Replacing my Fiesta with a Virtus: Should I consider the Kushaq as well

The thing I liked about the Virtus mid variant is that it is fully loaded.

BHPian Rohit_Quad recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

This is going to be a long post. I’ll start with a bit of the background. I own a 1st-gen Ford Fiesta 1.4 Petrol EXI, which is my solo ride now. It has run close to 1.5L km and has been serviced at a Ford service center its whole life. Been a bit of a white elephant lately, as I am someone who does not like knocking noises while driving. Also, the car might need a clutch kit soon. Maybe because of the worn out clutch, the car does not feel spritely anymore. There is a hesitation while accelerating, but it does pull from lower speed in 2nd and even 3rd gears. Apart from a full service every 8-9 months, these are some of the parts that I remember that were changed over the period of the last 1 year:

  • Steering Rack.
  • A/C condenser kit (dashboard removed and the set was changed)
  • Brakes
  • Tyres
  • Struts all around, sway bar bushes & link rods
  • Lower suspension arms
  • Starter motor
  • Head unit – Pioneer 2 din non-touch
  • Head unit bracket
  • Battery
  • Rocker cover seal kit
  • Custom new artificial leather seat covers
  • Gearbox mount and gearbox oil
  • Windscreen
  • Power window motor (driver side front) and the glass movement channel beadings (both front)
  • Front door weather

The car rides on 185/70 R14 Goodyear Assurance Triplemax 2 tyres with no rubbing of the liners in any situation, and has gained a comfy low-speed ride (with a bit of sacrifice WRT handling). Spark plugs, engine oil additive and fuel system cleaner are something I address after every service. The RC has been renewed till 2026 and I get comprehensive insurance from Digit every year which costs around another ~7K.

So as one can see, it has been a constant money pit and my usage has greatly reduced over the past few years – maybe 1 road trip every 6 months and around 30 km every day in the city. Most of the time, I am the solo occupant and the only driver. There are some minor oil seepages, but there’s no oil consumption of any sort. The clutch is very light, but the gearbox needs some effort, sometimes from 2nd to 3rd. I feel the flywheel could be the culprit, as I remember it being changed, maybe at 10 years at a then dodgy Ford SC with the wrong flywheel. One can feel the flywheel taking time to spin down between gear changes. That is my feeling. I could be wrong and it could be a synchro issue too. The car looks fine, as I get its panels repainted at an FNG, or polished if I notice any big scratches.

So, I have been eyeing the Virtus since it was launched and my budget permits me to go for a 1.0L manual (full loan). The thing I liked about the Virtus mid variant is that it is fully loaded – that 1.0L gem of an engine, LED headlights, alloy wheels, 8 speakers, cruise control and wireless changer, 10-inch screen with wireless Android Auto & Apple CarPlay and some sort of interior lighting.

I was initially inclined towards the base variant as it had most of the things except for alloy wheels, fog lamps, 7-inch head unit, central arm rest, and rear A/C vents. I was fine with those omissions too, but the matte grey exterior lower bumper portion makes the car look like THE budget variant. The chrome inserts on the mid variant along with the glossy dashboard (+10 inch head unit), make the car look good (in my opinion). Hence, I was closing in on the mid variant. For some reason, I went to the Skoda showroom and had a look at the Kushaq mid variant (I think they are similarly priced). It was loaded too, but did miss out on a few things the Virtus mid variant had, noticeably:

  • 8-inch head unit, wired CarPlay & Android Auto vs the 10-inch wireless
  • 6 speakers vs 8 in the Virtus
  • I think it misses out on a wireless charger

And the biggest issue was the size / looks – looks more like a sub-4 meter SUV in my opinion. Even hatchbacks look bigger next to it (i20, Altroz, etc)

Me, being 6.1 ft tall and a healthy 90 kg, I feel it might look small for someone my size. The main reason for the dilemma, even if I cross over the omissions from the Kushaq mid variant 1.0 MT, is the plastic cladding all around the car’s lower portion (which is present in all SUV’s these days). The roads here in Hyderabad are horrendous and have these gravel stones all around. Thinking from a longevity standpoint, will the Kushaq fare better, maybe 5-7 years later? OR am I worrying over nothing? I notice, many new sedans on the roads here have scratches, especially where the fenders meet the bumper, just over the wheel arches and similarly at the rear quarter panel, over the wheel arch, meeting the bumper. These could be just minor brushes with other vehicles, but I am under the impression that the plastic cladding might protect the panel in such cases. The reason why the Slavia and Taigun were not considered is because of the lack of LED head lights in the mid spec variants. Kindly give your thoughts, which will greatly help with my decision.

Here’s what BHPian Jangra had to say on the matter:

For context, I owned a Vento for nearly 7 years and upgraded to 2 segments higher – a Skoda Kodiaq. Though I’m very happy with its possession, as it is an amazing machine and keeps my family happy, it left a void in me for a sedan. I infact also noted in the “Not so good” section of my Kodiaq thread.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that, if you are a sedan enthusiast, stick to sedan. Virtus has a ground clearance of a crossover and handles like a sedan. In fact, the void was so much so that we bought a Virtus to fulfil the need of a second car in the family, and it has brought back that smile in me with its spritely drives in the city and those hill corners- something the crossover cannot do.

Go for Virtus! I see you’re looking for a manual transmission, but I suggest you try their AT. A lot of us are now Automatic converts, especially for the city drives – it’s a boon.

And, since you did not mention the budget, please also test drive their 1.5 liter GT variant, I feel the engine will satisfy you for years to come.

Here’s what BHPian TheFonz had to say on the matter:

Iโ€™m assuming you have test driven both of them. The seating position is on the lower side on Virtus as compared to Kushaq.

I was in a similar dilemma few months back between Virtus GT plus and Kushaq Monte Carlo 1.5. Ended up buying the Virtus GT plus as IMHO it had better road presence apart from the obvious things going for it being a sedan.

I have been enjoying it since.

My suggestion is to Go for Virtus and go for the 1.5 evo engine if you can, it will make you smile.

Here’s what BHPian Torque123 had to say on the matter:

If higher seating position & ground clearance are not a must have requirements for you then my suggestion is to go for the Virtus due to the following reasons:

  • Definitely has better road presence than Kushaq or Taigun. I love it in white colour (personal choice).
  • Being a sedan, it will be more fun to drive & will handle better than Kushaq or Taigun (very important for you as you have owned a Fiesta)
  • May have lesser ground clearance than Kushaq but it is more than sufficient to handle even the worst of the speed breakers.

As pointed out by others earlier, if possible go for the 1.5 TSI. You will have that grin plastered on your face 24/7.

Here’s what BHPian CArspeed had to say on the matter:

Your queries point out to few aspects like ground clearance, some differential features like UI, speakers, and wireless chargers and also the space inside.

I have test driven both and I find that inspite of being shorter in length, the Kushaq and Virtus has similar wheelbase. It had a good amount of leg room and I am 5.11 for reference.

Regarding your observation on damages to fenders and wheel arches in a sedan vis a vis a SUV, thatโ€™s the USP of CSUV and you canโ€™t defy the law of physics. I have an Altis for more than 12 years and I am contemplating to consider a CSUV like Taigun/Kushaq/Compass as these CSUV handles really well. I was particularly astonished when I test drove the Compass with its amazing cornering capabilities.

As regards the driving dynamics, although Virtus being a sedan has a good advantage, since Kushaq is also tightly sprung underneath and may also be owing to the shorter width(expert can comment here) I found the Kushaq equally good over corners. I also found the boot of Kushaq very accommodating.

Ultimately, you have to choose between the feature sets that goes well with your requirements at the given price point vis a vis the advantages of a Kushaq being an SUV.

Here’s what BHPian Puneet0051 had to say on the matter:

Rohit let me try and answer your queries as i own both – Kushaq 1.0 AT Mid variant and Virtus mid variant 1.0 MT both 2023 model.

You have already highlighted few observations between the two,adding few more comparing these mid variants only:

  • Sound quality is better in Virtus.
  • Keyless entry a small thing but extremely convenient in Virtus.
  • Interiors of both side by side – Virtus defintely looks better.
  • Exterior – Virtus has better presence for sure.
  • Alloys – Both are ugly but out of the two, Virtus looks better.
  • Led lights in Virtus has got a good throw but Kushaq has better projectors here.
  • Steering feel and buttons – Virtus is better with no blank button. Kushaq has 1 blank.
  • Wireless charging in Virtus you have covered adds to the convenience.
  • Bigger better screen in Virtus.
  • Start stop botton in Virtus along with Keyless entry. Its a big plus.
  • Ofcourse Kushaq fares better in ground clearance by 12mm.
  • I personally liked Beige black interior of Virtus vs Grey black of Kushaq.

If I have to choose one between these, unless I need a smaller footprint car, i will any day choose Virtus over Kushaq.

Go ahead with the Virtus.

Here’s what BHPian RYP had to say on the matter:

It’s a good dilemma to have. Myself too is itching for an upgrade though my 2018 MT Swift is absolutely running fine, wfh may be the only reason I’ve not bit the bullet. My honest suggestion to you would be to seriously consider the AT’s. All the major cities infras have totally fallen. It will get even worse before it gets better, maybe in another 20 years. AT’s will be a basic necessity. Even if it means stretching your budget a bit, it’ll be worth it totally. Having said that, i would go for the Virtus eyes closed. VW service too is marginally better than Skoda. Man the Virtus is THE best looking car south of 50L. All Class. Will age absolutely like a fine wine. Kushaq though it looks good lacks that finesse Virtus has. 1.5 though is a hoot to drive, DSG remains a sole liability. 1.0L with TC is the Engine & GB to have – Solid performance and RELIABLE. Hope this helps.

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