If you remember a few months ago I had posted a detailed first impressions of the Škoda Slavia when it first hit the showroom floors. However, as we all know that VAG cars are best enjoyed behind the wheel so squeezing out some time from my tedious work schedule and I decided to visit Škoda dealership once again.
What I want vs What I got
This time around straight asked the SA to provide me with a test drive of the Slavia in its more powerful 1.5TSi avatar, he informed me that he could provide me with the TD of the 1.5TSi with 7speed DSG only as they don't have the manual car for TD to which I obliged.
While he was preparing the car for TD along with other formalities I took a stroll of the showroom and the service center just adjacent to it and I must say I'm thoroughly impressed both with the cars as well as the premises. On display there were models of each and every car Škoda India has to offer as of now ranging from Kushaq to Kodiaq!
Even though I asked for a TD of Slavia I was instantly attracted to the Octavia L&K 2.0TSi and I must say what a brilliant machine it was, so sad it would be discontinued later this year along with its elder sibling the Superb, the best luxury sedan on this side of 50L.
Even the service center was so neat and tidy and the customer lounge was full of amenities and was air-conditioned as well and I would go as far as saying that the ambience and overall vibe I got from both the dealership and service center was miles better than what I get with say Hyundai or MSIL. Good job Škoda India!
One sad thing which I observed though was at the service center almost all of the new VAG 2.0 cars which were there had come for accidental repairs, upon asking I was informed that these new machines pack a lot of punch and an average driver isn't trained to handle it thereby throwing the car out of control. I guess most of us are better suited to humdrum NA engines of MSIL, Hyundai and Tata than these high tech powerful engines, even the TD car was full of dents!
Slavia Interior & Comfort
Now finally to the most awaited moment for me the actual TD, let me tell you at this point I was accompanied by my elder brother who had occupied the rear seat to check for factors like space, comfort and refinement while I drove the car.
The thing which struck me first was the sheer refinement, in my family we have only one petrol car that is my Dad's 2010 WagonR else all other cars including my brothers' Merc is an oil-burner, so in comparison to WagonR the refinement is sublime.
Although I must add that my elder brother didn't find the rear A/C to be very effective against the 35degree heat and even at the blower at max and temperature at its lowest setting he wasn't satisfied although I felt it adequate(not bone-chilling but effective), also its purely my opinion I didn't feel the effectiveness of the Ventilated seats and at the beginning I did not even feel if its there but after my drive was over and I stepped out of the car I realized that my back is very cool, even more than my front portion, so yeah its a good feature to have.
Now coming to driving part, its excellent, that's it.
The 1.5TSi is a jewel of an engine. Its smooth when you want it to be and then when you press down hard on the accelerator pedal it becomes a fairly snarly beast which just throws you forward, really one of the nicest four cylinder engines around.
Smooth and powerful it gives you a nice shove of torque and what makes it even more impressive is the DSG which is just super quick with shifts, yeah when you really ask for it the gearbox does hesitate a bit before delivering but Slavia isn't a sports car and we shouldn't expect it to behave like that but can you really help since when you manually rev it all the way to its redline it puts out such a nice raspy note that's far better than what some so called "Spruced up Hot hatches" sound like.
Stability & Wheels
Stability at triple digit speeds is good too however when you compare it to its yesteryear siblings you find it to be just that little bit lacking(since I recently drove a Laura TSi) and that added GC might be to blame here but what makes the experience that much less enjoyable were the tires, the TD car was shod with Ceat tires and it had less than even 10k on the odo and the tires had already become hard and noisy, they give up wayyyy before the car does, also even at regular expressway speeds over normal asphalt surface the amount of road noise that crept in was just unacceptable.
Considering that Slavia gets full wheel claddings on each of the wheel arches, I guess the tires are to blame here and its a standing instruction and not merely an advise to the people buying these cars, swap those tires with some soft compound rubber like Michelin or Continental to truly extract the performance from your over 2million rupee worth machine.
Now coming to other aspects as pointed out earlier the rear A/C wasn't the most effective and my brother complained the seat compound to be on the softer side and the bolstering not supportive enough to keep you comfy for long distances and found the heft from the doors to be on the lighter side and not like yesteryear tank like Škodas or even its elder siblings, also he found stuff like power window switches to be on the low rent and complained of the noisy window motor itself.
To be very honest I didn't even find any of the flaws to be noticed maybe since I had become a fan of the powertrain itself but what I did find was the space to be a bit lacking since Škoda claims it to be longer than the 1st gen Octavia. I'm having a perfect 6' frame and behind my own driving position I had about 4 inches of free kneeroom and only about an inch and a half of free headroom which is very less than compared to the 5th gen Honda City but equally I must add things are far better as compared to the Hyundai Verna and the erstwhile Škoda Rapid, also please mind that I've a laidback driving position so it may vary from person to person as well and I've recorded my observations.
So all in all the Slavia is one of the best attempts by Škoda in its quest to gain some serious market share.
The 1.0TSi is more than sufficient for most people and the 1.5TSi quenches the thirst for the enthusiastic tru-blu Škoda loyalists, add to that a plethora of features, an emotional design and lots of safety measures it along with the Virtus are one of the best cars you can buy in mid-size segment now.
However the top-end versions are expensive and I for one if able to splurge almost 22L on the Slavia top-end I would rather stretch my budget and get myself the drop-dead gorgeous and tank like built Škoda Octavia 2.0TSi Style which is just about 10L more expensive than the Slavia but the premium asked is well worth it IMHO. This was exactly the same reason why I chose the Hyundai Tucson 4WD over the Creta Diesel Auto since I felt that the premium asked was well spent. A food for thought.
Finally I must say this with Škoda improving their sales network and working hard to improve the after sales experience, providing good service and warranty packages and also claiming to make reliable cars so as to make the overall ownership experience fuss-free and enjoyable, if there has been the better time to own a Škoda, this is it!
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Disclaimer: Information is submitted by the owner of the vehicle through online form medium. Volklub-Sunderdeep Singh doesn't take any responsibility to confirm accuracy or authenticity of the information provided. Readers are requested to make their opinion by reading from other means as well and do take a test drive of the car you are interested in and ask all doubts from the authentic service/sales advisors in a particular brand.
Sole purpose of this review is to try providing readers with factual information where other readers have shared their ownership experiences that may help readers for their car buying decision.