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Old 8th January 2007, 09:40   #1
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Default Skoda Laura - 700km drive

The road trip to Panchgani was much looked forward to because it was one of the few all-diesel highway brigades. Somehow we always end up taking atleast one petrol but the dash to Panchgani was only with the C220 and Laura, and I was really excited to check the latter out over a 700km round trip. Of particular mention are the fantastic roads which make this the best driving destination from Mumbai. They have opened up even more fresh road sections which lead to 90% of the drive being on a 4 lane highway. Not a single pothole or unmarked speedbreaker...long empty stretches surrounded by eye-stopping scenery.

Expectedly the 6-speed DSG gearbox is fabulous....and is an entirely different league. The gear shifts are faster than what even Schumacher can manage with a regular manual, and the shift itself is so smooth that you would think its a CVT. Literally - You cannot tell the shifts at all! The slushbox is superior to any I have driven in the past...and that includes certain models of Merc S-Class'. But the DSG is still not my cuppa coffee. I just could not get the hang of manual mode and left it in "D" or "S" (automatic) most of the time. The trouble is that I would want a downshift sometime but the ECM would think otherwise (excessive RPM post downshift). But then I - as a hardcore enthusiast - am not the target market for the DSG. For a slushbox lover, DSG is the only way to go. Buttttttttttttt I would rather decide on the shift myself than a computer taking that call for me.

Unfortunately the engine is too modest for such a fabulous transmission. Though the DSG makes optimal use of each horse from the Lauras 1.9 diesel, it cannot disguise the engines limitations. Within the city and at speeds below a 100, the Laura has adequate power. But it runs out of breath way too fast. Top whack may be close to 200, but the Laura has no steam beyond 160. I can understand diesel economy and all that, but a car of this price ought to have more than just a 104 BHP.

As always, german chassis' impress. The Lauras ride quality is far out and takes in most of Indias terrible roads without letting a jitter go by to the occupants. Handling was fair composed at all times, but I found the Laura understeering earlier than one would expect.

Of particular mention are the small nifty touches (dont you just love attention to detail!!) and the Laura has plenty of those. For e.g. upon using the windscreen wash function, the wiper automatically does one sweep after 5 seconds to take away any remaining drops of fluid.

Another skull arrives for Skodas after-sales service with another unhappy customer. This Laura was picked from Autobahn and the owner couldnt find enough stick for the service advisors. Even in terms of manufacturer support, there is shortage of parts supplies. Case in point is the drivers seat motors failing about a month back leading to it being stuck in one (and a highly uncomfortable position). The parts are yet awaited. On a previous instance, the horns had failed and they took about 10 days to arrive and be replaced.

Do I still think that the Laura is over-priced? You bet. Gizmos dont make a car and at a 19 lakh on-the-road Mumbai price tag the Laura needs more size, power and a better identity (but then, it is an Octavia). As a car, its fantastic. Butttttttttttttt the price tag stays unjustified.

Last edited by GTO : 8th December 2011 at 21:16.
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Old 8th January 2007, 11:23   #2
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Nice writeup. I am in favor that Skoda diesels run out of breath at 160 just like fiesta D runs at 130. Laura is overpriced and comparing it with Merc (like tv channels do) is not a good thing. Skodas are overpriced and over hyped IMHO.

Skoda should atleast give 130+BHP engine to laura.

BTW i want to know hows the back seat comfort of Laura compared to 1.9 Elegance, Ambiente ?

And what was the FE ?????
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Old 8th January 2007, 11:41   #3
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Nice Review.

Prices of the laura will come down only if the present Octavia is stopped[which looks highely unlikely].But Skoda has definitely achieved a higher degree of localisation than when they started out and now the extra premium which we at India are willing to pay are just adding to their profit margins.

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Another skull arrives for Skodas after-sales service with another unhappy customer
And Audi wants to use this very Infrastructure to service their well heeled clients.However this may also be good for skoda clients with skoda being forced to change for the better.
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Old 8th January 2007, 12:12   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhibh View Post
Skodas are overpriced and over hyped IMHO.

BTW i want to know hows the back seat comfort of Laura compared to 1.9 Elegance, Ambiente ?
Your quote is relavant for the Laura but i beg to differ on other fronts, the Octavia is a great performer and is priced well, the Superb too is a great performer and blows its competition away in terms of comfort.

To answer yours ques, the Laura is alot more comfy than the octavia, has more legroom at the back and seats are super comfy too.
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Old 8th January 2007, 12:39   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahil View Post
Your quote is relavant for the Laura but i beg to differ on other fronts, the Octavia is a great performer and is priced well, the Superb too is a great performer and blows its competition away in terms of comfort.

To answer yours ques, the Laura is alot more comfy than the octavia, has more legroom at the back and seats are super comfy too.

u really think so sahil? from my experiences..yes,there is a differnce..but mariginally.. the rear seat of both are equally uncomfy on long journeys.. atleast thats what i felt..
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Old 8th January 2007, 12:45   #6
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Yeah even I didn't find the back seat that comfy. Only marginally better than the Octy's.
If only Skoda showroom in bangalore would give me a test drive of the car. Have been asking for 6 months. Have been called to the showroom twice only to be told the laura isn't available sorry for the trouble why don't you drive the Octy L&K as it's very similar.
That puts me off to not buy a skoda ever even if they give me the car for free.
How were the NVH levels GTO?
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Old 8th January 2007, 14:10   #7
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Well nice review there GTO, good to see a head on comparison between the Merc & the Skoda. I guess my gripe from the day she was announced remains that one it is overpriced & two Skoda are hoodwinking the customers. And the less mentioned about the spare parts prices & service support the better.

Last edited by iraghava : 8th January 2007 at 14:13.
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Old 8th January 2007, 14:48   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhibh View Post
BTW i want to know hows the back seat comfort of Laura compared to 1.9 Elegance, Ambiente ?
And what was the FE ?????
Far better than the Octavia as is known. But not as good as some of its competition.

Sorry, but didnt (dont) check the FE.

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How were the NVH levels GTO?
Not only are the engine NVH levels good, but the DSG (silky smooth shifts) and superb ride quality make the Laura a very refined package overall.
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Old 8th January 2007, 15:06   #9
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Well written! Exactly what I had expected.

I liked Skodas when they only had Octavia on sale. The car was literally a Golf but still made a VFM option. It offered an overall good package of a car. The shortcomings were a lot but still.... I liked it. Then came Superb which also sounded good enough compared to the price tag of a merc E. Even the mill was smooth.

Then came the new Octavia! They overpriced it, added some funny (some useful too) gizmos and the worst they gave it a funny new name! This car broke all the faith we had in Skodas. Laura is a very highly overpriced car. It's just an improved version of Octy and it should've kept where it belongs.

I had been very curious to know the impression of GTO after taking it for this drive and I have the feeling that I was correct in my guess. The manual gearshift is not very useful. It can give some kick here and there but can't replace the joy of a proper cog!

The new Octavia (can't call it Laura) doesn't match it's hype.

Thanks for that beautiful writeup, GTO.

P.S. We are not informed of who stayed in the front. C220 or DSG?
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Old 8th January 2007, 16:22   #10
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Quote:
P.S. We are not informed of who stayed in the front. C220 or DSG?
No match. C220 was in a different league by itself.
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Old 10th January 2007, 22:19   #11
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Its not even fair to compare the Laura with the C220. Pitch it against the Superb TDi and then your talking competition
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Old 11th January 2007, 01:04   #12
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And what was the FE ?????
In City approx 7l/100Km.
On Highways approx 6l/100Km.

Mugen.
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Old 11th January 2007, 09:29   #13
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drivin a laura was great, but back seat ride is very uncomfortable, its stiff,may be slightly better than octavia,but when you paying 19lakhs for a vehicle you expect better comfort
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Old 19th January 2007, 03:33   #14
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so still ppl think that the Laura is overpriced!

Well GTO, u are right, that a powerful engine should compliment the Laura, which is why they are launching the vRS in diesel too! 170bhp!

PS: my uncle here has just pumped up his Skoda Octavia vRS to 280 bhp! stage 3 mod! i am desperate to get my hands on his vehicle!
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Old 19th January 2007, 04:09   #15
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nice write up GTO. i agree, they should have atleast offered a manual.
By the way, doesnt the laura come with a 2.0 diesel?
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