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Improvement Based on Feedback

Last month I had an opportunity to get my hands on the soon-to-be-launched mid-size SUV, the Škoda Kushaq. A select few automotive journalists had been invited to drive the pre-production prototype. The idea behind this exercise was for Škoda to get feedback in order to incorporate the necessary changes.

I was accompanied during the drive by the top boss of Škoda Volkswagen India, Gurpratap Boparai. He noted down all the suggestions and changes that I made with a view to further improving the SUV. Incidentally, one of the limiting factors for the Kushaq will be the lack of a diesel engine option, for Volkswagen, as a group, have decided not to offer small-capacity diesel engines.

There are no direct flights between Pune and Goa and now the flying time varies anywhere from six to 10 hours, with a stop-over in Bengaluru or Hyderabad. In any case, I prefer to drive down to Goa rather than flying even when direct flights are operational. For this drive, I borrowed a BMW X1 diesel since I prefer a diesel car to a petrol one, the main reason being that I don’t have to stop en route to top up. The drive to Goa was a six-hour straightforward one.

On the way back, it so happened that the left front tyre sustained a gash on one of the diversions exiting Goa. The X1 was fitted with a space-saver which required me to not exceed 85 km/h. I selected the Eco Pro mode while driving back because of this speed limit. It took me seven hours and 45 minutes from south Goa to Pune, but the best part was that the X1 returned a fuel efficiency of more than 20 kilometres per litre. When I was back in Pune, the SUV still had half a tank of diesel left. Whatever the anti-diesel lobby may say, a petrol engine cannot match its diesel counterpart in so far as performance and fuel efficiency are concerned.


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