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Skoda Kushaq (2021): Small SUV for India (update)

We recently had the discussion in the editorial office: Wouldn't the Skoda model range also fit a small SUV underneath the 4.24 meter long Kamiq? After all, the Volkswagen Group has the Seat Arona and the VW T-Cross. Now the Czech brand is showing a new model for India. His name: Skoda Kushaq.

With an official design sketch, Skoda is now providing a first glimpse into the interior of the new Kushaq. As already known from other models from the Czech car manufacturer, the interior is characterized by a large, free-standing infotainment display.

The Skoda Kushaq will be officially presented this month and is the first of four models from the Skoda and Volkswagen brands as part of the INDIA 2.0 product offensive. The vehicles are manufactured locally in India and are based on the MQB-A0-IN version of the modular transverse matrix from the Volkswagen Group specially adapted by Skoda for India.

The central element in the interior of the new Skoda Kushaq is the free-standing infotainment display with a screen diagonal of up to 10 inches. The character line running underneath can also be clearly seen on the interior design sketch; it cites the symmetrical contours of the Skoda grille.

The car doesn't seem to be that small after all: According to Skoda, the dimensions of the Kushaq correspond to those of a mid-range vehicle, at the same time the new SUV model for the Indian market offers plenty of space as well as numerous storage options and various Simply Clever details.

The Skoda Kushaq and the other volume models as part of the INDIA 2.0 project are based on the locally developed and produced MQB-A0-IN platform. Skoda has adapted this version of the modular transverse matrix from the Volkswagen Group specifically for the Indian market and has already designed it for the new, stricter safety and emissions requirements in India. The technical development takes place in the Skoda technology center in Pune, a deep localization of 95 percent is planned for the new vehicles.

On the first design sketch of the body, the powerfully drawn front of the new Skoda Kushaq can be seen, the name of which goes back to the ancient Indian language Sanskrit. There is the word, Kushak steht for king or ruler. The sharply cut, two-part front headlights that extend as far as the wide Skoda grill are striking. The massive front bumper with underride protection underlines the athletic appearance of the SUV.

The second sketch shows the rear of the new Skoda Kushaq. It is clearly structured and is framed by an elongated roof spoiler and a robust rear diffuser in the bumper. The rear lights of the compact SUV are characterized by crystalline structures typical of the brand, as well as the Skoda lettering in individual letters on the tailgate.

The manufacturer officially describes the Kushaq as a "mid-range SUV". It should offer generous space, typical of the brand, and will be available with two TSI engines. The Kushaq is the brand's first series model based on the MQB-A0-IN version of the modular transverse matrix specially adapted by Skoda for India, which is also used for other Volkswagen Group models on the Indian market.

VW is planning to introduce the Taigun, a kind of local long version of the T-Cross, there in spring 2021. The Taigun also uses the MQB-A0-IN platform. The new Skoda Kushaq will celebrate its world premiere in March 2021 on the Indian subcontinent.

Picture gallery: VW Taigun (2021) for India

Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Skoda, says: "The Kushaq marks the start of a model offensive that consists of four new mid-range models from Skoda and Volkswagen. All of these vehicles will be based on the MQB-A0-IN version of the modular transverse matrix, the Skoda specially developed for the needs of the Indian market. "

With the Kushaq, Skoda is occupying the fast-growing segment of medium-sized SUVs on the subcontinent for the first time, thus offering the third SUV in India alongside Kodiaq and Karoq. Built on the basis of the MQB-A0-IN, the Skoda Kushaq is ideal for driving in major Indian cities. Its long wheelbase of 2,651 millimeters (exactly like the Kamiq) as well as the robust appearance and the large wheels make it appear significantly larger than it actually is.

Due to the camouflage, not much can be seen optically, but the design of the Kushaq seems to be based on the Kamiq and looks a bit shorter than it. Depending on the equipment line, the Skoda Kushaq has front headlights and daytime running lights with LED technology as standard. The taillights and brake lights are also equipped with distinctive and immediately reacting LEDs.

Two efficient TSI petrol engines with a displacement of 1.0 and 1.5 liters are available for the exclusively front-wheel drive new Skoda Kushaq. Three transmission variants are also available: 6-speed manual transmission, 6-speed automatic and 7-speed DSG.

The high seating position, which is typical for SUVs, ensures a good overview. In addition, the height adjustment of the driver's seat and the adjustable steering wheel enable an individually suitable position for each driver. The state-of-the-art infotainment systems have a large central display with a touch function. Depending on the equipment line, an air conditioning system or automatic Climatronic ensure that the interior is pleasantly air conditioned.

Up to six airbags - driver and front passenger airbags, optional front side airbags and head airbags - protect the occupants, the ESC ensures a high level of driving safety. Hill start assist, rain and light sensors and a cruise control system also increase safety and comfort. A control display for constant monitoring of the tire air pressure is also on board.

Since June 2018, Skoda has been coordinating all activities of the Volkswagen Group on the Indian subcontinent as part of the INDIA 2.0 project. The aim is to sustainably strengthen the presence of Skoda and the Volkswagen Group in India by significantly expanding the range in the volume segment.

The Volkswagen Group is investing a total of one billion euros in the project, of which 275 million euros will go into research and the development of mid-range SUVs and sedans. In addition, Skoda also controls the activities of Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini in India. A total of almost 30 models cover different market and price segments.

Since October 2019, the Czech automobile manufacturer has headed Skoda Volkswagen India Private Limited (SAVWIPL), which was previously merged from three independent companies and controls all local activities of the Volkswagen Group.

The locally developed and produced MQB-A0-IN platform forms the technical basis for the new Skoda Kushaq and the upcoming volume models. This is already designed for the new, stricter safety and emissions requirements in India. A deep localization of 95 percent is planned for the new vehicles, with technical development taking place in the Pune Technology Center, which opened in January 2019.

In 2019, a total of around three million vehicles were sold in India - with a population of more than 1.3 billion people. The Skoda model range for the Indian market currently includes the Rapid and Octavia as well as the flagship Superb and the SUV models Kodiaq and Karoq.

Skoda innovations for Europe:

Will the Skoda Kushaq also come to us? This is unlikely because it was developed locally for India and would have to be adapted for Europe. Above all, there is already the related Kamiq with the same wheelbase, although we still have to wait for the final dimensions of the Kushaq.

But the example of the Kodiaq GT shows that Skoda is increasingly developing local derivatives as part of its internationalization, as VW has been doing for a long time. A small SUV to round off the model range in Europe would undoubtedly be interesting. But it's not the Kushaq.

Picture gallery: 2021 Skoda Kushaq