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Old 9th July 2012, 15:30   #1
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Default Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS

The search for a new car began last November. We needed a replacement after selling our second Innova (had used and sold one before). This time though, we figured out that another 7 seater is not really necessary. The third row was used very rarely. Hence decided go for a premium sedan this time.

The following cars were considered.

1. Chevy Cruze: A well built car. The all black interiors was impressive. Good choice of colours and also appealed to be the more VFM option compared to others. But the interiors felt cramped and the clutch was a pain to use in city traffic, though we're used to driving diesel cars. Automatic was the obvious choice, but the news of an updated cruze with 160hp coming soon put it on hold.
2. Toyota Corolla: Having used two Innovas, we were mighty impressed by Toyota's quality and after sales service. But Corolla diesel though having tremendous drivability, felt underpowered and the petrol wasnt considered as the Tsi was a much better choice anyday.
3. Honda Civic: Nice car, spacious, good rear seat. Has a unique cockpit with the digitial display and stuff. But felt the Laura, Jetta and Cruze to be better handlers. Also having read the numerous Tsi threads on Tbhp, it seemed more logical , and having to rev high each time to extract the power wasnt exactly our taste.
4. Volkswagen Jetta: Test drive vehicle was a highline DSG model. Had enough power on tap and it handled brilliantly. The rear had much more legroom than Laura . Loved the looks. More of a timeless design. But the steep price put us off. Almost nearing the price of a Superb. We would have gone for the manual version if not for the vRS. Missed some features like xenons, ACC etc. Also compared to Laura, the new Jetta seemed to be a step or two below as far as interior build quality is concerned, including the plastics. The interiors of Laura elegance seemed much more premium.
5. Skoda Laura: We never actually got a test drive of any Tsi variant. Cant blame the dealers, there weren't any takers at all and maintaining a Tsi for test drive doesnt make sense. Unlike the Jetta we test drove, which had already done close to 19000kms, the Laura Elegance DSG we drove was rather new, just 1600km on the odo. It didn't have paddle shifts or steering mounted controls like the Jetta, but still it was much more premium. The plastics, the central console with dual zone ACC and the leather seats were much better than on the full blown jetta. But have to say the Jetta has the best in class rear seats and much more mature suspension setup. Soaks up the bumps as wells as better road manners than the Laura, with lesser body roll and of course looks way better.

Now a decision among this list would have landed us with either the Laura Elegance DSG or Jetta Highline MT. But the heart was still calling out for a Tsi. The fact of having read through all those Tsi threads, by then the official Team bhp review of Laura vRS, and still not able to get a test drive of a Tsi made it more dearer.

We already have a diesel sedan(Verna) and a small hatchback (alto K10). The new car would run less than 1000km a month and we plan to keep it for more than 5 years (hence re-sale value was not an issue). After much debating about the fuel prices, running costs etc, heart won over head. We're not chauffer driven and a fun to drive car is always special. And so it was to be, a a Laura vRS
Attached Thumbnails
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1423.jpg  

Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1510.jpg  

Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1476.jpg  

Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1454.jpg  


Last edited by avinash_clt : 9th July 2012 at 16:04. Reason: Pic added
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Old 9th July 2012, 16:01   #2
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Default Re: Black panther - Skoda Laura vRS

Choosing between Laura Ambition Tsi and Laura vRS:

Initially during december when we checked out for the car, Ambtion had Rs.1 lakh discount and the RS none. This made it nearly 3lakh difference between the models and the RS didnt make sense. We even booked the Ambition Tsi. But due to the ignorance of the dealer we were later informed that petrol lauras dont come in Rosso Brunello color. But along came the good news that RS was now going on a discount of Rs.1lakh. We confirmed with the dealer that it was not a stock clearance and he assured a 2012 model. Reasons why I believe a vRS is worth the additional two lakhs.
  • The superbly comfortable front seats on the RS. They look better and feels better. Many people including seat cover dealers have asked me from where I've got it done. Personally they look sportier than any Stanley aftermarket fitments.
  • The chunky 3 spoke steering wheel with smaller radii. Gives better grip and looks better than the one in ambition.
  • The black and brushed aluminium finish feels more premium than the beige (personal choice).
  • Xenons along with cornering function. The way the headlights do the self check(horizontal and vertical) is cool enough. But its not just a cosmetic function. Spirited drive through some narrow twisties or ghat sections during night and one will truly appreciate their worth.
  • 16" alloys instead of the 15" alloys on the ambition. Also slightly broader stock tyres.
  • A touchscreen audio player with surprising good sound quality for a stock unit.
  • Foldable mirrors. The last 200m to my home is pretty narrow and I have to use this function very often. Puddle lamps are great during night , especially during monsoons.
  • Much better looking front bumper and very bright DRLs. Its the same laura from the sides, but from front with DRLs, the car grabs attention. Again many have asked from where i got the bumper and DRLs.
  • A decently accurate tyre pressure sensor. Chrome tip exhausts and rear spoiler makes up for the otherwise plane jane affair of the rear.
  • At the showroom when parked along another laura ambition DSG, RS seemed to have better fabric and material along the door pads, armrests etc.
  • Sunroof, headlamp washers, side airbags, auto-dimming internal rear view mirrors, autoleveling headlamps, rain-sensing wipers etc add to the safety and convenience.

Thus if one can stretch his budget or planning to buy and upgrade an Ambition Tsi, better go with the vRS. We booked our car late Jan and took delivery on feb26 (yes a sunday, that was a first). Wildon's VIN thread was very useful and confirmed the car was a 2012 model. Have done close to 5000 kms now. Longest drive has been a single day 610km through wayanad-muthanga-mudumalai-mysore-mandya just to spent a sunday in a vRS

Engine and Transmission:
What more has to be said about this brilliant engine. Its loaded with tech, stratified direct injection, variable valve timing, water cooled turbocharger. There's enough torque from low down the range like a diesel and never runs out of juice even while approaching the redline. Its quite easy to drive in the city and brilliant on the highways. 40kmph in 4th gear, 70kmph in 6th gear. No problem at all. And when the roads are straight, 100kmph+ in 2nd gear and 180 in 4th gear. Drivability in any gear is superb. There isn't any mad rush of torque, it's linear and past 2k rpm, it's point and shoot. Refinement is top notch, and the cabin is so silent that when driving alone at night, it gives a eerie feeling.
The 6 speed + reverse gearbox has a short throw and is precise. The clutch has a fair bit of travel. People used to driving diesels will take some time getting used to and I occasionally stalled the car initially. Shifting from first to second is a little notchy. And a manual is always more delightful than any DSG.

Suspension, handling and the drive:
vRS has a stiffened up suspension. Drive a regular Laura and RS back to back and it'll be quite apparent. But its not uncomfortably stiff. Before driving RS, I found the Jetta to be the most stable. But the RS is equally stable and much more nimble. Brakes have a strong bite and ABS , EBD , TSR further helps during those nasty surprises. I have upgraded the stock tyres to 225/50 R16 Michelin PS3. The car is tall by sedan standards, but along with a driver seat which has fair range of height adjustment, road visibility is superior than its VW cousin. Driving this car is always a delight. Though the seat adjustment levers are all manual, they help in achieving a perfect driving position and the chunky steering aids this further.

The tyre upgrade
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1330.jpg


The only mechanical differentiator between vRS and regular Tsi - suspension. Notice the 'rough road package' - Skoda's underbody protection (even under the lower suspension arms)
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1628.jpg
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Old 9th July 2012, 16:26   #3
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Default Re: Black panther - Skoda Laura vRS

Features:
It has got all the segment basics covered. 4 airbags, ASR, ABS, EBD cover the safety front. Rain sensing wipers, xenon lamps with washers, sunroof, alcantra-leather upholstery, a touch screen HU with 8 speakers, auto-dimming interior RVM, electrically foldable external RVM, puddle lamps, sunroof, tyre pressure sensor, manual height and lumbar adjustment for both passengers, the basic MID. A segment exclusive is the cornering headlamps. Though I don't miss ACC or cruise control, I do miss steering controls . Cause for anything apart from changing volume, one has to take his eyes away from the road (due to the touch interface).

Interiors:
Perhaps best in the segment. Not in terms of features, but by the quality of the seats, the beautiful Alcantra- leather mix and the quality of the plastics. The seats hugs you and a perfect steering. The touch screen audio system is pretty decent sound quality for a stock unit. The dials are easy to read and the needle sweep is a treat. Good use of the cabin space with storage options at the centre of dashboard, at the bottom of centre console, under the armrest, under the front passenger seat, at the sides of both the front seats, underneath the headlamp switch. This is addition to the bottle holders in each door, sunglass holder, and storage pockets behind the front seats. Also the big boot along with notchback design makes this the sportiest car to move your house.
Behind the steering wheel, its awesome. But far from it when at the rear. The seats lack under-thigh support and along with the stiff suspension, its not the place you want to be in the vRS. Legroom is decent, but not much my segment standards. The rear air-con is pretty much ineffective with no separate blower settings, and the AC isn't a chiller either. The centre hump is also prominent and the car is best suited for four.

The chunky vRS steering
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1564.jpg
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1577.jpg
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1309.jpg
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1415.jpg

Supremely comfortable and supportive front seats
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1545.jpg

Manual Knob adjustment for backrest and lumbar
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1573.jpg

The rear bench: Average legroom and lack of underthight support. Prominent centre hump also present.
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1538.jpg

Sporty pedals
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1580.jpg

vRS scuff plates on each side of the front doors
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1312.jpg

The basic yet classy centre console
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1586.jpg

Auto-dimming IRVM. Sunroof conrols visible in the mirror
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1602.jpg

The long speaker like arrangement near the front windshield. For the 12 speaker arrangement as in L&K?
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1611.jpg

Last edited by avinash_clt : 9th July 2012 at 18:50.
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Old 9th July 2012, 17:50   #4
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Default Re: Black panther - Skoda Laura vRS

Exterior:
As mentioned by Akshay in his thread, only changes that an enthusiast will notice. The vRS front bumper looks much better than the stock car and hence the car is slightly longer. The DRLs are quite bright. Spoiler and chrome tip exhausts gives character to the rear. Alloys are not the best design around, and seems small for the car. At least Skoda could have provided 7Jx16 rims instead of 6.5x16 ones. I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

The front bumper, grille and DRLs makes the vRS stand out from the rest of the crowd
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1502.jpg
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited0618.jpg

The rear spoiler and chrome tip exhausts
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1394.jpg

Wondering what those blue LEDs above the headlamps are for? DRLs serve the purpose of parking lights also
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1549.jpg

At certain angles, she can be gorgeous from the rear also
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1514.jpg


Overall:
Even when the petrol prices shot up, there hasn't been any regret for buying this car. On the highways it is a blast to drive and can quickly become the most sedate in city traffic. The drivability of these Tsi engines is something to be experienced firsthand. Its quick to the ton than most of the regular traffic on road, and will still keep climbing. If you're anywhere above the 1.8k-2k mark, overtaking is a breeze. Gearshifts are smooth, the steering is well weighted, though not the most communicative. One of the most silent cabins this side of 25lakh (superb Tsi aside). It gives a decent fuel economy considering the power on tap. Returns around 8.5-9kmpl in city conditions and 12kmpl if driven sedately on the highways. Suspension is stiff, not bone-jarring. Interior and plastic quality is top notch. I've upgraded the tyres to 225/50 PS3 and also put in 3D mats. Otherwise the car is stock. Remaps and other upgrades, maybe after a couple of years. Will miss some fancy features, but there isn't anything to complain about the car. Perhaps the best enthusiast car under 25lkh. It's not a true vRS like the Octy was, but it's a much better overall package.

Some more pics:

Regular 91octane fuel will do
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1554.jpg

Taken during a drive through Bandipur
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1313.jpg
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1318.jpg
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1326.jpg
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1397.jpg
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1427.jpg

Couple of shots taken just after sunset
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1429.jpg
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1436.jpg

Thats me on the left with my friend after a sunday drive
Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS-edited1465.jpg

P.S: This is my first ownership report, please feel free to correct me and give your opinions.

Cheers,
Avi.
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Old 10th July 2012, 13:29   #5
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Default Re: Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th July 2012, 14:08   #6
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Default Re: Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS

Congratulations! I'm pretty sure that decision to go with the vRS was one from heart. And I must admit, it's a beauty I'd love to steal. The monsoons in Kerala may not be quite in favour of keeping that exterior of the panther spanking new.
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Old 10th July 2012, 14:16   #7
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Default Re: Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS

Quote:
Originally Posted by mempheS.D View Post
Congratulations! I'm pretty sure that decision to go with the vRS was one from heart. And I must admit, it's a beauty I'd love to steal. The monsoons in Kerala may not be quite in favour of keeping that exterior of the panther spanking new.
Thanks. Yes it's indeed a decision from the heart True, it's hard keeping her clean during the monsoons, a 2km drive is all it takes to make her ready for another wash.
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Old 10th July 2012, 14:40   #8
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Default Re: Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS

Congrats Avinash.
Your panther looks menacing and powerfull. Black interiors with black exteriors give the car that look.
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Old 10th July 2012, 15:05   #9
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Default Re: Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS

Congrats on your new car. Wish you a safe motoring.
Your vRS looks hot. Liked the seat covers a lot.
And a good ownership report too.
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Old 10th July 2012, 15:11   #10
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Congrats! That's one enthusiastic engine you've got yourself.

Glad to find heart winning over head!
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Old 10th July 2012, 15:20   #11
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Default Re: Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS

Kudos to you on the ride!
In an era where mileage is something that everyone lives by, Petrolheads are an endangered species
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Old 10th July 2012, 15:49   #12
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Default Re: Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS

absolutely gorgeous machine.
congrats. VRS extra goodies are really something special though not VFM, as it makes you stand special in crowd.
enjoy the petrol power and wish you safe drive.
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Old 10th July 2012, 18:09   #13
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Default Re: Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daewood View Post
Congrats Avinash.
Your panther looks menacing and powerfull. Black interiors with black exteriors give the car that look.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodred View Post
Congrats! That's one enthusiastic engine you've got yourself.

Glad to find heart winning over head!
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinaydas View Post
Kudos to you on the ride!
In an era where mileage is something that everyone lives by, Petrolheads are an endangered species
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicky View Post
absolutely gorgeous machine.
congrats. VRS extra goodies are really something special though not VFM, as it makes you stand special in crowd.
enjoy the petrol power and wish you safe drive.
Thanks guys. True, heart won over head. But it was just needed for that push towards booking a Tsi. Now after 5000km and 4 months, absolutely no regrets
Quote:
Originally Posted by ACMohan View Post
Congrats on your new car. Wish you a safe motoring.
Your vRS looks hot. Liked the seat covers a lot.
And a good ownership report too.
Thanks. Those aren't seat covers. They're stock seats exclusive to the vRS.
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Old 10th July 2012, 18:20   #14
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Default Re: Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS

Congrats on your new ride! I am sure its a fun to drive, revv happy engine. Hope you crunch lot of kms under your belt. !!!!

Happy mile crunching!!
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Old 10th July 2012, 19:22   #15
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Default Re: Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS

Quote:
Originally Posted by avinash_clt View Post
Thanks. Those aren't seat covers. They're stock seats exclusive to the vRS.
Yeah, I've read your ownership report. When I said 'the seat covers', I meant the seats actually.
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