Škoda does make some very nice sedans and most of their success and revenues in the yesteryears came from sedans only which is why I have had high hopes that they've really put their heart and soul into their new sedan to make it stand out and almost the perfect in its segment, so when news came that Slavia has hit the showroom floors I just couldn't hold my horses and rushed to my nearest dealership today to see the car, as most of us are really intrigued about the quality and fit finish part I first decided to head to a Volkswagen showroom to check out the Taigun and set it as a benchmark. My observation for the Slavia goes as follows:-
The car looks really nice in that Lava Blue shade, yeah it ain't saturated that much as seen in the photos and is actually very similar to the blue shade offered in the Renault Kiger but still it looks very nice and especially the side profile gave me the vibes of the erstwhile 3rd gen Octavia, long wheelbase helps it lending road presence and stand out among a sea of CSUVs.
Škoda had gotten its proportions smaller than expected in the Kushaq but here they have managed to strike the right.
Škoda has a terrible choice of OEMs when it comes to tyres don't they and the Slavia is no different, the display car came fitted with Ceat tyres, a car so powerful(especially the 1.5TSi model) with supposedly best driving dynamics in its segment does deserve better tyres and no less than Michelin/Yokohama IMHO but then again Škoda has provided us with rubbish GoodYear Eagle NCT5 in their erstwhile Superb and Octavia which created a hell lot of tyre noise, gave up on even slightly more demanding situations and wore out in about 10-15k kilometers or so. Sorry for a bit of over-reaction but IMHO tyres are a very integral part and every OEM should provide such rubber which is perfectly suitable for their cars. Sorry for a bit of over-reaction but IMHO tyres are a very integral part and every OEM should provide such rubber which is perfectly suitable for their cars.
The boot space is massive and a huge improvement over the erstwhile Rapid and is more in line with the older gen Octavia though I would've liked if Škoda would have had been simply clever here and provided us with the dual boot or boot + rear windshield opening option like they did with the last gen Superb(refer to the 2014 Superb review if you didn't get what I said, link. One point I would like to add, the boot had partial cladding only and the boot's ceiling was left naked without any padding and even though there were no dangling wires it was looking a bit odd, especially considering its a premium Škoda.
The interiors are a real level up from both Kushaq and Taigun and at first glance looks extremely premium, it almost seems that after being bashed left right and centre for Kushaq's iffy interior quality and dull colour scheme they've gone full throttle and given their full heart in making Slavia's interiors, the golden beige theme looks very upmarket and the dashboards' plastic even though hard were very robustly built with no irregular panel gap, the round vents at the side actually reminded me of the Chevrolet Cruze.
Unlike the Kushaq in which the seat leather felt very aftermarket with poor fitting Slavia has very premium perforated upholstery with perfect fitting. The roofliner has been updated and the texture is very smooth(in comparison to the Taigun which had very utilitarian woven roof-liner), even though I've been very impressed with the improvement in the interiors still there is a lot more way to go, for instance the central lock/unlock switch still felt flimsy, the roofliner was rough and unfinished at the edges(felt like it would just detach in the years to come considering our harsh heat)
Unlike the segment stalwart 5th gen Honda City there ain't no soft touch leather trims present in the the door pads and centre console(they really drive up the luxury quotient by several notches), instead Škoda has given piano black finish on the dashboard which even though appealing has a tendency to get scratched and marred easily (even the brand new display car had scratches on the piano black areas!
The doors felt really hefty(same like Taigun) and the rear door even though a bit lighter than the front ones(again same as the Taigun) was very hefty and definitely had the solid premium reassuring thunk. The insulation has also been done very nicely and no cost cutting there, even though I couldn't check the engine bay(I don't think so it has any claddings as the Taigun also didn't have any) but there were proper full wheel arch claddings(even cars like Fortuner doesn't have one!), the door beadings were all in place and supposedly of better quality than the one in Kushaq and I hope it doesn't squeak in the future.
Cabin & Space
The cabins even though spacious and airy didn't feel like very very spacious as suggested by Škoda going by how much they stressed on it being longer than 1st gen Octavia, I have a perfect 6' frame and I felt very comfortable behind my own driving position though I must say that Honda City easily has ~3-4" more legroom although things are much much better here than the Hyundai Verna.
Overall I'm very happy with the product and it does seem like Škoda has put much more effort in making this as compared to Kushaq which to be very honest just feels like a half-hearted job.
The exteriors are beautiful, the interiors are well appointed, the space and comfort is actually very good, the features on offer are satisfactory and even though I couldn't drive it, knowing that it's a Škoda and has a very potent set of engines and transmission combos which coupled with supposedly good driving dynamics truly makes it an all rounder performer just like the erstwhile Škoda Octavia.
This product has definitely a potential and has the ability to make its own niche(just like the Thar), all boils down to pricing now, I really hope that Škoda prices it lower than expected as introductory which will lead to more footfalls in the showroom and once the car gains momentum price it where you wanted just like what the Thar, Magnite and XUV700 doing which by the way are all very successful in their respective segment. Some photographs for your viewing pleasure.
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