You know if players who don’t command a lion’s share of the market also venture into something that is increasingly popular, it is time to understand that there are years of market research gone in to this. Customer clinics, prototypes and what not are made and shown and then the company gets the approval to go ahead and make the product. Something like this happened with Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Private Limited. The brand(s) have decided to bring in their world-renowned modern MQB platform to the Indian market. On top of it, they have also added A0-IN in the end, signifying the importance of the Indian market. The first product, the Skoda Kushaq is ready for a launch soon. We were shown the vehicle and it does look impressive. However, it has to contend with the reigning champions – Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos and so on. Amongst similar-sized SUVs like the Renault Duster and its own upcoming cousin, the Volkswagen Taigun, the Kushaq has its work cut-out.
In this specification comparison, we will take a look at what the new Kushaq brings to the table when compared to the other cars mentioned here. Let’s take a look at the features list. In this mix, it is too early to speak about the features of the VW Taigun as the SUV is yet to be shown in production form, expect it to have a near feature-set as the Skoda. Speaking of which, the Skoda Kushaq has got ventilated front seats, a sunroof, cooled glovebox, a touchscreen infotainment system with wireless SmartLink function, and automatic climate control. The Renault Duster right now must be shying away in a corner. It doesn’t get any significant features except for the remote vehicle start function, which all the others too have. The Creta and Seltos take the features game two notches higher by even bringing in powered driver’s seat, around view monitor as well as front parking sensors.
In terms of seating comfort, the Skoda and Volkswagen products boast 2,651mm wheelbase. This notwithstanding, the rear seat space is okay for two grown-ups and putting in a third one will be a squeeze. We expect the Taigun to also be similar. Boot space at 385 litres is good but some sub-4m SUVs provide more. The Creta as well as Seltos too are quite comfortable but seating three at the rear will again come to push and shove. As for the Renault Duster, it is not only wide but can decently accommodate three passengers in the rear. The only bit is the rocking driver’s perch that is yet to be fixed by the company.
If pure features is what you seek from your cars, the Korean twins ace the game. The German and Czech should form the middle part while the Duster comes in the end. In terms of engine oomph, based on outright power, it is the Duster that trumps the other cars. It brings in 156hp of power and 254Nm of torque from its turbocharged 1.3-litre engine. A 6-speed manual or CVT can be paired with this engine. Skoda, with the Kushaq gives two turbo petrol engines. The higher capacity motor is the 1.5-litre unit that also comes with a start-stop mechanism, something we observed with the Duster as well. The 1.5-litre engine puts out 150hp of power and 250Nm. One gets a superior DSG or a 6-speed manual with this engine.
Both the Creta and Seltos boast a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine that makes 140hp of power and 242Nm. This engine is available with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. There is also the choice of a diesel, something that Renault or SAVWIPL doesn’t offer. While efficiency numbers aren’t out for the Kushaq or even the Taigun (expected to have the same engines as the Skoda), we think they should deliver around 17kmpl, slightly higher than what the Duster claims.
In terms of feel, the Duster seems the most rugged though we are yet to drive the Volkswagen and Skoda products. Our experience with the Creta and Seltos suggests that these aren’t dainty and can tackle bad road conditions without developing squeaks and rattles.
Look-wise, the Kushaq seems a whole lot smaller than it actually is. One can easily pass it off for a sub-4m vehicle. But it is not and measures 4.2 metres. That’s roughly the same size as the other SUVs mentioned here. For example, the Renault Duster has road presence but a familiar look means no second glances. Based on the number of units the Kia Seltos and the Hyundai Creta sell each month, their novelty too is fast waning. This leaves the Skoda and given the red, orange paint schemes it sports, could be an eye-catching vehicle on the road. The Taigun might have its own set of paint schemes but it looks very much understated.
While the Duster is the most affordable of these cars, the Skoda Kushaq prices are also expected to begin from Rs 10.5 lakh. 92 per cent localisation when the vehicle rolls out and subsequently, up to 95 per cent is what they claim for the Kushaq. Should be interesting to see.
Renault Duster: Rs 9.57 lakh – Rs 13.87 lakh
Kia Seltos: 9.89 lakh – Rs 17.45 lakh
Hyundai Creta: Rs 9.99 lakh – Rs 17.53 lakh
Skoda Kushaq: Rs 10.5 lakh – Rs 16 lakh (expected)
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