The Skoda Kushaq CNG Bi-Fuel could become the first CNG vehicle in India to come with an automatic gearbox.
Both the Kushaq and the Taigun became the first cars to be tested under the updated GNCAP test protocol. Along with this, they are also the first car to achieve 5 star crash rating under the updated protocol by GNCAP. They are the first among compact SUVs to register a 5 star rating in crash tests. So many firsts for the German compact SUV. In the CNG race, however, Skoda and Volkswagen have taken a back seat. As far as compact SUVs are concerned, Toyota is the first company to launch the Hider with CNG.
The Grand Vitara is likely to be second followed by the Creta and the Seltos. Now, a Skoda Kushaq CNG bi-fuel model has been spied testing with emission testing equipment. let’s take a look. Skoda Kushaq CNG Variant Spiced This is not the first time that Skoda is dipping its fingers into CNG technology. Sometime back, a Skoda Rapid Monte Carlo test mule with a red number plate was spotted getting CNG filled at a refilling station. Zac Hollis, the then director of Skoda Auto India, also confirmed the same on social media. Come 2022, that never materialized and Rapid was scrapped and replaced with Slavia.
Now that Toyota and Maruti Suzuki have brought CNG technology to the compact SUV segment and Hyundai and Kia are testing CNG for the segment, Skoda has set its foot in the same direction. With cars like the Creta, diesel still holds 55% of the market share. That said, the economic benefits of running on CNG cannot be denied.
The Kushaq CNG bi-fuel variant was spotted with emission test equipment attached. This is usually done when manufacturers are tinkering with a car’s powertrain. Currently, the Skoda Kushaq comes with two powertrain options. Both turbocharged petrol engines where one is a 3-cylinder engine displacing 1.0L and the other a 4-cylinder engine displacing 1.5L. The 1.0L engine produces 114 bhp power and 178 Nm torque. While the 1.5L motor makes 148 bhp power and 250 Nm torque. Both the engines are offered with manual and transmission options. With the 1.0L TSI motor bringing CNG economies into the mix, it makes a lot of sense for Skoda to offer the Kushaq CNG bi-fuel variant based on the smaller 1.0L engine.
The CNG tank will be fitted in the boot of the Skoda Kushaq, which will eat into precious cargo space. What is lost in the boot will be recovered in rupees when the running cost is brought into the picture. Being a factory-fitted CNG kit, has the advantages of being safe and being much more accurate. Some aftermarket CNG kits fail to match. The car will make less power and torque when run on CNG and a different ECU system will be adapted for the same. The suspension will be beefed up to accommodate the extra weight.
Upon launch, the Skoda Kushaq CNG bi-fuel will be priced from over Rs. 1 lakh more than its non-CNG counterparts. Hyundai may launch the CNG variant of the Creta before Skoda. Will the Skoda Kushaq CNG Bi-Fuel be the first car in India to come with CNG with an automatic transmission? Will the Tigun, Virtus and Slavia get CNG variants as well? Only time will tell.