Skoda Kushaq VS Honda Metropolis: Mainstream Invasion
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For the longest time, the ‘sport’ in SUV was one thing of a misnomer. These automobiles weren’t meant to be sporty within the conventional sense of the phrase, which was thought to imply a car that possessed superior dealing with capabilities and sound dynamics. They had been enjoyable to flog round and had been mainly svelte, modern automobiles. Effectively, the latter bit hasn’t modified, however there are some really fun-to-drive SUVs obtainable available in the market, from the likes of the Lamborghini Urus to a lot smaller and extra inexpensive fashions. Even at a funds of Rs 15 lakh, there are two choices, and one in all them is the Skoda Kushaq.
At the same worth level — not less than to the 1.0-litre model of the Kushaq — is the Honda Metropolis. It’s been stated earlier than that the fifth-generation mannequin doesn’t stay as much as its sporty predecessors when it comes to its dynamics, however there’s inherently extra athleticism to the sedan physique model, or so I stated to myself. I’m not the most important fan of the mainstream shift to the normally boxy and upright SUV model, however after driving the Kushaq, I used to be coming round to it. This shocked the purist in me, which has led to what you see right here — a check to seek out out if a sporty SUV can really take the place of a sedan.
For this, I knew of an empty, twisty highway simply on the opposite facet of Lonavala, which might be the proper location to take the Metropolis and the Kushaq. On the way in which there, I got here to understand the Metropolis holds down a bastion of types — it’s among the many final automobiles with an outstanding, naturally aspirated engine. Turbo-petrols have taken over, particularly on this worth bracket, and there’s no denying how participating and punchy they are often. Nonetheless, I’ve to thank Honda for reminding me of simply how a lot I like its free-revving 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine, and naturally aspirated items basically.
‘Shift down and zip previous’ turned a mantra on the uphill part, and this was accompanied by a now-seldom-heard and unencumbered notice from the engine and exhaust. The butter clean and exact gear shifts, together with the featherweight clutch, made it all of the extra pleasant. Positive, there have been moments when the Kushaq would surge out of tighter lower-gear corners in a way that the normally-aspirated Metropolis didn’t fairly handle. I put this all the way down to the three.36 kgm distinction in torque between the 2, however because the corners began flattening out and getting longer, it was the Metropolis — screaming away gleefully at 6500 rpm — that managed to place a ways between itself and the Kushaq.
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It was a pleasure to see the digital g-force gauge within the part-digital instrument cluster swinging to over 2g when pulling out of corners. Wringing the engine to its max revs was critically addictive, too, a lot in order that I discovered myself shifting to a decrease gear unnecessarily simply to listen to the engine scream. That linear construct of energy and the extent of refinement are hardly ever seen on this day of forced-induction engines, making the Metropolis an absolute delight to drive, not less than in much less demanding bends. The softly-sprung Honda does present a soft journey irrespective of its pace or the dimensions of the pace bump (that bottoming-out sensation could kick in a bit, although), however it’s not tuned for going round twisties shortly. The tyres are additionally a bit on the thinner facet and quit early.
Trying on the Kushaq’s tyres nearly pinching below stress within the rear-view mirror, I observed one thing that I wish to really feel for myself. Switching from the brighter beige and gray Honda inside to the Skoda’s barely extra sober gray one, it struck me simply how a lot the Japanese model has achieved to make its sedan really feel spacious. Regardless of the plain benefit in vertical area, the Metropolis didn’t really feel cramped by any measure when in comparison with the Kushaq. I’m nonetheless a sucker for analogue dials, which is why the Kushaq’s doesn’t put me off in any respect, although I can see why the Metropolis’s extra fashionable part-digital cluster can be most popular by most.
With the motive force’s seat at its lowest setting, the Kushaq’s driving place continues to be barely increased than the Metropolis’s, which took away from the sportiness, including yet one more tick on the facet of the sedan. Nonetheless, the Kushaq is an entertaining drive and it’s round these aforementioned tight twisties the place it shines. Coming right into a nook laborious, the brakes really feel a contact mushy, however pace is lowered dramatically. I felt the steering weighing up, I turned whereas shifting down utilizing the marginally notchy gear shifter and matching the decrease gear’s revs, after which stood on the fuel pedal. Now I understood why the Kushaq’s tyres had been pinching so, regardless of the tyre stress monitor telling me it was regular.
Skoda’s torquey 1.0-litre turbo-petrol is a blast, and gels with the Kushaq’s stiff chassis and extra dynamically arrange suspension. I’ve stated it earlier than and I’ll say it once more, it’s tough to get greater than 12 kpl from the Kushaq 1.0 on a enjoyable highway, and that’s as a result of it’s critically energetic. Simply maintain the engine on the boil and don’t energy out of a nook too early (understeer units in then), and this SUV is comfortable to play the bull. A steering that is a little more feelsome and upgrades to the brakes — possibly rear discs — would actually make the Kushaq an amazingly enjoyable funds midsize SUV.
On the subject of upgrades, contemplating the fifth-gen Metropolis’s chassis is kind of taut, the sedan would profit tremendously from a set of stiffer springs and wider tyres. Now, that seems like a really worthy funding, one which’ll pay ample dividends when it comes to enjoyable on a set of corners. All in all, the Kushaq makes a superb case for itself, main me to agree that even within the area of pleasure on an open highway, an SUV is usually a very viable selection. The purist in me can be dissatisfied, however he does stroll away hoping for one factor — an opportunity to drive the identical automobiles with the beforehand talked about modifications. That, I believe, may change the result.