Skoda has released the first official design sketches of the new Kushaq, a compact SUV on which the VW Group company is pinning its hopes for India. The Kushaq, which will be launched in India on 18th March this year, is based on the Skoda Vision concept car and is part of Skoda’s India 2.0 product campaign. The first of four new models that Skoda and VW will launch in India shortly, the Kushaq, will be manufactured in India with a planned 95 per cent localisation level. The SUV is based on the company’s MQB-A0-IN platform. It will be fully compliant with the new safety and emissions norms being implemented in the country. Skoda’s technology centre in Pune has been responsible for a fair share of the Kushaq’s technical research and development.

The word ‘Kushaq’ means king, or emperor, in Sanskrit. The design sketches show sharp, narrow, two-part headlights, a wide front grille and a sculpted front bumper with underride protection. At the back, there’s an elongated roof spoiler, stylish taillamps, and the word ‘Skoda’ prominently embossed in the rear hatch. No details have been released about the compact SUV’s engine or transmission. Still, we expect the Kushaq will get Skoda’s 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre TSI engines, with 6- and 7-speed automatic transmission. Prices could start at around Rs 11 lakh for the base model, going up to Rs 16 lakh for the top-end variant.

For Skoda, which only sold around 1,300 cars in India in December 2020, the Kushaq is a significant launch, as it seeks to muscle its way back into the top rung of big-selling auto companies in the country.