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Old 26th May 2009, 17:18   #1
CJP
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Default Need Advice - Potential Laura Purchase

Folks,
need your advise with regards to a replacement of my Accent CRDi (88k/4 years). I've been actively considering the Laura, the upgrade will be refreshing from the Accent (I hope)!

After doing a lot of reading here at Team BHP, it appears that Skoda do not have a clean record for customer service and car service. Various BHPians have had issues with TAFE and Vinayak.

My questions are:-
1. Has the situation improved? the last thing is to pay so much for a nice car and experience shoddy service.
2. Which of these two is a better dealer? Would folks here recommend a good one?
3. Any advise on the which variant? Too many bells and whistles may spell too much trouble.

In order to give you a more clearer picture, here are my needs from a replacement car.

1. Need great FE, the car does anywhere between 80km to 120km on an average day in Bangalore traffic. Diesel is default.
2. Needs to be comfortable to seat two adults and two growing children (age 7 and 12).
3. Needs to have decent resale value. Typically I change cars every four years, so resale value is important.
4. Needs to be reliable - can't afford to have the car breaking down mid journey or spend too much time in the garage. (This one point actually kept me from picking up an older model Merc).
Appreciate your help, folks. Thanks in advance.
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Old 26th May 2009, 18:04   #2
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Let me be balanced

The Good
The Skoda is a good car, solid, gives proper protection for your family as long as they have their seat belts
Best dealer is Vinayak - they may make the odd wrong diagnosis but we t-bhpians are around. Quality of workmanship is good.
Reassuring mile muncher and great comfort
Resale has been good


The Bad
Service charges are a little high due to synthetic oil. Vinayak rates are reasonable
Parts if they go wrong are prohibitive. Saying that the diesels are reliable but electrical gremlins exist
Skoda service outside Vinayak is not that good, warranty claims if any might be swept under the carpet. We have yet to see an improvement

You might want to wait and look at the Chevy Cruze. I looked at one in China, it looks hot and it uses the latest Astra's platform
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Old 26th May 2009, 18:27   #3
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To add to what Ajmat listed out, the Laura also suffers from below average reliability. Especially once they cross two years of age. Parts + repair = killer expensive.

Quote:
1. Need great FE, the car does anywhere between 80km to 120km on an average day in Bangalore traffic. Diesel is default.
2. Needs to be comfortable to seat two adults and two growing children (age 7 and 12).
3. Needs to have decent resale value. Typically I change cars every four years, so resale value is important.
4. Needs to be reliable - can't afford to have the car breaking down mid journey or spend too much time in the garage. (This one point actually kept me from picking up an older model Merc).
Did you budget for the top-end Laura? If so, here are options within your budget:

1. Stretch to the new Accord. A true all rounder. Petrol costs will be the only killer.

2. Wait 6 months for the Fortuner. Expected price is between 17 - 20 lakhs. Supreme reliability + resale guaranteed. Plus, the joy of owning a vehicle fresh off the block.

3. VW Jetta : 4 year service package + warranty (suits your need to the T). And if initial reports are anything to go by, better service than Skoda. IIRC, service costs are included (thus making it far cheaper to own).

Don't miss checking out the under-rated Sonata Transform diesel. It is a heck of a sedan for the price. More so if you travel those 120 kms with a chauffeur. Resale is average (for the diesel), you might want to hold on for longer than 4 years.

Lower budget:

- Wait for the 1.6 / 1.9 Linea. Believe me, this sedan is too substantial for the money. The only downer is the puny 1.3 diesel.

Last edited by GTO : 26th May 2009 at 18:28.
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Old 26th May 2009, 18:39   #4
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hey how about the vw jetta.? its worth considering i think.
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Old 26th May 2009, 18:45   #5
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You could keep the Accord as an option as well. It is an excellent car. Of course, the Laura is good no doubt, but then you'll eventually get bogged down thanks to Skoda's excellent service. Unless of course you are lucky enough to have a good dealer in your vicinity. Best of luck!
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Old 26th May 2009, 19:30   #6
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Jetta is a better bet with the service warranty compared to Laura though Laura looks better and is the latest on the block.

--
There could be some issues in the gear box. Look up GTO's posts on recent threads about the Jetta woes on that front. Its the old block of which Skoda is a block. do some home work to ascertain their commitment to service and improving relaiblity. if Laura is having parts issue remember Jetta shares most of those.

Hopefully GM would be taken over by Fiat and then launch the Cruze in India (yeah! wishful thinking) then that is the best one on offer. If it is Suzuki super (yipee Great looking car and Maruti price for parts and A.S.S, well still in dreamland, Suzuki get that kizashi but not with the 1.3 diesel)

If Diesel is the one to get, Linea 1.9 but is it coming and are you willing to go down the ladder and that resale bit, resale would rule out Sonata face lift( I don't see any transformation there).

Fortuner - great, Toyota reliability resale or A.S.S everything covered but its not a car.
If you like it and you are willing to wait till September thats the one.

If Petrol and upfront cost rules out Accord, then you are still left with only
Laura/Jetta, between the two its more of a which is the better fit and you can't go wrong (or right) with either.Advantage Jetta service/warranty.

Well after if are looking out for some thing specific in 13-16 L, sorry not much to choose from may be either scaling up or down could help or changing the specs that you are looking for.

Last edited by marlinspike : 26th May 2009 at 19:33.
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Old 26th May 2009, 19:35   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marlinspike View Post
Jetta is a better bet with the service warranty compared to Laura though Laura looks better and is the latest on the block.

--
There could be some issues in the gear box. Look up GTO's posts on recent threads about the Jetta woes on that front. Its the old block of which Skoda is a block. do some home work to ascertain their commitment to service and improving relaiblity. if Laura is having parts issue remember Jetta shares most of those. .
The Laura came out before the Jetta globally. The Passat was more troublesome. VW are going in big. Skoda missed the opportunity so VW will have the infrastrucutre to support the Jetta long term
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Old 26th May 2009, 20:30   #8
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Guys,

thank you all very much for this response, while I am still making a decision any and all inputs are welcome. I've requested for a test drive of the Laura tomorrow morning, from Vinayak. Will do an update to this thread once I'm done with the TD.

Appreciate your help, please keep the inputs coming. I am depending on fellow BHPians to help me make up my mind. Thanks again.
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Old 27th May 2009, 10:33   #9
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@CJP, finally see a post from you ... !

While you will get far more qualified answers from Ajit, GTO & others, here's my two cents. Suggest you also swap notes with Vidyut.

Going by the recent discussions, Skoda India does not seem to be capable of any improvement, and definitely not in the near future.

Warranty, servicing, & spares are as important for a new car, just as servicing, spares, & cost of spares are important for a car that is out of warranty. So even if Skoda does change somewhere down the line, the initial part where you just have to depend on the dealer & the company is going to be very important

Banking on Vinayak alone for servicing is risky : you dont have anything /anyone to fall back upon if Vinayak does a screw-up.

Spares : after the exhorbitant rates, availability is a question.


I liked GTO's suggestion about the Fortuner. Toyota reliability, servicing & re-sale. The fun & comfort of a SUV.
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Old 27th May 2009, 10:41   #10
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CJP - are you particular about a sedan ? else you may want to look at CHEVY CAPTIVA also
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Old 27th May 2009, 10:54   #11
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1. Need great FE, the car does anywhere between 80km to 120km on an average day in Bangalore traffic. Diesel is default.
2. Needs to be comfortable to seat two adults and two growing children (age 7 and 12).
3. Needs to have decent resale value. Typically I change cars every four years, so resale value is important.
4. Needs to be reliable


Well I can think of another car which feels like "sedan" (drives too) and matches all your requirement (to the maximum) and has been in Indian roads for a long time. Also it comes from Toyota. No prizes for guessing!
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Old 27th May 2009, 11:35   #12
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Quote:
GTO : Don't miss checking out the under-rated Sonata Transform diesel. It is a heck of a sedan for the price.
@CJP, considering your relationship with your Hyundai dealer & your Hyundai experience so far, why not the Sonata ? I feel the Transform can definitely be on your list.
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Old 27th May 2009, 11:45   #13
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I enquired with a toyota dealer about fortuner. he said the launch is expected within the next 2 months and would cost arnd 20 lakhs ex showroom delhi.
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Old 27th May 2009, 11:52   #14
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The 1.9 diesel laura is supposedly reliable but with electrical gremlins as Ajmat mentioned.

The 2.0 TDI PD in the new L&K is quick but suffers from turbo lag and has issues with the old 6 speed DSG gearbox.

The new 1.8TSI petrol Laura is the quickest in the bunch and is supposedly more reliable than the old vRS 1.8T engine. Since this is a new engine there is no long term feedback. Moreover, the petrol is a pretty complex direct injection petrol motor. This engine is supposed to be sensitive to fuel quality. Internationally, they say minimum 95RON unleaded fuel.

I tried finding this out from Skoda india, but noone knows. The engine is supposedly not detuned as figures are same as international, but the sales guy say it will run with normal fuel. I don't buy that.

Car for car the laura is fantastic, perfect size for city, good features, performance, best ride, handling and awesome interior quality.

The scary part is Skoda after sales.
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Old 27th May 2009, 14:30   #15
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Quick Update:

1. The Test Drive did not work out - the sales guys from Vinayak SMSed and said sorry, he couldn't make it. Car is elsewhere blah blah. Excuses, excuses !
2. Going by this experience, it is already raising red flags for me.

I am out of town for the next couple of days will check back into this thread on Sunday.

In the meanwhile, thanks for the great feedback. I did also evaluate the following alternatives
1. Chevrolet Magnum LT - great car - loved the test drive. Does not fulfill my resale value point.
2. There are strong rumours that the Cruze is coming soon - Sept. '09. No confirmations yet - but this is a distinct possiblity. And I can wait.
3. The Innova - friends else where have been recommending this as a good and viable alternative. I think Cuttingcrew also alluded to that. The test drive was fantastic and the kids loved the car.
4. I did drive the Sonata, older model, wasn't very impressed. But yes, GTO's suggestion is valid. How does it score on price? Any ideas?

Thanks again for the feedback, appreciate your help.
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