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Old 3rd February 2013, 21:49   #1
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Default Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI

As a Bhpian, it’s a given that I will be a car enthusiast. My love for cars started at a very early age, I learnt driving in a fiat. I always dreamt of a car with gears on floor unlike those in the earlier fiats. In 2004, within 6 months of getting a job, I bought my first car – A Maruti Esteem Vxi, silky silver in colour. That car is still there with us and has done 50k kms without any trouble whatsoever. But with the car 8 years old, it had started to rattle and Maruti *** couldn't fix it and this was becoming an irritant for me. Also, on highways, I felt the power was not adequate to my liking and so the itch for satisfying a petrol head inside me grew stronger, it was high time to buy a new car and hence the decision.

Our Esteem
Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI-0.jpg

Decision making process and contenders

2009

Cruze
The itch to buy a new car started long ago – In 2009 when Cruze was launched, I fell in love with it, took a test drive and started dreaming about owning one soon. Destiny had something else in mind and we decided to buy a house and no prizes for guessing that I invested every buck I had ever saved and Cruze had to wait. What I loved about Cruze – looks, features, 148bhp engine, massive 330 Nm of torque. What I did not like was the turbo lag as there was only manual available then.

2011

Verna Diesel
Then again in 2011, we thought of buying a new car and test drove the new Verna diesel – It was so easy to drive, so petrol car like, nothing enthusiastic about it but a very nice package. Loved the rear camera but hated the rear seat. This was not the car for us.

City AT
Then we test drove the city AT. Very very easy to drive and with Mumbai traffic where I average 15kmph during the evenings; my left foot would thank me because of this buy. Both me and my wife like the city, good rear space, comfortable to drive and it was a Honda.
Though somehow, both the above options did not look to me as a great upgrade from my Esteem. As luck would have it, the decision got postponed again.

2012 – Final decision making

The T-jet
Come 2012 H2 and everyone was talking about diesel cars and diesel cars, the debate of which is the preferred fuel intensified with many petrol heads turning towards diesel due to economy in mind. And that resulted in discounts on petrol cars and HUGE discounts on some of them specifically like the Linea T-jet. Since the T-jet was launched, I always wanted to own one and had decided that if I buy a petrol manual, T-jet it would be. With close to 2.5 lakhs discount on 2011 manufactured T-jets, I decided to at least test drive and look at the colour options. Both I and my wife liked the car. We went to Wasan motors Kandivali for test drive and the Sales exec Shailesh treated us very well. Drove the car and revved it only to listen from Shailesh – Sir the car is still in 2nd gear. I said that’s how I want it to be. Liked the drive, thought the engine at higher rpms was making noise, but was much sweeter than my esteem at rpms above 4k. The big problem was availability of only one colour FTA, and since it was on my wife to decide which colour, FTA didn’t fit in. Decision kept on hold. Somehow, was not very very excited about the car, thought this is still not a proper upgrade. Though, took one more test drive before finalizing on the Laura and Shailesh did call to inform that there was one Bronzo Scuro left but we had finalized the TSI.

Laura TSI the car I fell in love with
Another car that was running huge discounts was the Laura TSI. I enquired about the price, came to know that there was a 1 lakh discount but even after that it would cost me 16 lakhs, that was too high so decided to continue with the esteem. That’s when Nayan Dalvi from Senator forced me to take a test drive, he eagerly brought the car home and there we went for the test drive. And oh boy, this was when I realized what love at first drive is. I just loved the car, revved it and loved the feel, this looked a proper upgrade. But there were two issues, one – it was a Skoda and another it was a 16 lakh Skoda. After driving this car the itch had become stronger. Then one weekend I called Autobahn, they told me that I can get the car for about 15 lakhs on road. I thought let me again go through all the reviews on TSI and then take a sane decision – a decision which I could give a logic to – though my mind was not swaying away from the 160ps monster and I wanted it badly. I discussed this with family and then took my wife, mom and dad with my little angel for a test drive to Autobahn. At the end of the test drive the sales exec said, Sir abhi tak to 3 hi gears lagaye hain, aur 3 ka kya karein. That was how much I loved the free revving engine of the Laura. Though my family said 15 lakh ki gaadi aur peeche sirf 2 log. I said how many times are all the 5 seats occupied? My biases had started hovering my mind and I loved everything about the car.

Civic AT
Then we took a test drive of the Civic AT, somehow came out not very excited about it. There were pathetic discounts to talk about when there was news that Civic’s production had stopped. Decided against the civic. I later thought that I should have driven the manual Civic. Anyways, I was in love and nothing else came close to the 1.8 TSI.

Altis
Then test drove the Altis, liked it, drive was nice, it was a very easy car to drive, good rear space, it could seat 5. But somehow I thought the interiors were good but not to my taste. There was nothing wrong with the car, my wife loved it and if she had to decide which car to go for, she would have gone with the Altis. That was not to be and she only could influence the colour of the car.

New Elantra
Then came the neo fluidic Elantra. Smashing looks, the official review was lovely. It was almost after 2 weeks or so after launch that I could get a petrol car to drive. Interiors were cool, all features I had thought of and others that I had never thought of were there in the car but somehow I could not fall in love with the way it drove. I thought the Altis was a much better drive. Loved the rear seats though, that’s what comfort is I guess. Elantra was also striked out.

Jetta 1.4 TSI
Same day we called Jetta 1.4 TSI. Good car but engine was nowhere close to the Laura’s. The engine’s sound was also higher. Good part was, more colour options for my wife, even the base model had ESP, interiors were as good as Laura if not better. It was a newer car but and again a BIG but, I was already in love and could not find anything better than the Laura. I could not convince myself to spend 1.5-2 lakhs more on Jetta with 1.4 TSI.

And hence the winner was the Laura but again to be sane, I called for a third test drive on the same day and decided that Laura it will be.

One point that I did not discuss earlier was the reason for a petrol car. Two reasons – 1. Mentally I was never prepared to move to diesel, heart wanted a petrol car, 2.To put logic to this - I drive daily about 38 kms which makes it close to 800-1000 kms per month and with me car pooling with two other guys, petrol car won’t pinch me so we did not look at diesel cars at all during the final decision making.
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Old 3rd February 2013, 21:59   #2
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Default re: Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI

Selecting the dealer

Which dealer – There are 3 dealers in Mumbai, got in touch with all of them

Senator, Goregaon – They were the reason why I decided to buy Laura, they forced me to test drive the car. Their attitude was very nice when it came to showcasing us the vehicle, though they shied away from quoting me at least a realistic discount on phone. They quoted me Rs. 1 lakhs when others were by default quoting 2-2.25 lakhs.

Autobahn, Andheri – I got a reference of the GM from my office. They had black colour in stock which my wife liked, but it was in their stockyard. When I was anyways going to buy a 2011 car, I preferred to have it freshly indented from the factory. And the nail in the coffin was, the way they quoted me a lower discount and behaved as if they were obliging me with a higher discount. I did not like this dishonesty especially when I had come with a corporate reference and I knew what the official discount was.

JMD, Thane – First got a reference from fellow Bhpian – Vishal Tanksale and also got the GM’s reference from the office. They were very upfront in their dealing and liked that. Sales exec was Sneha More and I was happy the way she handled the whole process, though I thought that I should have followed up less than what I did and I thought they should have been more forthcoming – may be my expectations were very high. But I would recommend this dealer to everyone.

Colour Selection – we were disappointed with the colour options available – white and silver. Wife loved the black but black was available with Autobahn and that too in stockyard, don’t know since when. So we decided to get the silver, my wife did not like white. We would have loved black, then the beige and then silver. Though we really liked the maroon or brown that comes in Laura but no luck. Both of were fine with brilliant silver.

Booking and delivery experience

Booking – Booked the car on September 13, 2012 via an email confirmation. Paid an advance of Rs. 1.5 lakhs on Ganesh Chaturthi. Since inauspicious days were about to start, decided to take delivery on dusshera i.e. October 24, 2012. Had requested the dealer to get me a car produced as latest as possible. I was told that I could get September 2011 manufactured car (No 2012 manufactured petrol Lauras were available), I said ok. Dealer started work to finish all formalities by September 31. Loan formalities were done, loan from axis bank with waiver on pre payment penalty. Dealer ordered the car, I went on my mandatory 2 week leave during the same time. Called to check the VIN, came to know that this was a June/July manufactured car (Thanks to wildon), and rejected it. Spoke to the GM, Thane dealership manager and the sales exec. They got me on a call with the Skoda official. Finally reordered the vehicle and got a September one. Came back from holidays and straight away went to Vashi showroom for the PDI.

The OTR Mumbai of Laura was Rs. 17.10 lakhs including Skoda shield and zero dep insurance. I got a Rs. 3 lakhs discounts including 25k of finance payout so the total cost for me was Rs. 14.10 lakhs. The insurance is from Bajaj Allianz. Could you believe this total package’s cost is Rs. 86k. No dealer was ready for an insurance to be taken from outside, they said if insurance is taken from outside, the extended warranty won’t be available. Rs. 86k consisted of around Rs. 20k of extended warranty, so Rs 66k for the zero dep insurance. I got a quote from ICICI Lombard though a friend of mine of Rs. 30-32k. So essentially I had to pay some 30-35k more but the overall discount was good enough and I did not want to buy a Skoda without the extended warranty.

Finance payback – for those who do not know what this is – What the finance companies do is that they increase the rate of interest and the present value of this increased rate of interest comes as a payback. Now there are two things why I agreed for paying a higher rate of interest – one – money today is worth more than in future and second, this upfront payback becomes more valuable if you repay the loan early.

Pre Delivery Inspection – JMD said they had some issues and they could not have me do the PDI at the stockyard at Bhiwandi, the PDI could happen only in Vashi. So I drove all the way down to Vashi with a friend in my trusted Esteem. And there I first saw my beast. The first thing I checked the fog lamps, yes they were there, after what happened with fellow bhpians, I had told Sneha that while ordering the car please ensure it has fog lamps. It had 39 kms on odo – Vashi is some 25-28 kms from Bhiwandi so this had 11-12 kms when it would have got unloaded from the truck. Looked ok to me. Protective layer was there at most places, even the tyres. The application date was March 2012 so it meant the car was assembled in the Aurangabad factory in 2012, I was happy. Checked all controls, started the car, everything looked ok. Checked all the tyres, they were all new. Just asked them to clean the car as it was a bit dirty. Gave a go ahead for registration. So we were all set for a Dusshera delivery. Pics of the PDI as below.

Some pics during the PDI -

Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI-1.jpg

Notice one of the cable cover is not in proper shape, they cut it to make it look ok
Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI-2.jpg

Application of the protective covering is dated 2012, so the assembly has happened in 2012 - advantage of getting a Sept 2011 car
Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI-3.jpg

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Delivery - It was Dussehra, reached the showroom on time. Did some basic inspection, odometer read 139 kms – this was as expected as the car had 39 kms at Vashi and it would have run that much from there to Andheri RTO then to Thane showroom and one trip to Bhandup workshop for some accessories fitting. Rest all looked fine. There were many deliveries scheduled on the auspicious day. Delivery experience was uneventful but decided that we would never take delivery on a festival. Everything is to be done really fast and somehow the experience of getting a new car delivered is not that great but anyways, that’s not what is going to last forever, what is going to last for years to come is the car and I had got my love with me. Gave a parker pen each to the sales exec and the showroom manager along with some sweets. Drove to a nearest bunk, filled up the tank, disappointed as the dealer did not even give 5 litres of petrol. 4k spent, have not spend so much in one shot on fuel – my esteem took max 35 litres, Laura takes 55. Wow. Went straight to Saifee and got the GY NCT5s changed to Michelin Primacy LC stock size.

Last edited by Shreyas Aterkar : 4th February 2013 at 00:06. Reason: Slight modification
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Old 3rd February 2013, 22:38   #3
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Default re: Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI

So, you just read how our Laura came home.

Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI-9.jpg

Let me now mention all the stuff that I have got done on the car and what I plan to get done in future.

Accessories and other stuff done
1. Chrome tips
2. Illuminated door sills
3. High security number plates
All the above 3 costed 11.5k and got from the dealer himself
4. Jabra Freeway car Bluetooth kit – got from eBay at 5.9k
5. Got the Aux in cables one long and one short – total cost don’t remember
6. Tyres changed to Michelin Primacy LC – 7.4k for all 5 tyres
7. Skoda branded metal tyre valve caps – my sis-in-law got it from Canada
8. Black & Decker car vacuum cleaner (ACV1205) from Flipkart – Rs. 2500
9. Paint sealant from 3M
10. Paint protection film from 3M – door edges, ORVMs, door handles, boot lid
11. Carbon wrap on the interior silver strip
12. Meguiar’s car care products from 3M – for tyres, for interior plastics and car shampoo
7,8,9 and 10 costed Rs. 15k
13. 3D maxspider mats black colour – bought from Car Art, Borivali for Rs. 6250
14. Jopasu duster and 2 micro fibre clothes from Car Art, Borivali for Rs. 900

Accessories that I plan to get
1. Leather seats – Let’s see when I would get this done. This is too costly so postponing it for the next FY
2. CR90 sun films – Indicative cost by 3M is ~ 28k for all four doors and front and rear windshield, but will wait till it gets hotter so probably in April, May or even later
3. RS’ stainless steel pedal set
4. RS spoiler
5. 205/55/R16 rubber with RS alloys – this will take the maximum time, 5 years to 30-40k kms whichever is earlier
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Old 3rd February 2013, 22:50   #4
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Default re: Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI

I have spent a lot of time on the earlier part of the story, now I will come to my experience with the car

Looks & exteriors
1. It’s not the best looker for sure, but I like it. I liked Civic and Elantra the most but this is a classy car and looks handsome in silver. This is sporty yet elegant
2. Very well built, I like the sound of doors shutting but I guess Linea’s build is heavier and produces a better sound
3. Love the grille, and the double barrel head lamps. They give a character to the car
4. There is only fog lamp at the rear, surprising, why is this so, don’t know. When I came to know called up the dealer and a fellow Bhpian bloodred. Both confirmed that this is indeed so
5. Rear looks good but the rear windshield is too small and hampers rear visibility, rear parking sensors do their job very nicely. With the chrome exhaust tips, the rear look has been enhanced, I like that
6. ORVMs, like the way indicators have been integrated with these. The only grouse is that the left one is not the convex one, this does take getting used to. Even my esteem has both convex mirrors
7. The boot release is very convenient. You don’t have to keep your hands under the bonnet and press the lever. Here the lever pops out of the front grille just lift it up and the bonnet opens. The bonnet is so heavy that I would have loved hydraulic assist as is there in Superb
8. Ground clearance is adequate. Have scraped only once or twice when the car was fully loaded with 4-5 passengers with 3 big strolleys in the boot.

What could be better?
LED DRLs, RS front bumper and more colour options, stock tyres should have been 205/55/R16

Pics of the exterior

Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI-10.jpg

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You can see the Skoda branded tyre valve cap
Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI-22.jpg
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Old 3rd February 2013, 23:41   #5
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Default re: Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI

Interiors
1. They are top notch in quality. The best across all the cars that I test drove

2. The seats are very comfortable. I always felt that esteem had nice seats, but once I got used to the ones in Laura, I find the ones in esteem uncomfortable. This surely results in a fatigue free drive. Rear seats are good, rear leg room is also satisfactory especially since we are a family of short people. Though the rear ac vents eat away the 3rd seat.

3. Steering and seat adjustments go along very well to get to a suitable driving position

4. The front armrest is a very convenient feature and makes the driver comfortable. It has a cushion and is very soft, this has spoilt me. The Toyota ones were hard and not comfortable. Even the rear arm rest is a nice feature. Though my esteem also had it, the one in Laura has perfect height and is sufficiently wide.

5. Lots of spaces to store stuff, front door pockets hold 1 litre bottle; arm rests have space underneath them. Passenger seat has a storage area underneath. You can keep your wallet or cell phone at the side of the seats. There are 2 cup holders in front. Some space to keep change in the centre console bottom and another space to store stuff on top of the dashboard. The glove box in reasonable in size, there is one more on the driver’s side, very handy and useful though smaller in size. You have space to keep your goggles as well. Most storgae spaces have some nice fabric or rubber mats to keep those sounds away and really feel upmarket. Apart from that the front armrest which houses the Aux in port can be cooled as well

6. All controls are of excellent quality, except the ORVM adjustment joy stick

7. The MID gives all the required information w.r.t. distance travelled, average speed, time, fuel consumption, instantaneous fuel consumption, speed limit set and distance to empty, instantaneous speed, average speed, time for which the car has run, time and outside temperature. There are two memories, one resets after 2 hours of non running of the car and another one resets after 19 hours and 59 minutes on non running of the car. Both memories reset after the running time crosses 19 hours and 59 minutes. There is one trip meter. You can set service reminder in terms of kms and no. of days left. The bottom part of the MID can also display speed in mph.

8. The stalks are on the reverse side and non intuitive to use. If I have to change the gear and at the same time give an indicator, I cannot. Though one gets used to it but it’s still not very intuitive

9. Love the way the headlights are switched on through a switch on the right hand side of the steering wheel on the dashboard.

10. The indicator stalk has a nice feature – on one press, it blinks thrice and is useful for lane change. Another alternative is press it but not fully then it will keep blinking and as soon as you leave it, it stops

11. You cannot lift the wipers in their normal position; you have to get them into service position. This can be done by switching off the car and pressing the stalk on the right side down once. The wipers take their top most position and this is called the service position. One more safety feature, if you open the bonnet, the wipers won’t move from their position

12. All four windows are anti pinch and one touch up and down. The doors can be unlocked by pulling the door open lever once and then you pull them once more to open the door. I didn’t quite like this feature, there is risk element involved here. Better to have a separate locking mechanism as in esteem.

13. The black and beige interiors look good, but prone to get dirty pretty soon. As mentioned above, I have changed the silver strips on the door panels, on the dashboard to black carbon wrap film from 3M. I think this looks nice, what do you guys say?

14. The music system is very nice and more than enough for me. It has an aux in, that’s it, no USB or SD card. But the sound is good and Aux in comes handy for iPod, though I can play music though my phone by connecting it to the Jabra freeway and then tuning the Jabra freeway on the music system’s FM channel. This way I can take calls and hear them on the car speakers and also stream music from my phone. I don’t miss the Bluetooth connectivity anymore.

15. No steering mounted controls – Good to have feature but the drive makes for such missing features

16. No ACC – it’s ok, good to have feature but nothing necessary but feature lists in much smaller cars put this Skoda to shame. Since its relatively pleasant out here in Mumbai, haven’t tested the AC during really hot days so can’t comment on its effectiveness.

17. Horn is hard and you need to lift your hand from the steering to press it. In my esteem, I could do so with my thumb and both hands were on the steering wheel

18. Two dead pedals. The right one is of not much use, would be useful with cars that have cruise control. However, the left one is outstanding. It is so comfortable that I cannot do without one now. The right pedal is more forward as compared to the left one and to keep you foot on it, you need to bend your right leg more as compared to the left one and this position is not very comfortable

19. Boot – what to say about this, it’s a football field (well I know I am exaggerating). It’s really big and we have seen some bhpians shifting their houses. I had a good experience when I had my cousin coming in with 2 very large strolleys and one big handbag; the boot galloped everything with ease. Isn’t it great?

What could be better?
Steering mounted audio controls, USB port, auto folding ORVMs, better joy stick for adjusting ORVMs, touch screen head unit and maxi dot display.

Now, I will let pics do all the talking

Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI-23.jpg

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Last edited by Shreyas Aterkar : 4th February 2013 at 08:55. Reason: Correcting spelling mistakes and slight modifications
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Old 3rd February 2013, 23:48   #6
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Default re: Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI

Now coming to the main reason why this car was bought – its driving pleasure, so I will cover here

Engine, Drive, ride, handling and steering

Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI-53.jpg

Love at first drive - The story of my Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI-54.jpg

Engine & the drive – This is the reason why I fell in love with this car
The engine is rated at 160ps@ 4500-6200 rpm with 250NM @ 1500-4500 rpm. This is quite an upgrade for me coming from my humble esteem rated at 85 bhp and 105 NM.

Put the key into the ignition, PRESS CLUTCH and then crank, the engine is noisy, there is a distinct clatter similar to a diesel at cold start. This settles after some time and the noise reduces significantly, and from inside you won’t be able to hear the engine sound at all, it’s so silent. First time I heard such a loud sound, I got worried and then I got comfortable after speaking with fellow Bhpian bloodred. I had an incident when my colleague thought that this was a diesel when I started the car in the office parking.

One more difference that you feel is the clutch, it’s harder as compared to my esteem and I took some time to get used to it during which I stalled the car a lot of times. You leave the clutch, the car surges ahead. The drive is so superior to any of the cars that I have owned and test driven that I cannot express. The way this engine revs is outstanding; the detuned sound that it makes is music to the ears. The first two gears are ok, but in the 3rd gear it’s a different beast altogether. Any gear, you press the accelerator and it surges ahead like a rocket, you can get the push back feeling in all gears except may be the 6th gear, but the engine never shows any sense of lag in response and that it will take time to accelerate provided its above 1800 rpm. I have revved the car in 2nd upto 6k rpm and its a different feeling, its an overwhelming feeling. The car is so damn stable at those rpms and it doesn’t feel that you have surpassed the ton. My esteem created some fear at those rpms. The car is not so comfortable in stop/start traffic which constitutes half of my drive and especially when I consciously ensure that I don’t ride the clutch even slightly. The clutch being relatively hard also takes some time getting used to. All in all, in the morning its an absolute delight to go the office and I come out with a smile every time I park the car – and think what a start of the day. In the evening, the car is good but not in its turf, so with an average speed on 15kmph in the evening there are at least 8-10 kms when my legs complain but the other 28-30 kms more than make for it.

Since torque is available at such low rpms, I can drive in at least one higher gear as compared to my esteem which makes up a bit on the fuel consumption front. But during start/stop traffic, I intend to drive on first gear in order not to ride on the clutch and that takes away some benefit accrued before. During the first 2 tank fulls I got 9-9.5 kmpl, now this has increased slightly towards 10 kmpl. My esteem gave me between 11 to 13 kmpl. Regarding the fuel consumption shown by MID – On my daily office runs, the MID during the morning when I average 30-35 kmph shows 7 l/100 kms and while coming back when I average 15 kmph it shows 11-13 l/100 kms. This means an average fuel consumption of 11-11.5 kmpl, so there is an error of about 1 kmpl when calculating using tank full to tank full method. But why am I talking about this point at all. The last question to be asked to the owner of a 1.8 TSI is “kitna deti hai”.

Ride, Handling, Steering & NVH
Laura is a comfortable car overall though the ride is a bit stiff at low speeds of less than 20 kmph. At higher speeds it a flat ride. It is very stable and you don’t feel the speed at which you are driving. At 100 you don’t just feel the speed, it’s like 60-70 in esteem. Handling is good, at corners where my esteem used to give me a scary feeling, Laura takes those easily but wider section tyres would make a world of difference to this aspect, though this has to wait. Steering – I am used to hydraulic unit of esteem, the steering is distinctly heavy even at slower speeds, this is not the case with Laura, at slower speeds the steering is light and at higher speeds it weighs up adequately. Though I need not mention, the T-jet was the best in all these aspects. Laura comes very close and it’s more than sufficient for my style of driving. RS would have been great but for the low speed ride and ofcourse an incremental cost of Rs. 2.5 lakhs.

NVH – The Laura is pretty quiet from the inside, especially after coming from Esteem. Changing the rubber to Michelin would have done a great job in reducing the tyre noise but since I didn’t drive the car a lot on the stock tyres cannot comment. I am mainly talking from my experience of esteem where I felt a considerable difference after changing from JKs to Michelin XM2s. I did not realize the wind noise as some have talked about maybe I was too busy enjoying the driving experience.

So far I have covered 2400 kms in the car all within the city, the only highways on which I have driven are eastern and western express highway in Mumbai, best road driven on is the Bandra Worli Sea like where I touched the highest speed on the car and it felt very very stable. I have loved every moment of the ownership, I just wish that it stays this way and I don’t experience the thing that people fear the most with Skoda. Fingers crossed.

I do take some precautions from my side to prevent trouble with the car –
1. On cold starts, I idle for 30secs to 1 min – when the car is switched on the MID shows fuel consumption in litre per hour, on cold starts this reads 2.5-3 l/hour, I wait till this goes down to 0.8-0.9 l/hour – thanks to bloodred for this advice. This also makes sure that the car settles down to around 800-900 rpm
2. I don’t switch on the ac or rev the car beyond 2-2.5k rpm till the car’s temperature goes up to the quarter mark
3. I try my best not to ride clutch even if it means driving on the first gear
4. When parking the car for longer durations, I do idle for 30 sec or so

A few of the things above were shared by fellow Bhpian Akshay1234. The recent thread started by GTO on idling the car was also very helpful in fine tuning this practice and now I make sure that a km or so before parking I don’t rev the car hard.

My experience so far with the Skoda ***
I have been to JMD, Kandivali workshop twice.

The first time was for an orientation tour where they show their facility and introduce the customers to the Assistant works manager etc. I also took this as an opportunity to eliminate a squeaking sound from the dashboard specifically the AC vent. Also got auto lock/unlock & DRLs activated. They could not activate, cornering lights, needle sweeping nor could they change the fuel consumption display to kmpl from litres per 100 kms. The experience was good, I was promptly attended and my issues were resolved to my satisfaction except a few.

The second time I went to get the oil level checked and the get a solution for the AC squeaking noise again. This time the service was even better. They removed the squeaking sound (though it should not have appeared in the first place), cleaned the AC filer and topped up 1 litre of Shell Helix. I just hope this is how I am treated there in futures. Fingers crossed again.

Well, that’s the end to my first review, will try my best to keep this updated, let me know your feedback.

Would like to thank all the Laura TSI owners who have posted review here in team-bhp and all the fellow bhpians who helped me with make this choice. Not mentioning any names here with the fear of missing some name. Special thanks to Vishal Tanksale and Rajiv (@Bloodred).

Last edited by Shreyas Aterkar : 4th February 2013 at 00:13. Reason: Some modification
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Old 4th February 2013, 13:02   #7
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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 February 2013, 18:48   #8
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Congratulations Shreyas on your acquisition of one of the finest driver's cars available in the country. Welcome to the TSI cub. Your car looks like a twin of my car

The Laura in Ambition trim is quite bare in terms of features, but believe me all will be forgotten once you get behind the steering and let that gem of an engine loose.

The current Laura is on its last legs and new Octavia seems to be a very very promising car. Did you ever think about waiting for the new car to launch? Only question is will it get a 1.8 TSI heart? If it does not, then our 1.8 TSI's will be collectors items

Enjoy the car and drive safe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shreyas Aterkar View Post
2. CR90 sun films – Indicative cost by 3M is ~ 28k for all four doors and front and rear windshield, but will wait till it gets hotter so probably in April, May or even later
I initially had 3M CR 70 on my windshied and CR 50 on the sides. The AC performance was really good and I never felt it lacking. Then I had to replace my windshield when it got cracked by a flying pebble. As a result I lost the film too. At that time I could feel my arms burning due to the direct sunlight which made me realise how good the films were. Now I've got 3M CR 70 on the windshiled and CR90 on the sides. THe films are virtually invisible and no cop will ever catch you. They do help in heat rejection, but are very pricey. BTW I paid 25K for the films which were installed last week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shreyas Aterkar View Post
One more difference that you feel is the clutch, it’s harder as compared to my esteem and I took some time to get used to it during which I stalled the car a lot of times.
When you say the clutch is hard, do you mean clutch kick back? I find the clutch on my TSI to be very very soft and I am surprised that you find it hard. I've had cars from the Carb Esteem to the Palio 1.6 to the Corolla at home and find the clutch in the Laura TSI to be very soft in action.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shreyas Aterkar View Post
Since torque is available at such low rpms, I can drive in at least one higher gear as compared to my esteem which makes up a bit on the fuel consumption front.
Don't do that. Instead drive in the lower gear. You will find an improvement in the FE. The engine is at its most efficient state when the turbo is in boost. Stay in the turbo zone as much as possible. Don't know if you noticed, but in 3rd gear and above there is very little engine braking and the car will just coast forever if you let go of the throttle. Hit the throttle a bit hard and let it coast. WHile coasting the engine consumes Zero fuel. Yes ZERO fuel. You can check the instantaneous FE read out on the MID. This way it consumes lesser fuel overall than giving light throttle input in higher gears.

Initially I too used to shift up to fifth or even sixth whenever possible in the city. Nowadays I hardly shift up above fourth and my FE figures have actually improved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shreyas Aterkar View Post
Laura is a comfortable car overall though the ride is a bit stiff at low speeds of less than 20 kmph.
I keep 30 psi overall in all my tyres and I find it to be the best compromise between handling and comfort. I'm riding on 16's so yours must ride better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shreyas Aterkar View Post
Put the key into the ignition, PRESS CLUTCH and then crank, the engine is noisy, there is a distinct clatter similar to a diesel at cold start.
WHoaa! clatter similar to a diesel? This is not normal. The TSI engine is never loud. Check your oil levels. I find that the engine is quieter and smoother when the oil level is close to full. I never let it come down below halfway mark for this reason.
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Old 4th February 2013, 19:22   #9
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Congratulations! The growing fraternity of Skoda owners on this forum continues to surprise me despite all the bashings. I often wonder there has to be a reason to it and never could think of any better reason than the machine itself.

You hate chrome, don't you? The CF wraps speak for themselves.

An excellent and detailed review that can well go into the records for anyone looking for details on the TSI.

As for the clatter that you hear, is it only for the initial 10seconds after cranking the engine on a cold start? If yes, it's normal.

Wishing you and your new possession miles n miles of smiles!
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Old 4th February 2013, 19:56   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
Congratulations Shreyas on your acquisition of one of the finest driver's cars available in the country. Welcome to the TSI cub. Your car looks like a twin of my car

The Laura in Ambition trim is quite bare in terms of features, but believe me all will be forgotten once you get behind the steering and let that gem of an engine loose.

The current Laura is on its last legs and new Octavia seems to be a very very promising car. Did you ever think about waiting for the new car to launch? Only question is will it get a 1.8 TSI heart? If it does not, then our 1.8 TSI's will be collectors items

Enjoy the car and drive safe.
Thanks Santosh. I agree with you when you say that once behind the steering wheel, the features don't matter and thats the reason why I bought this car.

I did think about this car being on its last leg, but I was afraid that Skoda would follow VW and plonk in a 1.4 TSI in the next generation Laura and I wa not ready for that compromise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
Now I've got 3M CR 70 on the windshiled and CR90 on the sides. THe films are virtually invisible and no cop will ever catch you. They do help in heat rejection, but are very pricey. BTW I paid 25K for the films which were installed last week.
I guess I will follow what you have done except getting CR90 all across. I have got a good reference on price. Thanks for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
When you say the clutch is hard, do you mean clutch kick back? I find the clutch on my TSI to be very very soft and I am surprised that you find it hard. I've had cars from the Carb Esteem to the Palio 1.6 to the Corolla at home and find the clutch in the Laura TSI to be very soft in action.
I did not mean that the clutch is not as hard as a diesel but relatively harder to my Esteem. It does not have that kick back of the Cruze but its still hard. I checked the same with fellow bhpian Vishal Tanksale, he also had a similar feedback. I think with time, this should be better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
Don't do that. Instead drive in the lower gear. You will find an improvement in the FE. The engine is at its most efficient state when the turbo is in boost. Stay in the turbo zone as much as possible. Don't know if you noticed, but in 3rd gear and above there is very little engine braking and the car will just coast forever if you let go of the throttle. Hit the throttle a bit hard and let it coast. WHile coasting the engine consumes Zero fuel. Yes ZERO fuel. You can check the instantaneous FE read out on the MID. This way it consumes lesser fuel overall than giving light throttle input in higher gears.

Initially I too used to shift up to fifth or even sixth whenever possible in the city. Nowadays I hardly shift up above fourth and my FE figures have actually improved.
Thanks! Will keep this in mind and notice the difference using the MID.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
I keep 30 psi overall in all my tyres and I find it to be the best compromise between handling and comfort. I'm riding on 16's so yours must ride better.
I am also keeping 30psi, have filled the tyres with Nitrogen. Ride is not bad at all but stiffer in comparison to a Linea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
WHoaa! clatter similar to a diesel? This is not normal. The TSI engine is never loud. Check your oil levels. I find that the engine is quieter and smoother when the oil level is close to full. I never let it come down below halfway mark for this reason.
Well, I have exaggerated here. Its not as loud, but engine with cold starts does sound louder as compared to other petrol cars. But it settles into a very nice hum pretty soon. You are right about the oil level. This weekend, I went to Skoda *** and got the level checked. Had to top up by 1 litres at 2400 kms mark. I did notice that the engine became smoother or may be that was just in my mind. I plan to check the level every 2k kms especially during the initial 10-15k kms.

Quote:
Congratulations! The growing fraternity of Skoda owners on this forum continues to surprise me despite all the bashings. I often wonder there has to be a reason to it and never could think of any better reason than the machine itself.

You hate chrome, don't you? The CF wraps speak for themselves.

An excellent and detailed review that can well go into the records for anyone looking for details on the TSI.

As for the clatter that you hear, is it only for the initial 10seconds after cranking the engine on a cold start? If yes, it's normal.

Wishing you and your new possession miles n miles of smiles!
Thanks, mempheS.D! I agree, after driving this beast, I just could not find anyother car so much fun to drive.

I do not hate chrome, but I thought let me do this carbon wrap on the brushed silver strips. Since this is anyways a sticker and costs about 1800 bucks, can get these removed anytime without much loss.

The clatter is during the initial few seconds till the engine settles down into a rythm after which the car sounds very refined and silent.

Last edited by Shreyas Aterkar : 4th February 2013 at 20:08. Reason: Adding another reply
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Old 4th February 2013, 20:38   #11
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Well written report with a nice set of pics. Would have loved to see the silver painted console and then the carbon fibre wrapping, a comparo to understand the difference.

Anyway happy to know your service experience, hope it continues & you just have to visit for those scheduled maintenance.

Wish you miles of happy & safe motoring!
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Old 4th February 2013, 20:51   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
Well written report with a nice set of pics. Would have loved to see the silver painted console and then the carbon fibre wrapping, a comparo to understand the difference.

Anyway happy to know your service experience, hope it continues & you just have to visit for those scheduled maintenance.

Wish you miles of happy & safe motoring!
Thanks for the wishes, swiftnfurious. Apologies that I forgot to attach the before pics. I have got a few before pics taken by the 3M guys. Attaching them here, the quality is not great but I hope its good enough for comparison. Let me know the feedback.

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Here, I must praise the 3M guys for the quality of work done. The finishing of the carbon wrap is outstanding.

Last edited by Shreyas Aterkar : 4th February 2013 at 20:53. Reason: correcting a grammatical mistake
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Old 4th February 2013, 20:54   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shreyas Aterkar View Post
...Attaching them here, the quality is not great but I guess this should be good enough for comparison. Let me know the feedback.

Attachment 1046975

Attachment 1046976

Attachment 1046977

I must praise the 3M guys for the quality of work. The finishing of the carbon wrap is outstanding.
It has come out well. You just can't stop praising 3M workmanship. The thread on KarthiKK's Punto is a classic example. Your car too does look good with the wrap.
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Old 4th February 2013, 21:36   #14
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Excellent choice my man, the 1.8 tsi is a gem of a motor. Try to get a set of vrs or elegance rims, 17s, and you will see the difference it makes. Welcome to the tsi club, and happy driving....
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Old 4th February 2013, 22:40   #15
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Hello Shreyas,

A very well written and comprehensive review. Oozes with passion, I must add

The carbon stickering indeed, is a very welcome job which makes the interiors look very sporty.

For some reason, I always feel that the alloys of the Laura don't ever make justice to it. Inspite of being an enthusiast's delight, it still looks plain Jane with those shoes. Please get her a new set of hot alloys and that would compete the look. The silver colour would simply add more flair to it.

Additionally, is it only in the pictures that it seems like that there's also a red light in the side step garnish? Or, is it really? If, yes, super stuff!

Rev, rev and away! Good choice of the car, mate! Nothing beats the feeling of having driven a TSi.

And BTW, the Team-BHPkey chain looks cool with the remote Cheers!

-Shivang Gandotra

Last edited by MetalBuff : 4th February 2013 at 22:46.
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