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Old 22nd February 2010, 19:58   #1
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Default Skoda Laura - Long-term (14,000 Kms) ownership Review!

As I spend more time with this beast, I get to learn more about it, and then realize there is so much more to explore in this car!
A year and half has gone by, but I'm waiting for the very next oportunity to go on a long drive! It is such a fun to drive!
The best ever drive? ~1700kms round trim in less than 50hrs and attending a marriage! This car proved what it is capable of during this drive!
Highest speed on odo achieved? 200kph! and a consistent cruise at 140kph! This is all on Indian road!
Toughest drive? from Bellary to Bangalore via Sandur I was as much hurted as the wounded (rather non-existent) road! This drive in fact proved how rugged this beast is....
Still keeping my fingers crossed to cross the 40000km mark to see if I too get into woes like others.. touch wood nothing happened so far!

Enough hints about the car... Wait for the detailed review! Wanted to make this review as much comprehensive as possible and hence some time to jott down the details.
Till then here is the summary!

Current odo Reading : 14000kms
Owning since : 1.5years
Year of manufacture : Jul-2008
Total cost of ownership : Rs. 10000/- (excluding Fuel)
FE (City) : 9-13kpl --> Unchanged when reported at 3500km on odo
FE (highway) : 17-21kpl --> these days I get 16.5kpl-19kpl consistently, never felt driving sedately on long drive
Driving experience : Excellent, this is a drivers car after all!! and still feels the very same!
Handling on smooth road : Excellent, nothing to add here
Handling on bad road : Good
Road grip : Excellent, amazing while cornering, even at 180+kph
Gear shift : Excellent, short throws makes every other car look tame!
Pick-up : Excellent
Cabin noise : Minimal, this car is at its best NVH levels when cruising at as high as 14-kph and as low as 80kph in 5th gear!
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Old 22nd February 2010, 20:06   #2
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An ownership review but you have not named the car even once in your report.

I have to see your profile to guess you are talking about Laura.

Anyway keep enjoying.
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Old 22nd February 2010, 20:23   #3
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My car is a July 2009 and already done 12000 kms. The FE is far below desired on my A/T box.
Urban: 6-7kpl
Extra-urban: 11-12kpl
Overall the car is a very decent package (ignoring the AC. That s*cks!).
Maximum speed i could touch was 205 kmph with 4 people on board.
The stock Goodyear NCT5s are cr*p.
I don't mean to hog your ownership report. Anyways, i am glued to this. Have always found your threads interesting!
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Old 22nd February 2010, 20:51   #4
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9 kmpl ?!! I thought you are talking about the diesel...
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Old 22nd February 2010, 20:59   #5
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Originally Posted by anandbhat View Post
Still keeping my fingers crossed to cross the 40000km mark to see if I too get into woes like others.. touch wood nothing happened so far!

Current odo Reading : 14000kms
Anand, come on,ou can't call 14k kms on a Laura long term.I would say the car has done only 5% of its life.

I read in ACI about some Skoda taxis that were going strong even after 6,00,000kms.That should give you something to cheer about.
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Old 22nd February 2010, 21:08   #6
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6,00,000 kms ! Where in India or abroad ?
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Old 22nd February 2010, 21:52   #7
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Originally Posted by vigsom View Post
Anand, come on,ou can't call 14k kms on a Laura long term.I would say the car has done only 5% of its life.

I read in ACI about some Skoda taxis that were going strong even after 6,00,000kms.That should give you something to cheer about.
Vigsom, Long term in terms of time that has passed by, by number of kms crunched, by no means it is long term... But for my driving, my goal is to clock 10-15k kms in the coming years.
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Old 22nd February 2010, 22:40   #8
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Originally Posted by EFF-EIGHT-BEE View Post
6,00,000 kms ! Where in India or abroad ?
This was in Israel, Octy's are also UK's favourite taxi
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Old 22nd February 2010, 23:32   #9
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waiting for the full report!

anand is one of those lucky few who live close to work. so most of his mileage is highway driving. i envy him. my Laura completed ~37K km and nearly all of it in the horrible b'lore CBD traffic. just today had my Nth accident, have to get the fender and bumper repaired!! so far no complaints with the car, except too many new cars these days and too many new dealerships popping up around my place!
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Old 23rd February 2010, 00:31   #10
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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
just today had my Nth accident, have to get the fender and bumper repaired!!
I'm really sorry to hear about the indecent my friend.
Thanks for the kind words.
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Old 23rd February 2010, 19:44   #11
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Default Ownership Review: The Red Laura @ 14000kms!!

Yes, I'm talking about my Red Laura... It has been 1year 6months since I acquired this car, it has served the purpose as a highway car pretty well.
Wanted to update to the forum once I touched 10000km, but got busy. There were minor niggles, but wouldn't complain about these so far. In this review would like to give my perspective/experience of owning the Laura, which may be of help to fellow TBHPians.
95% of my drive has been on highway, as I either use my bike or Chevvy spark to serve me in the city.

In this review, would like to go through each of the aspects with what I have liked and cautions that may be of help. There is nothing like likes and dislikes, but you get each bit of it under each category.

Chassis / Handling : If I have to say in one word, UNBELIEVABLE!
Excellent handling on any road condition. Especially cornering is some thing to speak about! this car sticks to ground absolutely well. A very sure footed car I can say! You may be cruising at 80kph or at 140kph this car never feels like floating, and gives lot of confidence to the driver. Even when on 200kph on odo, never felt like I should take my foot off the pedal! That speaks by itself, me being not a race driver by any means!
A note of caution, I would attribute it to my Dunlop 205/65 R15 stock tyres, on cement roads, cornering is not as smooth as on tarmac. At one point at 180kph and cornering, I felt this car leave its track for a fraction of a second, but never on tarmac.

Brakes : Excellent.
There was no occasion when I was scared I wouldn't be able to stop the car from whatever speed I was driving. Once it so happened on highway, a truck changed lane all of a sudden from left most lane to right most (on a 3 lane side), had to break pretty hard from about 130kph-140kph, and car stopped well in safe distance. As much this car is sure footed, it has breaks to complement it. Definitely a positive that lets the driver go that extra kph!

Engine : Good, Noisy on the outside. Nothing to complain about though.
I'm not sure I can say one of the best engine, knowing some of the turbo failures that were reported earlier, but it has enough torque and the "punch factor" What I felt in a ghat was, this engine is very capable. I was able to tackle most of the cars while maneuvering the tight curves (not hair-pin bends though). And I was like "I can't make this engine ever feel like needing to shift gears!" And there was this Fortuner, which tried catching up with no success (no offense to any one). Even with full load, didn't had any issue in steep uphill on tarmac roads (never meant off roading though).
Things to take care for the engine (reference from TDI club). You can easily hear whistling sound when turbo kicks-in.
Leave the engine turned on for about 1min before you set off. I can clearly hear change in the engine tone after a min or so, this is when I know I can move the car. This helps in getting the oil circulated till the turbo, else you run a risk of turbo being activated without enough lubrication and cooling. Bye the way, this turbo uses engine oil for both lubrication and cooling.
Leave the engine on for about a min or so before turning off the car. This helps in making sure no hot oil/air trapped in the turbo, which can cause damage to it.

Fuel Efficiency : Excellent for the sedan. Mostly on Shell or IOC normal diesel, sometimes on BP normal.
Have been able to get decent mileage, lot depends on driving style tyre pressure and conditions around, such as scrawling traffic. In the city (Bangalore traffic), where my MFD displays average speed of 13-15kph mostly worst was 10kph, and worst FE as low as 9kpl. Though on highway, however hard I have driven I get 16kph+ pretty consistently. If driven with soft foot and a cruising speed between 80-100kph, it gives about 18-19kpl. Only once did I manage to get 20+kpl, but that time it was like testing my ability to be patient enough!

Power Delivery : Excellent
Laura delivers power very linear; turbo lag is pretty much nonexistent, as turbo kicks in at ~1500rpm. Thanks to Variable-geometry Garret design and self aligning blades, that improves turbo efficiency. Since the turbo kicks in at lower rpm compared to some of the other diesel engines, it is pretty easy to always be in power band and ensure better fuel efficiency. I have found it pretty good when up-shift is done at 2500rmp or higher, so that in the higher gear you get to set off beyond 1500rpm and hence having the turbo boost at your disposal. As much one presses hard on the pedal, the car keeps rushing forward, till about 3500rpm or so which gets the car to ~180kph (if I remember right), it is not difficult to hit 200kph mark on Laura. Wait for a straight road and can zoom past 180kph very quickly, though hitting 200kph takes little time. Even at 200kph, still pedal not touching the floor! But didn’t courage enough to drive any faster on our roads.
Bye the way, a note of caution, I tried reaching this on an empty stretch during bright day on barricaded straight road.

Driving : It is a delight!
After all this is a drivers’ car. From steering feedback to seating position, it is all perfect from whatever cars I have driven so far (don’t know about BMW/Merc’s though). Over all, one doesn’t get tired while driving this car. We drove non-stop from Bangalore to Pune (except for lunch break and nature call) and back in a span of 50hrs and driving for about 10-12hrs each way and not tired at all!
Few things that aid driving this car are:
- Seating position and the seats itself. Good thigh support, lumbar support really helps in long drive. Height adjustable seats mean one can adjust the height to be able to get right visibility and steering position.
- Reach/height adjustable steering wheels helps in getting the right posture for driving.
- Every control falls into hand very easily, that further improves drivability.
- Excellent leg room for driver and front passenger.
- Short throw of the gear stick is fun to drive most of the times.
Though, beware to pay attention to these:
- Never move Laura in first gear from stand still, always use first gear.
- Never try to half clutch while crossing a hump, car may stall.
- Pay attention while shifting down from 2nd gear to 1st gear, you may end up slotting the stick into 3rd gear. Needs getting used to.
- Clutch activates towards the bottom and hence it is sufficient to leave the clutch slowly for the bottom quarter length, then taking your foot from clutch not so slowly still works without causing any jerk.

Visibility : Good!
Front view is excellent, especially with ability to adjust the height of the seat.
Side views are just good, but if you are looking for left rear side to turn left, front passenger back rest is obstacle some times, my person observation. Otherwise, side visibility is not an issue.
Rear view is worst, but that’s why Skoda has given parktronics! I have even stopped turning back while reversing, always look the display on center console! So much so that I kept looking at music system display on my Spark once!
Visibility through ORVMs is not one of the greatest, but I think I have gotten used to it. Electrically auto dimming IRVM is a nice touch, it does cut of glares without impacting visibility.

Ground clearance : Good!
Don’t expect that bottom won’t scrape! It does while crossing ugly humps especially when the car is loaded full. But for most occasions, no issues. Tyre pressure makes a huge difference here.
Good thing is under body protection that Laura comes with. There is a thick enough metal to ensure nothing happens to either chassis or oils sump.
Things to note:
- I normally use 32psi, and have minimal issues with scraping the bottom.
- There is a plastic V shaped cover at the center of the bottom, mostly this is what takes all the scraping.
- Bottom side of the engine has a thick metal sheet molded in shape to protect bottom of engine compartment.
- Don’t run over big humps at higher speed. Though I have never had a situation when front bumper touched ground.
When I was driving through Hospet-Bellary road, there was one huge pot hole (rather a dried up pond) with sharp edges all over, and because of a stupid auto guy, had to make the car jump in to this, and in that process I scraped the front bottom side of the car, almost at the center. I was nervous that I might have scraped oil sump. On returning to Bangalore first thing I did was to take the car to washing station nearby, got it lifted up to check the bottom. To my surprise, there was a small scratch on the under body protection metal sheet. That when I saw the thick metal sheet there! That is kind of cool, knowing the horrendous roads we have in here!

Interior/seat/utility : Excellent in the front and boot, but not the rear seat space!
Enough space in the front. Good leg room, getting in and out is easy. Quality of materials used is very good. The soft plastic used (dashboard, door panel, etc.) makes this car feel very premium. No complaints about the quality of stacks on the steering column they are good quality ones too! Door handles are placed at very convenient position for both front and back doors.
Nice touches are:
- Cubby hole in the front seat door side, this has become my cell phone holder.
- Glove box right to steering column, this is where I keep coins, keys, visiting cards and so on. It is big enough and usable.
- Cooled glove box under center arm rest, this is where I store juice
- Storage compartment on top of the central dashboard, serves as tissue box!
- Ashtray compartment serves for keeping the bills/toll receipts.
- Door pockets are big enough to keep a bottle and lot more!
- Passenger side glove box is big enough to keep a DSLR!
- Storage box below front passenger seat, nice place to keep all those CDs!
- Foot rest (dummy clutch) is nice.
- Huge boot. Actually much more than what I would need on most of my highway runs.

Not so good:
- Rear seat legroom not as good as other sedans in this class.
- Rear seating itself is not very comfortable (but manageable) with inclined seating and upright back support.
- It would have been nice to have less space in the boot if rear seats could get more leg room!!
- Plastic used for the speaker panels on the doors are not strong, they seem to be fragile. I had min broken on the rear door pocket.
- Center of rear floor is really high. This makes it very difficult for the third adult to sit in the back.

Worth to note:
When I visited Vinayaka for another issue, I got it fixed free of cost by gluing the inside of the panel to perfection! Otherwise it would have costed me about Rs. 22k to replace! One need to replace entire door panel! Thanks for the attitude Vinayaka folks showed not trying to rip off their customer. It is fixed to perfection!

Accessibility : Very good in the front, not great at the rear!
It is easy to get in and out of the car if you are sitting in the front seat. Since back seats sitting posture is lower, not the easiest for the back passengers. On the interior, all the controls easily fall in hand. Be it AC controls, ICE controls, buttons are big enough to make any mistake. All the switches/knobs are of high quality. Head-light switch is in an awkward place, needs getting used to.

Tyre : Excellent grip, road noise doesn’t filter in.
With 205/65 R15 Dunlop tyres, there is nothing that I can complain about. Provides excellent grip on wet/dry tarmac, never had any issues. This might not be the greatest of the tyres, but stock tyres displayed Made in Germany tag.
I found it best to always keep 32ps, without compromising driving, when I tried with 30ps in city, had bottom scrape those unscientific humps!

Doors/Windows : Rugged and built to last.
Assuring Thud sound of the doors while closing gives that “solid” feel!
Nice touch:
- One touch up/down for all windows
- Door unlocks when the lid is pulled twice, it is cool, many times I found passengers searching for the unlock knob around!
- Doors are heavy, and it is felt! Gives solid feel again!
- Speakers on all doors; a nice touch, and speakers are quite good too.
- High quality beading used for the doors

Watch out for:
- If you hear any noise at high speed, it is the sealant of rear quarter panel glass that needs a fix.
- Watch out for those who would pull the lever too hard to open the door from inside, since it needs a soft pull twice to open the door and not “one” hard pull! Typically I open the door for others pretty much all the time!! This helps close the doors with soft hands rather than banging it hard!
- Plastic on the door panel catches dirt quickly, special attention needed while cleaning the interior

Safety : Excellent!
Many safety equipments in this car in my opinion. Projector lights have good visibility. Auto dimming IRVM is also adds to the safety bit! ABS, EBD & ASR and airbags are nice safety features.

Upkeep Cost : I felt not expensive for normal servicing. But beware, any part that need to be replaced needs deep pockets!
Head-lights cost 20k+, door panel cover costs 22k for each door! ORVMs cost in the range of 12k and so on. And anything inside engine bay would be even costlier from the other TBHPian’s experiences!

- 1st Service done at ~8500 kms - Rs. ~9000/- this included: Oil change, oil filter, pollen filter change and VAS scanning. No extra things such as interior cleaning/polishing sold to me! For that matter I felt Vinayaka very nice bunch of folks with their attitude and attention to customers.
- 2nd visit vacuum pipes on EGR replaced, cost - Rs. ~900/- I had the engine check light coming on! Did some home work before going to Vinayaka this time thanks to androdev for VAG cable. See below link for details on this:http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...ml#post1548545

- 3rd Visit for getting the window glass sealant for the noise at high speed (120kpl+) cost incurred – Rs. ~500/-
In total in the last 1.5 year have spent about Rs. 10500/-

Service : Vinayaka Cars!
I have been going to only Vinayaka cars, and so far it has been satisfactory over-all.

Things learnt from Dealer about common issues in Laura:
- Clutch failure in case of manual Laura. If clutch fails, the vehicle stops, you can’t drive it any more, need to be towed to service center. Once I had another customer when I was visiting Vinyaka, he told me his clutch conked at 40000kms! I was also told that clutches are designed for 6000 applications, and for our traffic condition here this is too less! May be it is better to opt for non OEM clutch plate assembly if one has to replace it. I was told Laura comes with single mass flywheel clutch while Octavia is dual mass flywheel.
- Horn failures are other common failures in Laura it seems. Of course if this is designed for Europe, we use horn may be 100 times more than there! But Skoda horn makes a distinct sound.
- Window glass sealant is other problem it seems. When you hear any air leaking sound sealant is the problem.

Have tried to be as unbiased as possible, but as I love this car, I might have found biased in this review. But this review is all about how was my ownership experience, without comparing to other cars.

Any feedback from Fellow BHPians is most welcome.

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Old 23rd February 2010, 21:07   #12
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Great review. The Laura is a truly brilliant car with few real vices. Just like you've mentioned...
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Old 24th February 2010, 10:27   #13
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Fantastic review. You are spot on with all the problems and other things about Laura.
How about AC chilling & defogger mode? Heard many problems in these areas as well.
Is your vehicle an upgraded model?
Posting a detailed thread without pics is not accepted. Pls post them imm.
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Old 24th February 2010, 10:31   #14
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Anand, Fantastic review and good see another happy Skoda customer on the forum.

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Old 24th February 2010, 17:33   #15
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Anand, being a huge Laura fan. I am also pleased to see your review. Enjoy this beauty.

Btw, Laura's in red is an absolute rarity. Enjoy the attention
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