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Old 27th May 2013, 03:08   #1
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Post 2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics. 45,000 Kms Update

Our New Skoda Laura L&K TDi DSG: 6 Months Ownership Report

As some of you would know, we took delivery of a brand new Skoda Laura around October last year. Since then, the car has essentially become my daily drive, and I have completed a little over 7,500 kms in the past 6 months.

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Background:
It all started out in September, when we decided to finally retire the aging fiesta, which had completed 98,000 reliable kms with us, under my eye and care. During its last year, it was delegated to performing routine office chores, and I switched between the Liva and the E.
However, as the scenario changed, with the Fiesta running nearly 3K km/month, and with ever increasing traffic around my office, coupled with a chauffeur shortage; the seed for a new A/T vehicle was planted in our minds.
The fiesta, as the highest run car, was to be sold off, as much as I loved her – I got my license and did most of my driving in the fiesta. It truly was a fantastic car, and I will miss it a lot!

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The Liva took over the Fiesta’s chores, the Merc was parked back in the garage for the weekend drives, and the search for a new daily driver began.

Shortlisting:

As the primary user of the car, I was very clear on what I wanted:
- Size! Compact enough for the city, while being decently spacious and practical for the slightly longer drives with friends. Width was a key issue here as I noticed that I don’t have parking issues, but have to squeeze through between oncoming traffic and pedestrians everyday. Keeping this in mind, a C+ segment sedan was ideal as it offered more space than the fiesta (important given that I am 6’+) but was compact enough for the city. Ideally a fast A/T hatch, but until the Polo TSi was recently launched, there were no other practical options.

- Performance – Not only 0-100 times, but something that could be driven around easily. Little turbo-lag, and a quick A/T gearbox were essential. I have gotten frustrated with the laggy 5 speed A/T on the E – No more!

- Only Diesels were in the consideration set.

- A good ride and handling balance – with a bias for handling. High-speed stability (during light braking, crosswinds, road undulations), and good handling around corners with little body roll, and a flat ride were key parameters.

- Brand Value – Sadly, while I do not care much about this, it is becoming increasingly important in society. I needed something that didn’t attract attention and was relatively common. However, a good image needed to be associated with the car as for some odd reason, people gave more respect to a good brand – with the E, people used to give way whereas with the Liva, people were only too happy to try and cut me off.

- Reliability – This is a long-term car. The Fiesta was with us for 6 years and 98,000 kms. The W211 has been with us for 9 years, and 75,000 kms – and is still going strong. We do not change cars quickly in this family – something to do with attachment - Mom still can’t quite understand it. I want to see this car do as good a run as the Fiesta, if not better.

The budget was set in the 15-20L bracket.

Keeping this in mind, I shortlisted the following:
- Skoda Laura
- VW Jetta

And just for the heck of it, I went and checked out the following:
- E90 320D Dynamic with Sports Kit: Superb deals were available on the E90. Sadly, with no Xenons or sunroof, poor ride, and a price tag that was 50% more than the Laura’s, it was a no-no. Maybe if the highline was still in stock.
- New 320D: Once again, out of reach. At launch prices, the 520D with the discounts made more sense, as the base model isn’t as well equipped as I would like.
- C250 CDI Avantgarde: Lovely car. Just too expensive!
- VW Passat: I’ve been a big fan of the Passat ever since we test drove it in 2011, and we were very close to bringing one back home then. Dad and me saw this at the showroom while checking out the Jetta. As impressive as it is, we let it go due to size and price.
- Skoda Superb: With nearly the same features, it made little sense to spend the extra 7L for space which would never be used as often and lose out on nimbleness within the city. With the current deals however, it would have surely been a very tempting option.
- Hyundai Elantra: Loved it! Would buy it if I needed to be driven around. But with a 1.6L CRDi engine mated to its soft suspension, it’s not for the enthusiast.

So it all boiled down to the Jetta v/s the Laura, and here is how I saw it:

VW Jetta
- Love the looks!
- New in the market – will stay ‘in’ for longer – better resale value
- Slightly more spacious, and a more comfortable back seat
- Arguably better ride quality. Just about.

Skoda Laura:
- Plusher interiors – soft touch plastics and what not.
- Key features – Xenons, better music system, seat memory, real leather seats, etc.
- Handled slightly better, and felt more nimble in the city.

Interestingly, the Jetta seemed more of a compromise than the Laura did, so it was decided to get the Laura. As this was going to be a long-term buy, we went out and got the top-end L&K trim with all the safety features and such.

A big thanks to Akshay1234, Platzda_turbo, Xehaust, Akki05, and other friends/BHPians for actually making me take a TD of the Laura.
Previously in 2011, I had driven a Laura, and wasn’t as impressed. Maybe my expectations were too high, or the car wasn’t very well maintained, but the old Jetta simply blew me away with its handling at that time. With expectations of the same genes, combined with the better looks and larger interiors, I had pretty much set my mind on getting a Jetta.
However, due to repeat pushing and threats to take a test drive, and even opportunities to check out fellow members Laura’s and Superb’s, I finally took the plunge and took another test drive on a better maintained vehicle. Thanks guys!

We finally ended up booking a Candy White (I’ve always wanted a white car since the last few years) Skoda Laura L&K with Skoda Autobahn at Prabhadevi. The sales and delivery process was quite smooth for most part, barring the running around trying to get a good and easy to remember number from the RTO.
The delivery took place from their newly opened Breach Candy/Warden Road outlet on the 19th of October.

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Since then, I have driven 7500kms within the city, and am still always eager to jump for the keys at every opportunity.

Pros:
- Nimble and easy to drive in the city. I got used to the size pretty quickly, and am very comfortable driving it around in the city.
The turning radius is superb, and a boon in traffic and tight situations.

- Superb engine and gearbox! While I hate the lag at low engine speeds, I have gotten used to it, and manage a pretty decent job. I am amazed at how quick the gears shift, and the power delivery of the car. It simply keeps on going, and even manages to show off in front of some bigger cars. Similar sized competitors such as the Corolla, Fluence, etc. don’t even come in the picture.
In fact, recently after taking delivery, I did a road trip to Goa with a few friends in a Superb TDi. It really opened my eyes to what a gem of an engine/gearbox combination this car has, and also a good insight into how to really extract it for best drivability.

- Interiors: In terms of outright quality, the interiors are probably the best in its segment. However, I wish there were additional trim colors to choose from (the Octavia L&K had black or beige interiors depending on exterior shade), and some bits are a little iffy and loose – such as the storage box on top of the dash which occasionally pops open when the car hits a large pothole (below the idol).
Similarly, the wood has some light scratches already visible.

2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics. 45,000 Kms Update-t3.jpg

- Feature loaded! Almost everything I wanted, and then some more, is present in the car. The sound system with 12 speakers is simply fantastic, and the memory seats are a godsend! Even small details such as cornering fog lights, and headlights that bend around turns, etc. are greatly appreciated. Interestingly, the L&K is the only variant to come with ESP. Apart from the Elantra, the Laura is the most feature loaded in its segment.

- Fuel Efficiency: At 11-12kmpl in the city, its simply fantastic keeping in mind the performance and A/T! The fiesta used to give 13.5-14 when it was new!
When the car was new, we used to get 10.5, but now 12+ has become the norm.


- Build Quality: Love the thud, and lets not forget the detailing and finish.

- Small touches: Like how the key fob can close/open the windows and ORVMs, or how the left mirror tilts on engaging reverse, and even how the seat memory remembers the ORVM positions.

- DIY and Modification Potential: Lets be honest – we’re all petrol heads, and many of us love to play around a little with the car. Luckily with the Laura, there are a host of aftermarket accessories available in India and abroad. Similarly, with VAG-COM software, owners can carry out small changes and unlocks. Adds to the feel good factor I guess.


Cons:
- Ride Quality is on the stiffer side. While this is great for dismissing small potholes and bumps at speed, it has its downsides at low speeds. However, this has been the preferred choice for me.

- Tyres: A serious weak link. The car desperately needs grippier and wider rubber. I can’t wait to throw these away!

- Skimping out on small features! Why Skoda?!? On one hand, you load up the car with all the bells and whistles, but skimp out on a few essential features such as the Sunroof, Bi-Xenon headlights, Bluetooth, semi-electric passenger seat (if not fully electric), an ashtray (of all the things!), a concave/convex ORVM etc.

- Rear seat comfort: While legroom is not a concern for a typical passenger (i.e. not those sitting behind me), I hate how the rear seat is so upright. The Jetta scores in this department. Sadly, this is one of the biggest regrets with this car.

- Super-light steering: While this is great in the city, I hate it on the fast drives. Wish there was more feedback as well. Want to see if anything can be done about this through VCDS/VAG-COM.

- Skoda Brand: Let’s be honest – even as much as I like to believe that Skoda India is improving, and as much as my friends and BHPians might reassure me about their service in Mumbai – I am still a skeptic. Any small noise or issue gets me worried.
At around 5,500kms, we sent the car to Skoda Autobahn at Sewri for an oil change (not manufacturer recommended, but I preferred to get one done at the end of the run-in period), and asked him to fix up the rattling parcel shelf. Have no complaints, except that the rattle is back. Thanks to Akshay1234 for the recommendation and help.

Maintenance & Costs:

As mentioned above, the car was sent for an oil change at 5,500kms. The total costs incurred for the same were in the region of Rs. 7,500.
The car was delivered within hours, and barring a glitch and delay in their billing system, was quite happy overall.
Before someone asks, yes, the engine oil was nearing the ‘Low’ mark at that time, as is common for this engine.

This aside, I got her detailed last month for Rs. 3,500. Plan to do a professional detailing twice a year.

Accessories & Modifications:
Even though she is just 6 months old, the keedas to start playing around have already started. So far, I haven’t done much except change over to Bosch horns (for the authentic European honk) as Skoda has recently switched to the boring beep horns in the Laura and below.

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In addition to that, I chased my friend (thanks bro!) to hook her up to the VAG-COM gear, and activate the following:
- Cornering fogs – interestingly, they come on at speeds below 40 when the steering is turned, or a turn indicator is given.
- Needle sweep on start-up
- DRLs - there is a manual method to do the same – pull and hold the indicator stalk towards you and down (left indicator while flashing someone the high beams), within 3 seconds of turning the ignition on until you hear a beep. Similarly, to deactivate it, simply pull the indicator stalk towards you, and up (right indicator and high beams), within 3 seconds of turning the ignition on until you hear a beep.

Note the separate DRL housing:

2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics. 45,000 Kms Update-t4.jpg

I noticed the option to alter the weight of the steering as well, and would like inputs from members if anyone has tried the same.

That aside, at the moment, contemplating whether I should paint the rims gray (Thanks AD for the PS help):

2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics. 45,000 Kms Update-untitled1.jpg

Or whether to run these for a few more kms and then upgrade to 17” – budget permitting!
I have a load of plans for this car, to keep the excitement going till the end. Let’s hope it materializes!


Incidents:

Unfortunately, in the first month of ownership, the car met with 3 very minor accidents, with some small dents, and scratches.
Thankfully, they aren’t noticeable unless one looks really closely! Did try touch up paint, and that has helped a little bit. However, since they are so small, I am not even planning on getting it touched up for a bit.

That aside, the ownership period has been simply superb so far. In fact, I haven’t even taken out any of the other cars for a spin as much since I got the Laura. While there are some cons no doubt, the car has met our requirements quite well, and so far, I am a happy customer. Let's hope Skoda manages to keep me this way!

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Last edited by lamborghini : 3rd June 2013 at 08:12.
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Old 4th June 2013, 14:43   #2
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Default re: 2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - 20,000Kms Update - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 4th June 2013, 16:13   #3
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Default re: 2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - 20,000Kms Update - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics

That is a great write-up. Please add more pictures and keep the thread updated.
Wish you many more happy miles and a niggle free ownership!
Cheers!
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Old 5th June 2013, 07:53   #4
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Default re: 2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - 20,000Kms Update - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics

That's a good write-up, thanks for sharing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
In addition to that, I chased my friend (thanks bro!) to hook her up to the VAG-COM gear, and activate the following:
- Cornering fogs – interestingly, they come on at speeds below 40 when the steering is turned, or a turn indicator is given.
I didn't know the new Laura had this option.
Can this be enabled on the previous gen Laura as well? I have a last-gen L&K.
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Old 5th June 2013, 09:44   #5
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Default re: 2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - 20,000Kms Update - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics

I was wondering when your Laura would make it to tbhp. Had to be sooner rather than later.
Went through the same dilemma and landed up with the same car just 4 months prior to you and after 11 months at 19k kms i couldnt be any happier. What an engine, what a gearbox, what features ...WHAT a car !
Wish you many happy miles with her.
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Old 5th June 2013, 10:39   #6
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Default re: 2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - 20,000Kms Update - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics

Many congratulations for the Laura TDi.
Wish you many happy mile munching with the car an a niggle free performance.
Enjoy your ride and drive safe.

Enjoyed going through the crisp review, thanks.
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Old 5th June 2013, 11:16   #7
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Default re: 2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - 20,000Kms Update - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics

Congratulations Lamborghini on a fantastic write-up. Enjoy a fine ride and keep updating...
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Old 5th June 2013, 12:44   #8
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Congratulations!! Its a gem of a car and i am sure you will have a lot of fun. If it was not for my wife i would not be waiting for the T-Jet and would be driving one of the models from the Laura family by now!!
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Old 5th June 2013, 17:13   #9
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Default re: 2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - 20,000Kms Update - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics

Nice car, nice write up. The current Laura is a fantastic all-rounder and if it weren't for Skoda's poor service reputation in India, this car would be flying off the shelves. The quality levels are really good and the car ages very well. The DSG + TDI combo really works wonders in this car. It can be seriously quick when you want it to and also delivers exceptional fuel efficiency when driven normally.

Do update the thread on a regular basis. Wish you a safe and happy ownership experience.
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Old 5th June 2013, 20:04   #10
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Default re: 2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - 20,000Kms Update - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics

Congrats for the Laura TDi! This is undoubtedly a superb car. Also, a very well written review. Wish you happy miles ahead, drive safe!
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Old 6th June 2013, 05:13   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EagleEye View Post
That's a good write-up, thanks for sharing!
I didn't know the new Laura had this option.
Can this be enabled on the previous gen Laura as well? I have a last-gen L&K.
Eagle Sir, I doubt it can be activated on the old pre-FL Laura.
You could check it out though. I found briskoda.com to be quite useful.
The old L&K is a fantastic car as well. I remember taking a TD way back when it was launched. Loved the kit on offer, but dad didn't see the value in the car at that time as there was only one variant available, and it was pretty closely priced to the higher segment vehicles too.
Wish the current L&K came with a sunroof!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlatzdaTurbo View Post
I was wondering when your Laura would make it to tbhp. Had to be sooner rather than later.
Went through the same dilemma and landed up with the same car just 4 months prior to you and after 11 months at 19k kms i couldnt be any happier. What an engine, what a gearbox, what features ...WHAT a car !
Wish you many happy miles with her.
Bro - You're one of the main reasons its parked in my compound! Thanks a ton for all your help!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by puchoo View Post
Congratulations!! Its a gem of a car and i am sure you will have a lot of fun. If it was not for my wife i would not be waiting for the T-Jet and would be driving one of the models from the Laura family by now!!
Puchoo - Sir, the wait will make you enjoy your new Skoda (whenever it is meant to happen - new Octavia is going to be very tempting) even more!
Congrats on the T-Jet - its a lovely car with superb handling and good performance! whenever its time, the Laura/Octavia TSi will definitely be a fun upgrade!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
Nice car, nice write up. The current Laura is a fantastic all-rounder and if it weren't for Skoda's poor service reputation in India, this car would be flying off the shelves. The quality levels are really good and the car ages very well. The DSG + TDI combo really works wonders in this car. It can be seriously quick when you want it to and also delivers exceptional fuel efficiency when driven normally.

Do update the thread on a regular basis. Wish you a safe and happy ownership experience.
Santosh Sir, the A.S.S. is the only part of the whole experience that has me scared. So far, with our Octavia Combi, the experience hasn't been the greatest, but at the same time, I have seen worse!
Got my fingers crossed.
With regards to the gearbox - it is simply magnificent. In fact, I took the E60 out for a small spin the other day, and was missing the quick shifting DSG badly! Waiting to bump up the power with a tuning box soon, so the car can really be a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Its not poor performance by any means, but more power is always appreciated.

Thanks Satshan, Dkaile, Batfreak, and GTO for the kind words!
Will definitely keep the thread updated with better pictures to come!

At the moment, on holiday and am just waiting to come back and go for a long drive in it! Its been the perfect upgrade from the Fiesta!

Next steps are to replace the fogs and DRL bulbs with something more powerful. The left DRL just gave up on me a week before I left, so using it as an opportunity to upgrade all the bulbs.
Will post once back from my trip.
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Old 6th June 2013, 08:34   #12
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Default re: 2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - 20,000Kms Update - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics

This is a lovely variant of the Laura, the Lauren & Klement Please be more generous with pictures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
Cons:
- Ride Quality is on the stiffer side. While this is great for dismissing small potholes and bumps at speed, it has its downsides at low speeds. However, this has been the preferred choice for me.

- Tyres: A serious weak link. The car desperately needs grippier and wider rubber. I can’t wait to throw these away!
I believe the ride will improve once you swap your tires. Swapped the Yeti's from Good Year to Michelin & the ride is very absorbing now.

I would suggest you to go ahead with a tire swap.

Quote:
- Super-light steering: While this is great in the city, I hate it on the fast drives. Wish there was more feedback as well. Want to see if anything can be done about this through VCDS/VAG-COM.
Can it be? Please keep posted about this.


Quote:
Next steps are to replace the fogs and DRL bulbs with something more powerful. The left DRL just gave up on me a week before I left, so using it as an opportunity to upgrade all the bulbs.
Indeed the headlamps need to be upgraded (of the Yeti) Please keep posted. I think both would be having similar configuration/set-up.
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Old 6th June 2013, 11:42   #13
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Default re: 2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - 20,000Kms Update - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics

Thank you!!

Currently of-course between my wife and Fiats confused state regarding the launch of the T-Jet... i have no choice but to wait!! But yes , i would love to get the new Skoda - hopefully a very good appraisal might change my fortunes a bit!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post

Puchoo - Sir, the wait will make you enjoy your new Skoda (whenever it is meant to happen - new Octavia is going to be very tempting) even more!
Congrats on the T-Jet - its a lovely car with superb handling and good performance! whenever its time, the Laura/Octavia TSi will definitely be a fun upgrade!

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Old 11th June 2013, 00:54   #14
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Default re: 2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - 20,000Kms Update - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics

Just saw your thread bro.. landed on TBHP after what seems like ages. Many congratulations buddy! Sweet ride
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Old 11th June 2013, 19:13   #15
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Smile re: 2012 Skoda Laura L&K TDi - 20,000Kms Update - Remapped by Tune-O-Tronics

Hi lamboghini!
Many congratulations!. That's a lovely car indeed. White color just looks fantastic on this car. A nicely written review I must say . By the way as you said, you got that "needle sweep on start-up" activated, I wanted to know that is it only for skoda cars? Can I have it activated on my i20 too?
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