Thursday, July 7, 2022

Skoda Kushaq, Slavia New 8 Inch Touchscreen – First Look

Skoda’s pricier Monte Carlo Edition offered with Kushaq still retains the bigger unit with all functionalities intact

Skoda's New 8 Inch Infotainment System
Skoda’s New 8 Inch Infotainment System

Even thought launched only recently, Skoda’s Kushaq and Slavia have faced multiple issues till date. Like faulty climate control units and faulty fuel pumps in some models. But those are fixable under company’s warranty. Skoda also dispatched some of its Kushaq models without an auto-folding mirror feature citing chip shortage. This too is fixable. Skoda has promised to get it installed after chip crisis is controlled. But what isn’t fixable though, is the new downgraded infotainment system.

Skoda Kushaq and Slavia used to get a large 10” infotainment system with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It had a crisp resolution and also a very smooth user interface. But that has been replaced with a smaller 8” unit in Slavia and Kushaq due to chip shortages. Skoda will not replace it with the bigger unit once the chip shortage is solved.

Skoda’s New 8” Infotainment System

Like all infotainment systems, this new 8” system also has a display and a compute element behind it to process data. It has a semiconductor processor just like the 10” unit. Is Skoda just robbing you in broad daylight? No. It is actually more complex than that.

Not all processors are fabricated the same. If an OEM wants to add a new feature, the processing architecture has to be literally baked into the processor. Additional feature add-ups make a processor more tedious to fabricate and hence they’re more expensive. Features like wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have to be integrated into chip fabrication process. Take a look at the new 8 inch system in the video below, credited to The Car Show.

It seems that the processor on the old 10” unit that had all the features, got scarce or ridiculously expensive. So, Skoda has chosen new chips that don’t have all the features. If only processors and features are removed, Skoda can still output the signals on the same 10” display. Because a display is only an LCD panel with a touch sampling layer and can output any signal provided by any processor.

Maybe the new chip isn’t capable enough to power all the pixels of the high-resolution 10” screen. Because bigger screens with high resolutions have a lot more pixels. Weaker processors aren’t capable of pushing all those pixels. So, Skoda has chosen a smaller size lower resolution display for the new inferior processor.

Pricing & Availability

With a downgraded screen and removed features, Skoda should have reduced the price tag of affected models a little. But that hasn’t happened. In fact, Skoda has increased prices of these cars by up to Rs 60k. Skoda is still retaining the old 10” screen with all the features on Kushaq’s top-spec Monte Carlo variant that is priced around Rs. 19.49 lakh (ex-sh).

Skoda's 10 inch touchscreen - now discontinued
Skoda’s 10 inch touchscreen – now replaced with 8 inch unit

Skoda shared this old 10” infotainment system with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay with Volkswagen Taigun and Virtus too. Both those cars still retain this system with all its features. Another way to look at it could be that VW, parent to Skoda, is positioning itself as the more premium than Skoda by offering premium features on their vehicles drawing more customers. Or VW can follow the same strategy as Skoda and offer a 10” system and premium features only on top-spec GT trim.

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