Compact SUVs are all the rage in India currently. Companies like Maruti, Hyundai, Renault, Nissan, Kia, Tata, Mahindra and Ford are already battling it out in this segment. Now Skoda has joined the fray with the all-new Kushaq. Skoda’s 5-seater baby SUV was launched yesterday with an ex-showroom price tag of Rs 10.49 lakh.

Skoda, which is aiming to widen its reach in the Indian market by expanding the dealer network in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, hopes that the Kushaq will lead this renewed sales push. With its handsome styling, choice of two turbocharged petrol engines, high-tech automatic transmission, and generous proportions (its 2,651mm wheelbase is the longest in its segment, which hopefully translates into more space for occupants), the Kushaq looks well placed to capitalise on the continually rising demand for compact SUVs in the country.
Engine options for the Kushaq include a 115bhp 3-cylinder 1.0-litre TSI unit and a 150bhp 4-cylinder 1.5-litre TSI mill. Both these turbo-petrol engines can be had with a 6-speed manual, while a 6-speed automatic is optional with the smaller engine. The 1.5 TSI gets the option of a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, which is known for its swift, decisive gear changes and is ideally suited to the sportier performance that the 1.5 engine offers.

The Kushaq offers a decent 385 litres of boot space, which increases to 1,405 litres when the rear seats are folded. The interiors are well-appointed, with ventilated leather seats, a high-end 6-speaker infotainment system with a 25.4cm colour touchscreen, four USB-C ports for charging mobile devices and full smartphone connectivity. Real-time car tracking, driving behaviour analysis, trip analysis and insights, and roadside assistance are all available via the MySkoda smartphone app.

Safety features include anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic stability control, rollover protection, multi-collision braking and a tyre pressure monitoring system. There are   3-point seatbelts for every seat, six airbags and  ISOFIX child seat mounts. Parking sensors are standard, and these, along with a rear-view camera (with static guide lines that appear on the screen when reverse gear is engaged), make life easier for the driver while manoeuvring into tight spaces. 

‘Kushaq is made keeping in mind what really matters to our customers and is localised and tailored to suit the Indian market. Built on the acclaimed MQB-A0-IN platform, Kushaq is well designed, robust, exceptionally well-built, safe and spacious. With a world-class SUV that is ready for India, we are looking at taking the Skoda brand to new and emerging markets across the country,’ says Zac Hollis, Brand Director, Skoda Auto India.

Kushaq isn’t exactly inexpensive. Yes, the base model starts at Rs 10.49 lakh ex-showroom, but the top-end variant goes up to Rs 17.59 lakh. So, if you want goodies like the 1.5-litre engine and 7-speed DSG, it will cost you a pile. Skoda is offering a 4-year / 100,000km warranty to sweeten the deal, which can be further extended to 6 years / 150,000km.