Skoda Kushaq Expected Prices vs Hyundai Creta And Kia Seltos
Skoda has always maintained a premium position with its offerings and the Kushaq will be no different
The compact SUV segment in India is set to grow further with the entry of the Skoda Kushaq, a heavily localised offering. While some brands opt for aggressive pricing to undercut the competition, Skoda is likely to keep Kushaq's pricing close to its better-equipped rivals.
The compact SUV space has been dominated by the Hyundai Creta and its sibling, the Kia Seltos, its closest competitor. The duo accounts for nearly three-quarters of the segment’s monthly sales, despite being the most expensive compact SUVs in the market. The second-gen Creta retails from Rs 9.99 lakh to Rs 17.53 lakh and the Seltos between Rs 9.89 lakh and Rs 17.45 lakh. We think the Kushaq should ideally be priced between Rs 9 lakh and Rs 17 lakh, but Skoda is expected to price it from just under Rs 10 lakh to over Rs 17 lakh. At that price, the Kushaq would be on par with the Creta and Seltos even though it is smaller in size and not as feature-packed as the Korean duo.
The Creta and Seltos offer a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a semi-digital instrument cluster, and a built-in air purifier -- all of which have been skipped on the upcoming Skoda SUV. The Creta is the only model in the segment to offer a panoramic sunroof, while features such as a 360-degree parking camera, blind view monitor, and a heads-up display are limited to the Seltos. The Kushaq does get premium equipment, including ventilated front seats, a touch panel for the climate controls, and a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, but it still misses out in the comparison.
Engines on Offer
Skoda’s petrol-only offering gets a choice of two engines: locally manufactured 115PS 1.0-litre turbo-petrol and locally assembled 150PS 1.5-litre turbo-petrol units. In contrast, the Creta and Seltos come with two petrol engines as well as a diesel unit. All three SUVs get the option of a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with their powerful turbo-petrol engines, but one could argue that Skoda’s powertrain offers more performance and will also be more refined. We’ll have to test the production-spec model to find out if the driving experience is worth the price tag.
Safety is Key
All three models offer up to six airbags, ABS with EBD, electronic stability control, and ISOFIX child seat anchorage. That said, Skoda is known for its sturdy build quality which could be an advantage for the Kushaq over its rivals. It will also get more safety kit as standard than the Hyundai and Kia compact SUVs. While the current Creta is yet to be crash tested by Global NCAP, the base-spec Seltos managed a 3-star safety rating but only just. Expect the base-spec Kushaq to get a 4-star safety rating in the same tests, if not a full 5. For reference, the decade-old Volkswagen Polo, from the same VW Group, has a 4-star safety rating from Global NCAP even though it offered only basic safety tech such as dual front airbags, ABS, rear parking sensor, and rain-sensing wipers.
Why It May Not Undercut Its Rivals
Skoda India has a target of 1 lakh annual sales, across the range, by 2025. According to a rough calculation, Skoda will have to average around 8,400 combined units per month to achieve the said target. Meanwhile, the Hyundai Creta alone has averaged more than 12,000 units per month over the last six months while the Kia Seltos managed nearly 8,900 in the same period. Hyundai and Kia also have the edge over Skoda in terms of total production capacity in India. Skoda’s target suggests it expects the Kushaq to enjoy decent popularity at premium prices, hence, it may not want to take the riskier route of pricing it aggressively to undercut the competition. This positioning would also avoid the problem of a high waiting period, allowing Skoda to offer a smoother customer experience.
Official bookings for the Kushaq are slated to begin in June with a price announcement soon after. Later in the year, Skoda will launch the new Octavia, the BS6 Kodiaq as well as a successor to the Skoda Rapid.
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