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Old 2nd June 2011, 13:34   #1
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Default Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG : Ownership Experience

Do I need a change?
I owned and drove a Linea MJD for a little over 2 years. She was a loyal partner, never ditched or cheated on me. I experienced profound satisfaction in almost all departments - fuel-efficiency, suspension, traction, drivability, road manners for the little in excess of 58K Km's that I clocked in her. The TCO was almost negligible, I did not spend anything more that the odd 4~5K for a regular 15K service. Loaded with all kinds of bits and bobs including my favourite Blue & Me. She did raise the bar pretty high, and so I realize now.

Having had this very intimate relationship I rampantly found my eyes consistently drooling and mouth invariably watering over the sight of a new gleamy D-segment sedan. While the left side of my brain was busy controlling bodily functions and scoring on common logic, the more devilish right side was cleverly scheming, calculating and finding fresh and hidden sources of moolah to fund this new and fascinating enterprise – all without my knowledge! A plot was hatched, although I shirked from an outright admission, I had been consumed.

Shoot-out!
Half hearted (not really) and guilt ridden the shootout for a diesel sedan commenced one bright Sunday morning.
  • Chevy Cruze, LTZ: First glance - muscular and very american, front – average, rear – amazing, sides – glorious and stance – breath taking. The headlight setup didn’t do justice to the muscular profile. Ingress was comfortable (I’m 6’2”), cockpit trendy, Engine On button – really chunky. All things in the right place but plastics felt dull and boring. Grey leather didn’t do it for me either. Seating position and comfort was average. Under thigh support, poor. Rear bench was pretty awkward, as bad as Linea, Swift, Zen … all the previous cars I have owned. But why should I be bothering, I’m never going to sit there. From the start I felt there was something wrong with the suspension, the rear repeatedly made a kinda THUD noise on such a flat road. Turbo-lag was imminent, wasn’t too much of an issue and this was an Auto. I could effortlessly cruise to 140~150 and she handled it with real poise. Motor had a lot of reserve power past these speeds. FE: Highway~15, City~11. During the course of this TD my 7 yr old son had fallen in love with the sunroof. This car was amusing. OTR~18L.

  • Toyota Corolla, D-4D GL: First glance - classy, front - laughing at me, rear - ordinary, stance - no comments. Just five minutes into the TD I had made up my mind, this motor wasn't for me. There was nothing wrong with it, with all due respect. I would probably think about buying something like the Toyota Corolla Altis diesel 35 years from now when i'm 70, have lost all my teeth and I'm being driven by a sedated chauffeur. Chapter closed. OTR~17.5L.

  • VW Jetta, Highline: Did not consider. Reason - due change anytime + I found the front, extremely sad + No auto option + Just 110 bhp + VW made huge fuss for a TD. Cars were treated like touch me not mannequin's. Big turn off. OTR~19.5L.

  • Skoda Laura, TDI: First I was offered a TSI TD, although i was looking for a TDI I leapt at the opportunity. By the time the TD was over I had a 9 inch grin on my 6 inch's wide face and my pants were on fire. My soul was still sitting in the drivers seat, body was back at the showroom. I had to repeatedly train by brain that I could not afford a such a ferocious car running on an even more ferocious fuel (at Rs. 71/ltr, gosh!). Took a week to get over this hangover. Later I got to TD a Laura L&K. Frankly those 6 airbags could suffocate the driver in case of a collision. The battalion of buttons could put a Cessna cockpit to shame. Heated seats, man I definitely don't want to be on heat all the time. Steering felt a little vague while trotting at slow speeds, behaved perfectly well post... well i don't remember. Handling was nice, but I was expecting more than nice and better than Linea. It was the DSG that shot through the heart. TDI motor was delectable, put your foot down and immediately there’s a meaty, almost diesel-esque shove in the back as the rpm needle scaled Mt. Everest. I stopped looking at the speedo after 140, I was enamored. FE: Highway~20, City~15. To cut the story short, this TD was hypnotic. OTR~19L.

Finally it all boiled down to Cruze vs Laura. It took me a good 3 weeks to take this call, I was like an alternately changing road side parking. On even days I would decide to jump for the Cruze and the odd ones found me salivating for Laura. Skoda being skoda had definitive downsides, probably Skoda-Shield is what made me blow the final bugle.

A deal was struck with TAFE and booking advance handed over on 22-Apr , promise to delivery within 15 days. Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG - Candy White.

Last edited by luky_13 : 3rd June 2011 at 11:04.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 11:21   #2
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Default TAFE Access - Dealer and Delivery Experience

When I started gunning for TD's I approached Vinayak Motors, contrary to popular belief my experience with them was pretty damp. They wanted to sell cars but hesitant to offer a TD, I had to persist. After a weeks of negotiation (for a TD!) they brought home a 2.0 TDI DSG Elegance. The TD came with a lot of riders, don't do this and don't do that. Once I had made up my mind, they got stuck on discounts. Later I approached TAFE, got a hefty discount and closed the booking.

On 4-May, I was informed that the car had been unloaded. I requested a quick pre-PDI inspection in accordance with T-bhp protocol. Request accepted, within an hour we were at the dealership. A quick inspection of the bodyline, engine bay, interiors and boot revealed no defects. Odo read 24 kms. Inserted the key and within half a crank she roared to life. VIN No. noted and decoded, she was born in April 2011. Collected the remaining paperwork and was asked to take delivery on 7-May.

Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG : Ownership Experience-img2011050500090.jpg

Top half covered in white protective tape
Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG : Ownership Experience-img2011050500093.jpg

Cushioned styrofoam bumpers to avoid damage during shipment
Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG : Ownership Experience-img2011050500094.jpg

Come 7-May, 1700 hrs and I reached TAFE. She was ready. Ran through the PDI checklist religiously. Strangely, Skoda-Shield documents arrive after 15 days along with the Bajaj Allianz Drive Assure - Bumper to Bumper, 0% depreciation insurance policy I opted for. Mud flaps and 2 sets of floor mats were given complimentary - Beige fabric mats + Black rubber mats. High security number plates were charged extra and would to be installed on the next working day, Monday. Checked for all the paperwork and went through the customary signature marathon:-

1. Invoice - check
2. Payment Receipt - check
3. Gate pass - check
4. Insurance cover note - check
6. Registration receipt - check
7. User manual - check
8. Keys (2 no's) - check
9. Fuel coupon - check, 15 ltrs

Thanked and shook hands with the SA and drove her home. I hadn't even completed a kilometer when I heard a repeated and loud THUD noise originating from the rear. Every time I went over a pothole or a bad road Thud.... Thud, over small stones - Thud... Thud... Thud. I broke into a cold sweat, was I hit by the Skoda bug, was this a lemon. Eventually mustered some confidence and stopped at my pet fuel station, she guzzled 60 litres. Moved over to check tyre pressure, lo and behold - the meter read 52 psi in all 4 wheels . The attendant gave a very amused look. Anyways, pressure was reduced to an earthly 30 psi and THEN she drove like a dream.

So much for Skoda PDI!!

Last edited by luky_13 : 7th June 2011 at 20:51.
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Old 7th June 2011, 22:06   #3
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Default Ownership

Honestly, even Skoda-Shield did not end my insecurity. The running-in period was painful, painfully ridden 2000 kms with a constant watch on the tacho to tame it within 2500 rpm and then I was also growing bat-ears, constantly trying to hear a clink or a clank from the engine bay. I did hear a few, probably when I was hallucinating and quickly realized that this was a result of 99 billion Skoda threads I had read on team-bhp. At the time of penning this experience the car has clocked 3800 trouble-free kms (phew!) and earned its first stripes over a thrilling Bangalore-Mumbai-Bangalore escapade.
  • Engine + DSG - Power is rated at 140 bhp @ 4000 rpm; peak torque at 320 Nm in the 1750~2500 rpm range. This brilliant motor is mated to the controversial 6 speed Direct-Shift gearbox. Turn the key and this 2 litre CRDI motor instantly comes to life causing a turbulent clatter, typical of any diesel engine. Sound insulation is good, if not ideal. The engine and gearbox take 3~4 minutes to warm up and reach an optimal operating temperature of 90 degrees and then as if by the flick of a sorcerer's magic wand the clatter almost disappears. No vibrations, feeble sound - rather just a hum radiates into the cockpit, at this point one can kind of start to appreciate german engineering. Release the brake and and it starts to move, kick the pedal and it's a bit sluggish up till 1500 rpm, beyond which things start to get really spirited if that's the intent. Power delivery is real time on-demand. It has a wide power band that extends beyond 4000 rpm. The mid range packs a lot of punch and she consistently returned a 0~100 timing of 10 sec 50ms in Sport mode and it scaled 140 by the time I could click my stop-watch and read the time. At 180 I could feel some vibration traveling inwards. Pushed her to 195 and she didn't make any fuss, sadly that's where I had to get off the highway. The DSG is quite a smart cookie, I'm yet to find the car in the wrong gear it can somehow read my mind, Drive mode is ideal for city traffic at the same time it makes overtaking maneuvers a breeze. I have tried using the tiptronic a few times, either its vague or not for use by dummies - takes a lot of concentration and dilutes the drive, feels more like a PS3 controller. I wonder how those flappy pedals feel like, they are available as an option on the Octavia II sold in Europe.

  • Ride - Quite stiff at slow speeds, the car can bump off a speed breaker if not tactically approached at the right speed. At higher speeds the suspension is setup well. Chassis is rock solid and complements the powertrain. Steering lacks feel at slow speeds, some feedback is available over 60. Having owned a Linea I found the Laura's ride, handling and steering just about average.

  • Space + Ergonomics - Ample amount of space for a six footer like me, I can actually stretch my legs with the driver seat completely retracted. Driver's seat has good lumbar support and enough adjustments that suit to one's convenience, better under thigh support is desirable. I wear a turban so the headrest is useless for me. Rear bench is not too comfortable, for people looking for rear seat comfort I think Corolla is the best bet and frankly I don't care about the rear. The rear seats fold in 60:40 fashion. Lots of cubby holes and bottle holders, the centre arm rest is placed very ergonomically - it can slide too, nice support for the left elbow/forehand during long haul's. I found it quite useful during my Mumbai trip. Incidentally, this centre arm rest can also act as cold box. There is a very useful parcel shelf below the passenger seat, it's big enough to hold my Harley service and parts manual. Boot size is a humongous 560 litre, with the rear seats collapsed one could actually plan on using this like a bed during cross country excursions. The boot can also be accessed by dropping the rear centre arm rest, although this is not an easy maneuver while the car is being driven.

  • Interiors + ICE - Another department where the Laura made an impression. Interiors are pretty solid, best in the segment I guess. Dash has a soft feel. The beige interiors looked pretty a month back, they have started getting dirty already. ICE is pretty good for a stock setup, I'm not too much of a music buff hence not competent enough to comment. The ICE also displays distance from an object on engaging Reverse mode by way of audio beeps and visual representation on the screen. I really miss Linea's Blue&Me handsfree feature. Spoilt for choice, I guess.

  • Economics - So far I have achieved an all-round FE of 17 kpl (in city with AC), 21 kpl on semi-spirited highway drives and 18 kpl on highly spirited drives. Though these numbers look fascinating, they could all get washed out if the car were to contract DSG - Dysfunctional Skoda Gearbox disease post 100,000 kms or 4 years (which ever came earlier). I'm in no way trying to demotivate prospective buyers but presenting plain facts.

Threads that influenced my decision. Thanks .anshuman, Ravich, GTO, Akki_5 ...
  1. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...xperience.html
  2. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...xperience.html (Laura TSI Initial ownership experience)
  3. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...0km-drive.html (Skoda Laura - 700km drive)
  4. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/long-t...g-vag-com.html (New Laura Elegance 1.9 TDI A/T EDIT : Customising with a VAG-COM)

Last edited by luky_13 : 8th June 2011 at 20:23.
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Old 8th June 2011, 20:19   #4
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Default Photshoot

Some pics. Exterior
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Interior
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Last edited by luky_13 : 8th June 2011 at 20:20.
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Old 8th June 2011, 21:41   #5
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Default Re: Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG : Ownership Experience

Note from Support: Thread moved to public domain from Assembly line. Thanks for sharing the ownership report.
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Old 8th June 2011, 23:11   #6
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Default Re: Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG : Ownership Experience

Great read, luky_13! Congratulations on your purchase and I wish you many miles of happy, trouble-free driving. I'm almost set on purchasing a Laura TSI myself and your post has just made my resolve a little bit stronger, so thanks!
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Old 8th June 2011, 23:40   #7
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Default Re: Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG : Ownership Experience

Congratulations! Lovely car, and a very well written buying/initial ownership experience!
Hoping the evil DSG doesn't strike, and the good DSG puts a grin on your face every time

Couple of questions: Do you know if the warranty is voided if you:
- fitted an aftermarket ICE system?
- fitted aftermarket alloys?

Can you also share details of the Skoda Shield package? Thanks!
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Old 9th June 2011, 08:31   #8
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Default Re: Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG : Ownership Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orko View Post
Great read, luky_13! Congratulations on your purchase and I wish you many miles of happy, trouble-free driving. I'm almost set on purchasing a Laura TSI myself and your post has just made my resolve a little bit stronger, so thanks!
Thanks Orko. Just for your info, my Laura came with Fog lamps but the Rain sensing wipers (rather rain sensors) and Auto dimming mirror were missing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by razor4077 View Post
Congratulations! Lovely car, and a very well written buying/initial ownership experience!
Hoping the evil DSG doesn't strike, and the good DSG puts a grin on your face every time

Couple of questions: Do you know if the warranty is voided if you:
- fitted an aftermarket ICE system?
- fitted aftermarket alloys?

Can you also share details of the Skoda Shield package? Thanks!
Thanks razor, I'm yet to get the Skoda-Shield warranty booklet. Will share once I get my hands on it. Let me also find out if the warranty is void in case I happen to change the ICE or alloys. I have been drooling over the RNS510 for a while, lets see.
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Old 9th June 2011, 08:47   #9
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Default Re: Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG : Ownership Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by luky_13 View Post
Thanks Orko. Just for your info, my Laura came with Fog lamps but the Rain sensing wipers (rather rain sensors) and Auto dimming mirror were missing.
Yeah, that seems to be par for the course now. I did go through a week of hair-pulling when I realised that fog lamps were not part of the deal but now it looks like I'm sorted. I'll be doing a thorough check anyway in the Tafe stockyard before confirming the order.
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Old 9th June 2011, 13:46   #10
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Default Re: TAFE Access - Dealer and Delivery Experience

Great write up Luky_13. The car looks lovely in the pics esp the one on the grass.


Quote:
Originally Posted by luky_13 View Post
I hadn't even completed a kilometer when I heard a repeated and loud THUD noise originating from the rear. Every time I went over a pothole or a bad road Thud.... Thud, over small stones - Thud... Thud... Thud. I broke into a cold sweat, was I hit by the Skoda bug, was this a lemon. Eventually mustered some confidence and stopped at my pet fuel station, she guzzled 60 litres. Moved over to check tyre pressure, lo and behold - the meter read 52 psi in all 4 wheels . !
I know that "thud thud feeling" . My TSI also showed a pressure of 52 psi after I checked it immediately upon reaching home from the showroom after taking delivery. While driving back from the showroom the ride was so stiff that I was hoping (almost praying) that the tyres were overinflated!

Quote:
Originally Posted by luky_13 View Post
Incidentally, this centre arm rest can also act as cold box.
Can you confirm this? My Ambiente TSI dosen't seem to have this. Congrats! You are one of the lucky few to get fog lamps this year!
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Old 9th June 2011, 15:56   #11
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Default Re: TAFE Access - Dealer and Delivery Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
Can you confirm this? My Ambiente TSI dosen't seem to have this. Congrats! You are one of the lucky few to get fog lamps this year!
Santosh, the cold storage is confirmed. I have carried ice-cream cups in the centre arm rest a few times and it stays. There is a vertical plastic lever that needs to be pulled up for the cold air to circulate in the arm rest, when not required the lever can be pushed back and circulation stops.
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Old 9th June 2011, 16:05   #12
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Default Re: Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG : Ownership Experience

Congrats on the car luky_13.
Can you please let me know what discounts and freebies were offered? I am in the process of buying a cruze since Laura was way out of my budget. I might reconsider Laura if the discount is good.
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Old 9th June 2011, 16:08   #13
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Default Re: Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG : Ownership Experience

Luky13, congratulations on the purchase.
Man, its raining Skoda Laura's on BHP! This is the third ownership thread Ive read in a week!

Luky, nice color too. Do give us a detailed review of likes and dislikes.
About the cooled center armrest, yes its been there on all Laura's right? Except the new trimmed down TSi's that have hit the market.

Here's wishing you many happy miles with the beast.
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Old 9th June 2011, 16:56   #14
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Default Re: Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG : Ownership Experience

Lucky 13

Congratulations, on the new girl in your life. Laura has to be girl right..

You seem to have followed all the right steps in selecting the car and and the extended plan and also for the PDI and finally the run in period.

This should lead to a nice ownership experience of driving a car suited to your style.

When it's time for a tyre change the Laura does afford the option of upgrades both in the rim 15"-16" and tyre sizes - 205-215or 225 AR for renewed joy once again.

Am sure it feels sporty enough right now, but then there is still that bit more that one can get out of a Laura.
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Old 9th June 2011, 20:54   #15
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Default Re: Skoda Laura, Ambiente 2.0 TDI DSG : Ownership Experience

Congrats Lucky, nice photos there!!

Wish you a happy ownership. This car rocks! It is certainly one of the best everyday cars in the market these days for people who prefer to drive.
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