Skoda Kushaq review, road test

    Published on Oct 03, 2021 09:00:00 AM

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    need to work on it

    Does this Creta-rival have what it takes to grab a sizeable share of the midsize SUV pie? We find out.

    The solid ‘thud’ sounds on shutting its doors reaffirms the fact that this localised car still boasts of a solid European build. The Kushaq’s dashboard sports a clean design with horizontal lines, and adding spice to the cabin are some interesting 3D elements. The hexagonal chrome-lined vents pop out nicely, while the multi-layered and multi-textured strip that runs across the dash lends some depth. The light colours used inside and the large glass area further enhance the sense of space and roominess of the cabin. And what’s particularly stylish is the two-spoke steering wheel, with its floating hub and neat chrome roller controls. It feels nice and chunky to grip and is similar to what you get in the latest international Skodas. The instrument panel, with its analogue dials flanking a low-resolution, black and white information screen, looks quite dated in an otherwise modern cabin.

    Quality and fit-finish are a mixed bag - some bits feel very premium while others feel low rent.

    Interestingly, it won’t take much of poking around the cabin to identify where Skoda has cut costs. While the dashboard top looks reasonably premium, the rest of the plastics are neither soft-touch nor textured, and while they feel long-lasting, they don’t feel special enough in a car of this segment. Details like the air vents and grab handles, which aren’t damped, feel flimsy to operate, the woven roof liner looks downmarket, there’s no shroud to hide the sunroof mechanism when you pull back the blind, and the leatherette seat fabric that’s finished in grey with yellow piping isn’t evenly stitched. What’s missing in this cabin is Skoda’s legendary quality and attention to detail, which have raised expectations from the brand.

    There’s ample adjustment on offer and the seat offers nice support.

    The seats are well designed with the right level of firmness, and comfort is of a high order in the spacious cabin. With plenty of adjustments for the seats and steering, tall glass area all around, and high-set seats, finding the perfect driving position is a breeze and visibility is excellent too.

    Space for two adults is aplenty, and the seat is comfortable.

    The cabin is thoughtfully designed with a generous amount of stowage space. The plus-size glovebox and the large door pockets hold a fair amount. In addition, there’s an elbow box, a pair of cupholders, and a wide rubberised tray with a wireless charging pad.

    Centre armrest gets fore-aft adjustment for driver comfort.

    As mentioned earlier, the Kushaq boasts of the longest wheelbase in its class, and as a result, space in the rear is aplenty. Six-footers will have no problem stretching out, and headroom won’t be a problem either, as the roof is smartly scooped out. The perfectly angled backrest and ample under-thigh support further enhance comfort, especially on long drives. Skoda has minimised the floor hump’s height for the comfort of the middle passenger, and hasn’t skimped on safety either. Even the middle occupant gets an adjustable head restraint, as well as a proper three-point seatbelt. The Kushaq, however, is not particularly wide, so accommodating three adults at the rear will be a tight squeeze. For the convenience of rear occupants there are large door bins, seatback pockets, clever smartphone pockets, rear air-con vents, as well as a pair of USB-C charging ports.

    Unlike yesteryear Skodas, it lacks the attention to detail, case in point, the exposed sunroof railings.

    On paper, the 385-litre boot is much smaller than its rivals, but because it is well shaped, it can easily gobble up a lot more cargo than its size suggests. Further, the seats split 60:40, and with the rear bench folded, cargo volume goes up to a cavernous 1,405 litres. Also present here are some ‘simply clever’ bits like nets and hooks, which are useful for fastening your luggage.

    Boot is well-shaped, although its 385-litres volume is lesser than rivals.

     

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