Skoda Kushaq First Drive Review: 16 Things You Should Know!

Expectations from the made-for-India Kushaq are sky-high. So has Skoda delivered on the promise?

Get latest updates on
the automobile community
Login Now

The Kushaq, the most important car in Skoda India’s two-decade history, has almost arrived. It is the first made-in-India, named-in-India, and made-for-India product and a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and investment have gone into making it. So does the Kushaq have the potential to rule the compact SUV space or can the current kings, the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos, breathe easy? Here are 16 things you need to know about the Skoda Kushaq -- 11 clever and 5 not so much:

Clever Bits

  1. Smart Design Elements


    The bigger and more upright Skoda grille, which we also recently saw on the Octavia, looks bold and the slim LED headlamps give the car a sleek look. In profile, the sharp creases that originate from the headlamps look dynamic. The 17-inch alloys get a design resembling that of some Lamborghinis. At the back, the boomerang-shaped tail lamps look smart but they would have looked even smarter if they had LEDs.  

  1. Strong Build And Premium Cabin


    The Kushaq feels robustly built and the solid thunk you hear from the door shut validates that. The cabin feels premium too thanks to the beautifully finished two-spoke steering wheel and the premium dash plastic. What really uplifts the overall ambience is the 3D hexagonal pattern on the door pads and the dash. It is made out of simple plastic but it changes the mood. The leather upholstery too feels premium.

  1. Excellent Infotainment System


    The Kushaq’s 10.25-inch infotainment system might just be the new segment benchmark. The touch response is extremely fast and transitions are fluid. It is also logically laid out and important functions are easy to access. The system’s powerful processor makes connecting your device fast and easy. This infotainment system also comes with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay which makes the wireless charging pad all the more useful. 

  1. Easy-to-Use Controls


    You feel right at home in the Kushaq’s driver seat with all the controls logically laid out and well-executed. The stalks are of high quality and despite loads of functions, they are easy to operate. Even the steering-mounted controls are not only beautifully designed but also very user friendly. The knurled finish on the rotary switches makes them easy to grip and operate while the rest of the buttons are big and conveniently positioned. The touch-sensitive controls for the aircon might come across as fiddly at first but the touch portion for the blower speed and temperature controls are grooved in, which make them convenient to operate even on the move. The tilt and telescopic steering and the seats have a good range of adjustment which makes finding an ideal driving position quite easy. 

  1. Practical Cabin


    Up front, you get two cup holders and massive door pockets that can easily accommodate even a 2-litre bottle. The cooled glovebox too is of decent size but the boot really surprises you. On paper, it is just 385 litres but it is deep and thanks to its square shape you can fit loads of luggage. The loading lip is low and you also have 60:40 split-folding rear seats for added space. However, the seats do not fold flat. 

  1. Simply Clever Features


    The Kushaq wouldn’t be a Skoda without some simply clever features. Here are some of them:

  • The ridge below the touchscreen is perfect to rest your hand on while using it. 

  • Through the infotainment, you can switch on valet mode which records vital information such speed, distance, and whether the boot was opened once you handed the car over for parking. 

  • The cupholders and the cubby below the centre console have grippy rubber surfaces. It not only holds things in place but also avoids rattling if you put coins or leave keys in them. 

  • At the back, you get phone holders in the seatback pockets which are quite handy. And just like the front, even rear seat passengers get two Type-C charging ports.  

  • The pull-down handles for trunk closing keep your hands clean and also help shorter people when it comes to reach. 

  1. Range of Safety Features


    As far as safety is concerned, ESP or electronic stability program comes as standard right from the base variant. In the top Style variant, you get hill hold, tyre pressure warning system (without pressure readouts), rain-sensing wipers, auto headlamps, three-point seatbelt for all five passengers, and two ISOFIX child seat anchorage points at the back. If you buy the top manual variant, you get six airbags but with the automatic, you get just two! This has obviously been done to keep the price competitive but we think Skoda shouldn't have skimped here. 

  1. Comfortable Seating for Four


    The Kushaq is a comfortable four-seater. The front seats are very well padded and supportive. You also get some feel-good features, such as seat ventilation which you'll appreciate in our hot conditions. Even the rear seat is heavily contoured, giving you great support. Despite the narrow cabin and small sunroof, the rear seat feels surprisingly airy thanks to the big glass area and the lighter colours used in the upper half of the cabin. Even four six-footers will feel comfortable with more than enough knee and headroom. 

  1. Powerful Petrol Engines


    The Kushaq gets two engines, both petrol. The first one is a smaller 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit, making 115PS of power, mated with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. The larger 1.5-litre four-cylinder, on the other hand, makes 150PS of power and comes with two gearbox options: a 6-speed manual and a 7-speed DCT. On test, we have the range-topping 1.5-litre engine that we have also experienced on the bigger Karoq. This should make the Kushaq feel fast, right? Yes. The claimed time of 8.6 seconds will make it the fastest accelerating compact SUV and it feels like it too. It has loads of grunt and it pulls really well from as low as 1300rpm.


    Even out on the highway, this engine has reserves of power and because of the tall gearing, this engine stays at a very comfortable rpm even at high speeds. This not only results in less stress on the engine but also aids fuel efficiency. Improve highway fuel efficiency further you get cylinder deactivation technology with the 1.5-litre unit. This basically shuts down two of the four cylinders while cruising or when the engine load is low. If we have to nit-pick, the clutch on the manual Kushaq is a little bit on the heavier side but other than that, as an urban commuter, this car works.


    Now coming to the automatic transmission, with most dual-clutch units you feel some jerkiness, especially at low speeds, but the Kushaq's DCT feels smooth and always manages to find the right gear at the right time. It is quick to downshift too which makes overtaking an easy affair.


1.0-litre Turbocharged

1.5-litre Turbocharged











6-speed MT / 6-speed AT

6-speed MT, 7-speed DCT


10.6s (MT) / 11.7s (AT)

8.6s (MT) / 8.6s (AT)

*Claimed Figures 

  1. Comfortable Ride


    Like the engine, the Kushaq´s ride is also impressive and it drives like an SUV should. It behaves beautifully over rough roads thanks to the quiet, softly damped, long-travel suspension. Despite the soft setup, even highway rides are surprisingly comfortable as the Kushaq remains composed over undulating surfaces and there's not much body movement. As a result, covering long distances in the Kushaq feels effortless. 

  1. Fun To Drive


    Is the Kushaq fun to drive? Well, absolutely! For starters, as mentioned before, the engine feels powerful. Sure, it doesn't like to be revved hard as it sounds a little rough but other than that, it has loads of grunt. But what really surprises you is the chassis balance. Despite it having a comfortable ride, it is very eager to change directions. The Kushaq feels agile and the steering too is well-weighted and accurate. What adds to your confidence is the fact that the Kushaq feels extremely stable going around corners even at high speeds. The brakes too feel strong and offer a good amount of bite. 

Not So Clever

  1. Size


    The Skoda Kushaq is clearly a size smaller in comparison to the competition. It is shorter in terms of both length and height and also quite a bit narrower when compared to its rivals. It also lacks visual mass. Even the wheel arches are a bit flat because of which people might end up assuming the Kushaq rivals the likes of the Sonet and Venue, rather than the Seltos and Creta


Skoda Kushaq

Hyundai Creta

Kia Seltos

















Ground Clearance




  1. Narrow Cabin


    Up front, the narrow cabin doesn't give you the sense of space you expect from a compact SUV. The lack of width also makes the Kushaq strictly a four-seater. The centre passenger will not only find the shoulder room constricted, but will also feel uncomfortable because of the heavily contoured seats, limited headroom, and cramped foot room.   

  1. Missing Premium Features


    On its own, the Kushaq feels pretty well-loaded, especially in the top Style variant. However, competition is tough and it misses out on some feel-good features that its rivals get. You don't get a powered driver seat, digital instrumentation, a panoramic sunroof, an electronic parking brake, and drive modes. 

  1. Obvious Cost-Cutting


    Generally, cost-cutting and Skoda don't go hand in hand. However, in pursuit of pricing the Kushaq competitively, you do find some low rent bits. 

  • The side vents on the Kushaq feel flimsy, something not expected from a brand like Skoda considering it is one of the most used bits in the cabin.

  • The roof lining in front of the sunroof feels loose. It moves and rattles when you put even little pressure on it. 

  • The infotainment system is top-notch but the reversing camera feed it displays is subpar. It’s pixelated and the quality doesn't feel fitting on a car this expensive.

  • No Diesel Engine Option


    The Kushaq won’t come with a diesel engine option which is a shame. Considering the ever-rising fuel prices, a lot of people in this segment prefer diesel. So people looking for a high-mileage diesel will have to consider other options.

  • Verdict 


    Expectations from the first mainstream SUV from a brand like Skoda were always going to be sky-high and the Kushaq delivers for the most part. It feels solidly built and even rides and handles well. The ride is especially impressive, with it taking on the worst of our road surface with ease. It is also rather practical and comfortable for a family of four. Even both petrol engines have enough power to put a smile on your face. Is it perfect? Well, no.


    It is a size smaller than the competition and the narrow cabin results in a car that is strictly a four-seater. It is also missing some feel-good features that its rivals get. Besides, the lack of a diesel engine marks it down further. But are these shortcomings big enough to be deal-breakers? For some, probably, but for most, the Kushaq will seem like a desirable and sensible package. We just hope Skoda prices it sensibly.

    Skoda Kushaq Video Review

    Skoda Kushaq
    Review your vehicle & win ₹ 1000
    Rs. 11.59 Lakh
    View January Offers

    See what our community has to say! NEW

    India's largest automotive community

    Explore Now
    comminity image

    2 Other Things You Might Want To Do