon as part of my peace making strategy - which was met with grumbles but later went down okay.

Unfortunately, we couldn't see the silver colour in the flesh as the showroom didn't have one at the time. I had to rely on YouTube and Google to take a call on this. Here's a screengrab of the Taigun in silver from the awesome guys at AutoTrend YouTube channel:

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While all these developments were happening, the interest in the Kushaq had never weaned and purely in terms of exterior road presence - it was the Skoda's design language that myself and the family still found more appealing.

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The final decision

Throughout the research period from the first TD in August till the first week of November (when the Kushaq was revisited and finalised upon), I was still following up on whatever updates were being reported in the media about the Kushaq's initial hiccups.

The Honda City experience

For a brief span of a few days, I wondered if a sedan might actually work out since I wasn't able to yet come to terms with the Taigun's exterior styling and was still worried about the Kushaq's hiccups. And the only sedan I wanted to test out was the 5th gen Honda City in the petrol MT version. Now one simply does not do a short TD of this marvelous, accomplished i-VTEC engine - you have to have time to get real acquainted with it.

So I got myself an extensive hour long TD of the ZX MT variant with a proper city + a brief highway stretch, topped off with a tyre screeching (a rare moment of going bonkers) run up a steep hill route that had around nine hairpin bends. Ohmigosh! Now this experience is a story for another day but I must admit - the Honda City was a car that I just did not feel like giving back after the TD! A big shout-out to TVS Honda for allowing me to do such a long TD.

The engine and drive character was the only thing going for the City as far as we were concerned. Dated looking interiors (loved the dial knobs on the centre console though), slightly lower ground clearance and very low headroom which squashed my elder son at the back swiftly took this beautiful car off our options list.

The Kushaq re-visited

Meanwhile, the Taigun was test driven twice - in the city only, all prim & proper because I could feel the sales guy breathing down my neck. That point ignored, I felt that the more I drove the Taigun, the more I realised how identical it was to the Kushaq in driving DNA. Objectively speaking, if one were to compare within the same priced variants, the Kushaq may end up taking a few negatives on it's side.

Here are the points I noted going against the Kushaq 1.0L Style variant in a side by side features comparo with the Taigun's 1.0L Topline variant:

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The misses weren't deal breakers (wished the brake assist feature was included though) and having the sub-woofer was a welcome addition.

But features list aside, when two such cars are identical in their driving characteristics, it finally boils down to what one would like to wake up in the car porch every morning. That, to me that had always been the Kushaq frankly.

November came along and by now, the Kushaq's issues with the fuel pump or whatever the reasons for the engine stalling seemed to be fairly sorted out - not many reports were seen popping up in our forum nor on social media.

I never cared much for the brief furore on social media about the roof liner. If it does the job, well and good.

However, there was still this thing about the door seals (seemed to be the same case with Taigun as well) and a quick research found a work around for this. Got me thinking though: it's 2021 and squeaky door seals straight from VW's production line? Jeez...

The Kushaq it is!

So after a couple of days of mulling over the Kushaq vs. Taigun choice with the Mrs. and my boys, we decided to go with our first love and rang up the Skoda showroom on November 10th. And there ended my search for a steed for the next 6-7 years.

Since our booking hadn't been cancelled, it was only a matter of finding out when a delivery could be planned for. To our good luck, there were two Kushaqs readily available thanks to cancellations from the week before. One was in red colour and the other in white. We wished they had a dark grey available too, since our previous Punto had been red and we didn't want red again.

Waiting it out for another 3-4 weeks to get the dark grey as not an option as two months had gone by since August and we needed a second car asap. We settled for the white eventually.

Personally, I had always liked this colour in the Kushaq, but the Mrs. & the kids weren't too happy about this. Today though, they've come to love the car for what it is rather than the colour it is.

The run up to the delivery date

The sales chap I was in contact with promptly shared the chassis number the very next day and I decoded the manufacturing date as October. They let me take my time to do a proper inspection in all aspects and I got to drive my car around their huge yard till I was completely satisfied.

Somehow it never occurred to me take photographs during my personal PDI I had never thought back then that I'd be writing this ownership report for the forum...

Anyways, all things were in order and it took hardly four days to get the bank work with SBI to get done but I had wanted a few things to completed from the dealership itself (details in the cost break-up post) so the delivery date was set for the evening of the 17th November.

Ever noticed how slowly the days go by when you're waiting to take delivery of a new car?

Cost break-up

The primary cost break up for Style 1.0L Mt variant came to Rs. 17,95,243/-

I opted for United India insurance through the dealership itself with the IDV value as Rs. 13,86,999/- and a premium of Rs. 34,246/-. The additional coverages included are engine protection platinum, nil depreciation, consumables coverage and return to invoice.

There was a discount offer for the 4 year standard maintenance package (SMP) at Rs. 15,999/- as against the standard Rs. 24,999/- and decided to splurge a little & got the accessories pack too.

Ex-Showroom-₹14,59,999.00
TCS-₹14,600.00
United India Insurance-₹34,246.00
Registration Charges-₹2,21,500.00
FASTag-₹600.00
Accessories Pack-₹18,800.00
Warranty (5th+6th yr)-₹29,499.00
SMP (4 years)-₹15,999.00

Total-₹17,95,243.00

Besides these costs, I got the 3M CR70 sun-film for the front windscreen and the RE70 on the four windows for a bargained down rate of Rs. 17,500/- from the dealer. Also got the PVC floor matting done by them for an inflated price of Rs. 5,500/- (which includes a mat for the boot).

The only reason I decided to get this done at the dealership was because the Style variants have ventilated seats and I felt it was better the dealership took care of the seat and AC ducting removal + re-installation when the floor matting was being done.

All in all, the net cost of this vehicle on the road came to Rs. 18,18,243/- as of November 17th, 2021 at Coimbatore, TN.

Taking delivery & the first drive experience

I've always been weary of elaborate car delivery formalities. My wife shared the same views, so we requested the team at SGA Cars, Coimbatore to keep the whole affair as short as possible. But kudos to SGA for lining up their entire sales staff on both sides and clapping for us as I drove the car off the showroom ramp.

That was unexpected and we were thankful for that gesture. We distributed sweets to the sales team members for their service and drove off into - you won't believe it - a torrential downpour with the evening city traffic going bonkers!

But the slow 15km, hour long drive back home weaving through congested traffic and avoiding lurking potholes made me realise that my decision of getting a MT in the Kushaq was okay. Though the clutch does have more travel than usual for a petrol car - I felt perfectly at ease quite soon and I'm enjoying the feel of this MT.

Likes and dislikes summary

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After clocking around 1300km on the odo, here's what makes me smile and what doesn't about the Kushaq:

The good stuff

1. The low end torque in first gear - zippy and effortless to shoot through gaps in congested traffic
2. Can amble around in the city traffic in the 2nd and 3rd gears - requires fewer shifts.
3. Linear torque on demand from 2k rpm up to the top-end & the engine's muted roar heard within the cabin.
4. The brakes are very responsive.
5. The clutch & gear box mating is spot on - finding the bite point of the clutch is almost intuitive.
6. Brilliant driving ergonomics - sit, fit & just go.
7. Surprisingly spacious cabin - both in the front and rear.
8. The seats are made for long drive comfort with good lumbar & thigh support.
9. Awesome suspension set up - takes everything thrown at it and negligible body roll.
10. Suave interiors & even better exterior design
11. Great infotainment system & good speakers.

The not-so-good stuff

1. Slow down to around 1.5k rpm and the turbo lag is felt.
2. The irritating gear shift prompt with a loud double-ding notification.
3. Why the terrible reverse camera quality?
4. The view in the IVRM is just about manageable.
5. The driver's door side armrest on the door is completely off - serves no purpose while doing long distances.
6. Front passenger seat height quite low - ingress/egress a hassle to shorter people.
7. Shiny plastics on the dashboard are scratch prone.
8. The touch control AC is a hassle to operate while driving.
9. Noisy window motors.
10. Noisy front seat ventilation.
11. Boot space with a raised lip could have been avoided.

Last edited by Aditya : 3rd December 2021 at 05:31.
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Old 29th November 2021, 22:33   #2
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It's hard to be unbiased about a car when you're frankly besotted by it. But here goes my best attempt at being more detailed in my findings with regards to all the elements that make up the Kushaq.

Being a photography enthusiast, I had a blast taking these pics for this report...beautiful cars must be done justice with beautiful pics.

The Interiors: More hits than misses?

The interiors of the cabin look suave in the two toned grey + black combo

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It's a mix of well thought out ergonomics and good build quality, only slightly let down by the feel of the hard plastics.

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The boot space is laid out very cleanly & it's quite adequate in terms of depth, width and height - for our needs that is, since we prefer to travel as light as possible for long trips.

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That raised boot lip should have been avoided

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The boot lamp & the two bag hooks provided (3 kg limit) on either side are thoughtful additions.

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The warning triangle's pouch and the tyre replacement kit bag are of nice and thick material with Velcro patches on their underside.

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Lifting the boot flap to access the spare tyre below is made easy thanks to a little notch on side.

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The Sub woofer is locked along with the spare tyre under the flap.

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Strangely, I've a got a Goodyear spare tyre in the boot and tyres the car's running on are MRF Wanderers.


The front and rear cabin LEDs are of the correct lux levels and the light quality provided enhances the dark themed interiors of the Kushaq.

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The direct charging sockets at the front and rear offer C-type ports only. These offer decent charging speeds for my 30W fast charge rated Android mobile.

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The wireless charging pad is tucked into storage pocket under the AC controls - this we found charges slower than acceptable. There's a 12V socket nearby too - all of the front charging points are located as a cluster.

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There are four predominant material textures used around the dash, the centre console and the door levers.

The shiny plastic used in this combo on the dashboard areas and the AC control panel are very prone to highlighting dust and super sensitive to scratches

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So absolutely no dry wiping with regular cloth or fingers under any circumstances - gotta use a microfibre cloth only

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The all prevailing light & dark grey plastic are not of the thickness one would expect from VAG by default after paying up approx. 18 lakhs.

That being said, the dashboard area is undoubtedly gorgeous...

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There's a controlled play of dark hues and varied material textures to the touch

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Tucking things away within different areas of the Kushaq is not a hassle at all. There are generously sized options offered at easily accessible, unobtrusive locations.

The cooled glove box and it's control dial

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The front center pockets

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Mobile pockets on the seat backs

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Large pockets for bottles on the sides of all four doors

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A nice touch: paper organiser strings within both the front door pockets

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Last edited by Aditya : 3rd December 2021 at 05:32.
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Old 29th November 2021, 22:41   #3
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There's loads of space inside which one does not expect until you step into it.

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Ample legroom for everyone and thigh support is very good at both the front & rear seats.

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The rear seats are 60-40 split and have the isofix provisions tucked away into the corners.

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The ingress/egress is not a problem thanks to the large opening radius of all the doors. But my wife who's around 5'6" finds stepping out of the front passenger side seat a bit of a hassle. Not sure if it's because this seat is set a tad lower than needed.

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The rear seat however is best for two adults only and max. a 12-13 year old in the middle. So is this car actually a five seater? Not really.

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So far the cooling capacity of the air conditioning is good but then this is winter time. The real test will be when summer comes around, so have to wait and watch. The blower is powerful and it can get a wee bit noisy at mid-levels.

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As for the AC's control system, the less said the better. A purely touch controlled interface is a ridiculous design - especially when one is driving solo.
It's an eyes-off-the-road task to control anything with it...like playing darts with your finger - miss the target and you'll have to take your eyes off the road again to rectify it.


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The vents at the rear do a good job but it would've been better if a simple rotary blower control was provided for it.

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The weird thing in this department are the ventilated seat feature: It's fast cooling and is definitely a boon on sunny days, but it sure is noisy. Most of the time though, one can switch to the lower setting after the initial cooling is felt and then things quieten down a lot.

The instrumentation cluster is an unabashedly dated design with the usual odo, tacho, engine temp. & fuel level gauges. In the middle sits a simple get-the-job-done MID.

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The info displayed in the MID is a familiar arrangement: driving data, vehicle status, call records & audio playing details.

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Controls for these are by the buttons and the rotary knob provided to the right of the two spoke steering. The large button on the top of the rotary knob here is dead for now - possibly to be given functionality in updated variants later?

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On the left side, a set of similar buttons and a rotary knob. There's a large one which is for voice inputs via Android auto/Apple car play and two smaller ones for song sequence control. The rotary knob is for adjusting the music/call volume.

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Everything is a cinch to operate while driving and one can do so without taking your eyes of the road most of the time.

Last edited by Aditya : 3rd December 2021 at 05:33.
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Old 1st December 2021, 12:49   #4
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Over to the infotainment unit: With a crisp display and a good size for legibility (45+ guys take note), this unit is great to have right up & centre of the dashboard. Alongwith it's responsive touch operation and OTA updates feature thrown in - it's a done deal. Till date there's been no lag or glitches in this unit.

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It takes just a few seconds to connect to the phone via Bluetooth for music and calls. A total of five mobiles can be paired with the console. There's enough customisation offered to the car's features from the console's settings. It's a long list so I'm not going into those details here.

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Music is seamlessly accessible when using the inbuilt Spotify app. Whatever is on your Spotify mobile app (playlists, podcasts, etc.) becomes accessible from the on-board console as well. Playing music via the two C-type ports in the front is also an option.

Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-78.jpg

A connection to the phone via the cable is required only for the first time set up - after that just leaving the location/GPS active on your mobile when inside the car connects you to the G-lady or G-maps.

Skoda has an option of using the Sygic app for free (downloadable over Wi-Fi) with a state-wise offline map functionality. But the catch is that there's no real time traffic data or re-routing functionalities then. If you need these feature to be active, then you have to take a subscription. Meh.


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The visibility of this screen when driving in bright, sunny days is a not an issue even at just 50% brightness setting.

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Some points of note in the various controls:

The engine start/stop button is exactly where the key start is in all cars. Initially, it felt like an odd position but later you realise it's a very familiar location.

Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-115.jpg

The window operation buttons and the OVRM control knob feels a tad flimsy. Not much of bother but still
Only the driver's window has automatic up/down feature with a force limiter.
And I have no clue as to why it is but the window operation is a nosier affair than what it should be.


Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-99.jpg

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The operation of the turn indicators are on the left steering stalk - a common placement in European brand cars.
The left stalk also serves as the high/low beam switch and houses the cruise control.
Cruise control speeds can be modulated for single kmph speed increase or decrease.


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The right steering stalk is for the front and rear wiper controls.
Shifting the stalk to the INT mode will activate the rain sensing wipers and the wiping interval control for the same is on the top edge of the stalk.
If the front windscreen wipers are running, the rear window is automatically wiped when the reverse gear is engaged.


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The front windshield wiper fluid throw is a wide spread burst that covers the entirety of the windscreen. Dang, it's good!

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The wiper blades seem to be like hard rubber, they do their job though...still, I might consider swapping it out for better ones by the next rainy season.

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The exterior light controls are typical of VAG - rotary type with the headlight level adjustment to the left of the same. When set to 'Auto' mode the rain sensing lights get activated.

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Rear view visibility from the OVRMs are good and being electrically adjustable they're easy to set as per one's needs.

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Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-110.jpg

The minor grouse I have is with the IVRM - it feels a little small in width and height but then again, the Kushaq's rear windscreen isn't quite wide or tall for that matter either. The auto-dimming feature on the IVRM is helpful for night drives in the city but make no mistake, they cannot offer protection from those who are blasting their aftermarket high power LED bulbs at you from the rear.

Why not give a manual tilt up/down also additionally? Auto-dimming + manual tilt IVRMs: a future standard that could be adopted for Indian spec cars?


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Speaking of rear views, the reverse camera is at best a joke (I'm being nice here). So I'll just leave it at that. But this seems to the same case with the Taigun and the Honda City I had test driven. Low camera quality, no adaptive guidelines and a wide angle lens that's just distorted beyond help. Why can't we get better rear view cameras for these mid-segment cars?

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Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-134.jpg

The sound quality from the music system and the 'Skoda sound' speakers are acceptable if you're not an hardcore audiophile. Even with the added sub-woofer, they're no match for some of the competitor's offerings in the same segment.

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Don't get me wrong, the system will not feel like a let down, but it's adaptive range will be felt lacking when switching music genres. Sound controls in the infotainment system is very basic: three presets & a three band graphic equalizer

Look, ma...I've got myself a sunroof wala car!

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If it were a choice, I would've opted out from this option. Anyhow, it's there and it's going to be rarely used, I tell you.

Since it isn't of particular interest to me nor my kids, I haven't bothered to poke my nose around it but the mechanical components do seem rather exposed.

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Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-102.jpg

Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-103.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 3rd December 2021 at 05:34.
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Old 1st December 2021, 17:25   #5
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The exteriors: All's good out here

Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-54.jpg

I find very few points of demerit in the Kushaq's exteriors. It's a design lover's delight and can be the perfect muse for a photography enthusiast.

I'll let the pics do most of the talking in this regard, with points of special note being highlighted.

The Kushaq's design DNA

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Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-125.jpg

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Sharp yet clean flowing body lines with just the right mix of chrome and black panels that give the Kushaq an understated premium cut

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The Skoda badge adorns the side panels on both sides

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The aggressive grill design lends a brute look

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The headlamp cluster is the pièce de résistance

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Cool details of the turn indicators on the OVRMs

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The side body lines flow from the front...

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And swoop up a little towards the rear

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To merge seamlessly to the tail lamp unit

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Controlled use of chrome all around

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Oh, the places we will go...

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Solid road presence

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But this bothers me. A lot.

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It's like a dust collector pan...

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But this doesn't! This cluster is my favourite part of the Kushaq's exteriors

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They are gorgeous, functional and I can't stop myself from drooling over them

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The throw of the LED projector lamps is pretty good as shown in the pics (Note: the headlight level adjustment was at max while taking these pics). The DRLs are super bright by themselves

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For extra visibility while taking a turn at night, the fog lamps (if one could call them that) switch on depending on the direction of the steering (the active cornering feature)

Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-127.jpg

Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-128.jpg

What I noticed about the Kushaq from the first sight is that Skoda has worked on the rear design in equal measure. I've come across comments about a few other brands wherein the front and rear were not in sync.

Not the case with the baby Skoda though: the tail lamp area is just as eye catching as the front end.

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The tail lamps are LEDs in the Style variant. The reverse lamp is quite bright which is a relief (tiny features that are really useful on daily basis)

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The Kushaq has two stances: from the front angle it's a beefy, mid-sized vehicle.

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Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-130.jpg

From the rear though, it can come across as more compact than it is. The longer wheel base of course helps upkeep the spacious cabin within.

Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-45.jpg

Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-51.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 3rd December 2021 at 05:35.
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Old 1st December 2021, 22:36   #6
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Here's a detail that I'm not a fan of: the honeycomb pattern areas look cool but are dirt collectors and require extra work while cleaning the recesses

Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-40.jpg

Last edited by rideon74 : 2nd December 2021 at 22:48.
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Old 1st December 2021, 23:58   #7
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A twist in the tale

I wish I could say that everything in my experience till date with my Kushaq has been satisfactory. For the drive dynamics and comfort plus an aesthetic satisfaction the baby Skoda has brought into my life, I'm thankful.

But I can't digest the fact that it has squeaky door seals. Not that it's not rectifiable - why has it not come to the attention of Skoda yet?

Anyways, the SVC manager has assured me that they've been provided with silicone based coating for treating the door seal rubber. The catch is that the application requires a curing time of at least 12 hours, so the car to be left with SVC effectively for two days...Jeez Why not replace the door seals as a recall job?

The other niggle is an off & on very mild rattling noise from somewhere behind the centre of the dashboard's console. This rattle - akin to some panel clip being loose within - has started popping up randomly when driving on patchy or rough tarmac but not when I'm on good roads or highways.

It's obvious that unless the innards of the dashboard are explored, the SVC guys are not going to be able to find that tiny piece of something or other that's inside causing the random rattle. And do I want them to take the dash apart for this? Obviously not!

Thankfully, it's not a constant companion yet but it certainly cannot be ignored. I've brought this to notice of the SVC, but for now I've decided to to wait and watch for increments or whatever else follows.

I suppose you can't have your cake and eat it too...I mean, other brands also have had their fair share of glitches in their new launches. So to be objective, when I went ahead and took a chance with recently launched product, it was a risk knowingly taken. Let's see how the Kushaq holds up in the years ahead.

Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-50.jpg

Last edited by rideon74 : 3rd December 2021 at 00:25.
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Old 2nd December 2021, 00:17   #8
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Some inferences from an inter-state drive recently

The baby Skoda had its first long drive on 20th Nov. on a Saturday afternoon and I returned by the next night on a Sunday, the 21st Nov. The total distance covered was 638km.

The route taken was Coimbatore - Palakkad - Ernakulam on the NH 544 (old NH47) and then on to NH66 to reach Kayamkulam (approx. 40km past Alappuzha). The same route was used while returning back but with a detour to the in-roads of Alappuzha town to visit the art show organised the Kochi Biennale Foundation there.

Having taken delivery on the 17th evening, I'd hardly clocked 50km in the two days till this journey and I'd always had someone or the other with me during that time. I really wanted some solo time with the car and when the opportunity came, I happily took it.

I looked forward to getting to know my 1.0L MT acquisition on this route specifically as it offers a good mix of varied motorable stretches: potholes ridden/top layer non-existent city roads + good to bad condition national highways + despairingly long stretches of Saturday evening traffic crawls.

Drive experience on city roads:

The first part of the journey meant snaking my way out from my home at CBE over approx. 20-22km of presently damaged city roads and the afternoon traffic to escape to the lovely, wide Salem - Ernakulam NH47 that leads to the Kerala border.

During the city drive the suspension characteristics became familiar. In one word: balanced. Not too soft, not to stiff - just right. Takes the undulating road patches and any mild potholes with nothing more than a confident, muted thud.

There's minimum amount of body roll from a driver's side perspective. Much later in this trip, I sat in the back seat for well over two hours and found the body roll is quite contained as a back passenger as well. I feel this minor amount of body roll is quite negligible for a vehicle that falls into the cross-over SUV segment.

Though the Kushaq has a little extra travel on the clutch, it's fairly light and the bite point is set just right. So the frequent up/down shifts between first & second gears needed while in traffic or over poor road conditions are not a hassle. And the oh-so-light steering meant minimum strain while navigating over the bad roads (an understatement actually) in the city.

Noted that the baby Skoda in the MT avatar can easily be used as a city car should one choose to opt for it but I'd like to add here that there's this eagerness to jump a bit while easing off the clutch from stand still to first gear. This characteristic is present in the AT version too apparently, as reported by various reviews by AutoCar and others. Got used to it now thanks to this long drive.

The eagerness in the first gear actually translates to a solid rush of power with a moderate push on the pedal to dart into gaps while in congested traffic. It'll go the distance too before a shift to second becomes warranted.

The only pain point noted by the time I got out of the city over the bad roads was the first signs of the door seal noises, intermittently at first but later becoming quite loud over the trip.

Highway driving experience:

Once on the wide open highway, the brilliance of this new gen 1.0L engine from VAG revealed itself and I can only say this: Wow.

This engine is certainly not shy in taking on any challenges. It just pulls and pulls till the 5th and the irritating gear shift notification will keep urging you on till you're on the 6th.

A healthy linear torque curve till the mid-range with a surprisingly capable higher range helps maintaining the 2k-2.25k rpm for most part of the highways - including the climbs over the fly-overs enroute while on 5th. The upshift to 6th is constantly suggested on the MID but as expected, it's best used for flat, level stretches where you'd need to only hold your speed constant.

This little 999cc marvel certainly isn't the one to hold back from owning if you're not interested in the 1.5L TSi. It'll do perfectly well within the city and on the highways for most people

The joy of the car's first highway run on the almost vacant Salem-Kerala stretch was fairly short-lived as the KL border whooshed by and almost immediately the first set of speed cameras loomed in front of me.

From then on, it was all about restraint. I had entered the land of strict 80/90kmph speed limits (very expensive if you flout these - not kidding), ridiculous number of intermittent speed cameras and high traffic density. Picked up my two companions from Palakkad and we headed off to the less exciting part of the route on agenda.

The otherwise irritating 80kmph warning ding actually became helpful on Kerala roads. I set the trip speed warning to 90kmph on the MID as an extra precaution and was still happily doing the 4th-5th-4th dance while the traffic slowly kept increasing as Ernakulam neared.

This is where I noted that the 1.0L TSi won't require an additional shift down to the 3rd for gentle overtaking. We were three adults in the car by then and found that it'll still hustle if you decide to floor it in 4th provided you're almost past the 2k mark on the the tacho. The torque on offer helps keep the pace effortlessly.

Traffic snarls and congested roads experience:

The next part of the drive - say about 40km before Edappally junction and then later till approx. 100km all the way to Kayamkulam was pretty frustrating - especially on a Saturday evening: heavy traffic that requires good patience for over two hours and constant shifts from neutral to staying between the 2nd & 3rd gears...

These are the kind of stretches where my left knee would stiffen up and hurt when I was using the Scorpio or my earlier Punto for the past few years. But nope, not this time.

On a side note: the door seal creaking noises had become really pronounced by this time and I made mental note of swinging by the SVC asap after this journey to get the lube or whatever it is done.

During these horrible snail pace stretches, we stopped thrice for quick kadak-chai breaks and it was quite a relief to note that I wasn't feeling the knee joint stiffness at all every time I got out of the car. It had worried me while taking the test drives in both the Kushaq and the Taigun. For me personally, after many years, this single benefit transcribed to a feeling of being a lot less tired when I got back home last night.

The return trip was on Sunday and though I could only start back from Kayamkulam by noon, things were much better - way less traffic than the previous day and we made a brief stopover at the art exhibition venue at Alappuzha, organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation.

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Fuel efficiency calculations:

Besides the driving experience, my focus was obviously on the fuel efficiency too since I'd shifted from diesel to petrol after a long hiatus. Here are the details of what I had made a record of:

I did the tank full to tank full (1st stop) method. Decided to go for normal fuel since that's the one I'll be using by choice and what will be most easily available generally. There's a good HP pump very near to my place and the full pump reading showed 35.18L when I'd topped it up on the early morning of Saturday before the trip.

Went back on Monday morning (had just got back late on Sunday night) and filled tank full with the first stop to note a reading of 38.62L. The total trip distance from the pump & back to the pump is showing as 638km. The petrol price had nut fluctuated (which was helpful for this test), so that remained constant at Rs.101.88

I guess I could ignore the 3.44L or an average of 34.44km on the odo (10km per L x 3.44L, safe side estimate) to round off the calculation inputs as:

35L petrol - 634.5km - Rs.101.88 per L of petrol

Which leads to an average efficiency of 18kmpl or Rs.5.62 per Km. Not bad. Not bad at all - I'm actually surprised.

There were hardly 50-60km of clean drive highway stretches were I could keep a steady 2k-2.25k rpm and the rest of the 570km or so mostly traffic ridden, so I had to accelerate/brake accelerate constantly or just try to stay within 60 or 70kmph max when possible thanks to evening traffic.

I must add this point too: there were no hard accelerations done nor were there any periods wherein I did speeds of above 90kmph. I just wanted to go easy since the engine is still very new. So I suppose the average may dip a little if I were to maintain speeds of 120kmph when on other highways in the future but an oil change was planned soon, so that may balance things out a bit.

But so far, so good.

The next steps on the agenda

What I'm trying to make time for at the earliest is:

1. Get the door seals issue fixed
2. Get an oil change done

I've maintained this procedure of getting the oil & oil filter change after the first 1300-1500km on every car I've bought till date. Maybe an old school practice, but I'd rather continue with this for my peace of mind. Till I'd clocked approx. 1200km, the max speed was maintained around 90-95kmph with no hard revving at all - especially on the recently taken inter-state drive. And for the past 100km or so, I've slowly been giving small doses of hard revs to work the engine up till the oil change.

Besides these two SVC related tasks, a bit of indulgence is also planned

This:

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and this:

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There's a dealer organised Kushaq group drive invite that came by WhatsApp yesterday:

Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style-kushaq-drive.jpeg

It's nice that SGA Cars are making an effort to build brand loyalty and I must say, that this is one dealership that does things with a touch of class. So I suppose the event should be a fun. Will update on the experience after Sunday.

Last edited by Aditya : 3rd December 2021 at 05:29.
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Old 3rd December 2021, 08:31   #9
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Reviews section. Thanks for sharing!

Going to our homepage today
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Old 3rd December 2021, 10:42   #10
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style

First things first, many congratulations for your new car. I enjoyed reading this detailed thread, especially the high quality pictures explaining the feature and functionalities adds to the content.

Here's wishing you many miles of happy driving with your baby Skoda.
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Old 3rd December 2021, 12:14   #11
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style

Congratulations on your new sweet ride. The 1L turbo petrol is one gem of an engine. Even I like Kushaq over the Taigun (personal design choice & preference). Well written review and wishing you happy miles ahead.

One of my relative is also looking out for a new vehicle and he currently drives a Polo TDI which has done almost 3 lacs kms. He is a VW fanboy, I tried to suggest Kushaq but he is leaning more towards Taigun being a VW fanboy. I tried to convince him that both are same vehicles and yet he says "VW is better than Skoda". I just gave up convincing.

Apart from the initial niggles and cost cutting on roof liner, the Kushaq has one of the best packages locking horns with segment best sellers Korean twins.
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Old 3rd December 2021, 13:13   #12
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style

Fantastic write-up, and a big congrats on your new ride!

Not sure if you ahd a chance, but did you get a chance to compare the 1.0 vs 1.5. How big of a difference was it? And what convinced you to go with 1.0 and not stretch the budget for the 1.5?
I ride an Amaze diesel, love the torque, so I'm just unsure if the 1.0 would feel like a downgrade overall.
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Old 3rd December 2021, 14:19   #13
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style

Congratulations!! Wishing you many miles and happy journeys.

This is a perfect review from someone who simply wants to understand the pros and cons of a vehicle, without getting too technical. I have been sitting on the fence for a while and Kushaq is on the short list. I own a 11 year old Honda City and feel its time to flip it. This review gives a good idea of what to expect of the 1.0. Though the experience can be very subjective, I am convinced that for a sedate driver like me and mainly for the city use, the 1.0 would suffice (though I itch towards the 1.5 for obvious reasons).

Thank you for sharing in such detail.
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Old 3rd December 2021, 15:54   #14
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style

Excellent attention to detail and very unbiased review.

I certainly echo your observation with regard to fuel efficiency. Given the common perception about turbo petrols, fuel efficiency figures delivered by TSI engines are definitely matching the diesel ones. Anyways, congratulations once again and welcome to the club and wish you many more happy miles.
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Old 3rd December 2021, 16:11   #15
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Skoda Kushaq 1.0L MT Style

Quote:
Originally Posted by vabhian View Post
Here's wishing you many miles of happy driving with your baby Skoda.
Haha! I started calling it the baby Skoda after I had test driven the 1.5L variant in the Kushaq. Thank you for reading through my review!
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