Home / Features / Škoda Kushaq Travelogue – No Refill

 

Can the Škoda Kushaq go from Mumbai to Vadodara on one full tank of fuel? Or can it do more? We find out.

Škoda Kushaq travelogue

Performance is without doubt the most popular topic of discussion among car enthusiasts or should I say it used to be? Of late, soaring fuel prices have given rise to another subject: fuel efficiency. ‘How much does your car return to the litre?’, ‘Do you think I should pay the premium and opt for a diesel car because it offers better mileage?’, and ‘Maybe, I should drive with the air-conditioner off…’ are a few familiar phrases often heard on this budding forum. We decided to contribute to the discussion by undertaking a challenge. Could we pull off a sight-seeing trip from Mumbai to Vadodara using just one tank of petrol without compromising on comfort, safety or entertainment?

Škoda Kushaq travelogue

To extract the maximum mileage from a litre of fuel, a small engine is best but to cruise at triple-digit speeds throughout the day without running out of breath, we need a power unit that packs a punch. The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder TSI engine in the Škoda Kushaq punches well above its weight by dishing out 115 hp and 178 Nm of peak torque and so it became the obvious choice for our trip. To make things a bit more interesting, we opted for the six-speed automatic transmission.

Škoda Kushaq travelogue

Our tryst with the Tornado Red Kushaq was early in the morning in front of the Gateway of India where we spent some time clicking a few pictures. Even when parked, the Kushaq generated a lot of interest among the Mumbai citizens who were out for their morning walk, so, having answered all of their questions about the car, we set out on our mission. After filling up the 50-litre fuel-tank and re-setting the trip meter (the Kushaq also has a rather useful distance-since-last-refuel display), we headed out of Mumbai and merged on to NH 48 to begin our drive to Vadodara in Gujarat, 412 kilometres away.

Škoda Kushaq travelogue

To maximize fuel efficiency, we switched the transmission to the manual mode and clicked it into sixth gear while keeping the engine ticking over around 2,000 rpm (just where the torque spread begins). With a light right foot, we found ourselves moving along at a good clip with plenty of power in reserve. Inside the car, we were pampered by the Kushaq’s many creature comforts, including wireless Android Auto connectivity, USB C-type ports, and the Škoda sound system that comprises six speakers and a subwoofer. The traffic thinned out once we passed the busy areas of Maharashtra and the road transformed into an unblemished ribbon of tarmac, allowing me
to cruise for a longer duration without having to apply the brakes. That driving pattern got us an average fuel efficiency of a whopping 17.9 km per litre (our highest during the whole trip).

Škoda Kushaq travelogue

By lunchtime, we were already inside Gujarat and their affinity for vegetarian food did not leave us many options on the highway in terms of restaurants, but their delectable dishes certainly hit the spot. Following lunch, we switched drivers so that I could experience the Kushaq’s passenger comfort. The car’s ride quality over rough patches was sublime and it was stable while changing lanes at highway speeds. Within a matter of minutes, I dozed off and woke up feeling rather refreshed just as we entered Bharuch, a town famous for its salted peanuts. Of course, we did pick up a few packets before setting off on the final leg towards Vadodara.

Škoda Kushaq travelogue

By about 4.00 pm we were in Vadodara, the third largest city in the state of Gujarat, and we had arrived with a little more than half a tank of fuel. Now, if it were a question of making it back to Mumbai without refuelling, we would have easily made a U-turn and done it but it seemed like a shame not to explore Vadodara a little bit. So, we drove on into town and stopped at the Laxmi Vilas Palace. The massive royal residence is four times the size of the Buckingham Palace and was by far the largest private residence in the country at the time of its construction. With that ticked off the list, we also paid a visit to the Aurobindo Ashram, a quiet colonial structure that houses a small library and a meditation hall that pays homage to the famous freedom-fighter and philosopher, Aurobindo Ghose. We rounded off our Vadodara tour with a visit to the Mandvi Gate. Once part of an ancient fort that has since vanished over time, the Mandvi Gate continues to stand proudly at the centre of the city.

Škoda Kushaq travelogue

Sightseeing over, we guided the Kushaq through evening traffic and down some narrow lanes to dine at one of the city’s most popular restaurants that served an authentic Gujarati thali. The compact SUV was easy to manoeuvre and even easier to park. In fact, polishing off all the delicious delicacies in the thali proved a tougher task!

Škoda Kushaq travelogue

The following morning, we left Vadodara for Mumbai, the car’s fuel tank was now precisely at the halfway mark following the previous day’s excursion around town. So, we figured we would try and return to Mumbai without refuelling. As luck would have it, our return run was not as fortunate as the previous day’s because we were frequently held back by slow-moving undisciplined traffic. We crossed the Gujarat border, entered Maharashtra and kept driving until the range dropped to a dangerously low 20 km. With no intention of pushing our luck against Mumbai’s dreaded congestion, we stopped and fuelled up again at Vasai, an impressive 771 km since the previous trip to the petrol pump. Could the car have completed the full 824 km on one tank? It most certainly would have if we had simply turned around from Vadodara.

  • Škoda Kushaq travelogue

Do we regret it? Not one bit because the Kushaq contributed in spades to the whole experience. Be it driving dynamics, cabin comfort or lightening the load on the wallet for fuel, the new kid on the block and its potent TSI heart delivered as promised and more. Even something as simple as the bottle holder has been thoughtfully designed to allow one to open the bottle with just one hand. I was also impressed by the car’s floor mats. When we spilled some water in the car, the honeycomb mats did an excellent job of retaining the water without letting any of it leak on to the floor. Clever little things like that make the Kushaq a winner in our books.

Škoda Kushaq travelogue

Thus, even if Vadodara is not your type of weekend retreat, the Kushaq has shown everyone who underestimated the TSI engine’s efficiency by running true for 771 km on one tankful with 20 km of range left. By the way, Mumbai to Goa is only 587 km. Just saying.

 

About the author: Joshua Varghese

 

Would gape at fast cars. Still does but now has a chance to drive some of them. Hates driving in traffic but makes up for with a spot of off-roading or the occasional track outing. Insta: @motoknight

 

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