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Old 12th January 2010, 12:58   #1
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Default Petra to Laura - I will never learn!!

Friends,
I was rarely active in the forum for last couple of years due to work pressure. Still I was visiting the site occasionally to catch up with the latest and greatest from Indian Auto world. And I was happily continuing my partnership with loyal Petra 1.6 which has served me for more than 5 years (and 50k) now. By the way, I bought Petra in 2004 (Dec) after reading a wonderfully detailed review on it by GTO.

Then during June this year, things changed when I happened to read this article comparing Altis, Civic, Jetta and Laura in the Autocar. I started dreaming about the mighty TSI engine and also started having a closer look at my financial status. Unfortunately, around the same time read all those Skoda special stories in TBHP. They were really scary. So the question was should I be content with Linea TJet coming in 2010? In brief it was thoroughly confusing.

During December first week, I saw the free-insurance ad/offer from Skoda on Laura TSI. Again TSI was playing its charm on me. Started searching within TBHP for any existing TSI owners. Saw ‘Imp!’ at a relatively advanced situation, about to book the car. Wow!!
Got in touch with him, he had done much more analysis and extensive research on Laura including Engine, clutch, AC etc etc. Conversation with Imp! was reassuring as I had many queries/worries on Laura & Skoda. Many thanks to him.

Next day asked for a test drive from Vinayak Cars. Within hours, car was ready, great beginning! Took it to NICE road, and the drive was just great!!. I had my son along with me, so restricted my self to a top speed of 165. By the end of this drive, my heart had made the decision and head was protesting in vain.
There were enough discussions on TSI engine and Laura’s ride and handling, so let me not go there. Few other minor points:
1. Engine is unbelievably silent at idle  It could also be due to the great NVH levels
2. Test car’s gear lever was marked for 5 gears only  Later confirmed that newer set of cars were saved from this goof-up.
3. I didn’t like the 15“ default alloy wheels at all  Any way, upgrading to 16“
4. Bottom can scrape with some of the huge humps unless you are careful  I am spoiled by Petra, and my wheel upgrade should help me here.
5. Accelerator shape & position are extremely convenient & comfortable, but clutch & Brakes are not so convenient. I need to get used to it.
6. Seats are more on the firmer side but very comfortable because of the bolstering,
7. There is no Auto-climate control or steering mounted audio controls  Audio controls on steering wheel would have been useful, any way not a major issue.
8. Music system doesn’t have USB port  It has Aux port inside the from arm rest.
9. Windows can be rolled up/down from the remote any time  Very useful touch.
10. As pointed out by many, rear visibility is bad  Parking sensor with display is going to be quite useful.
11. No electric folding for Mirrors  This again should have been useful.
12. It has cooled glove box & compartment under front arm rest  Not sure if I would be using this
13. Again heated rear view mirrors and automatic wipers (with rain sensors) are present  Quite Interesting

Now it is a matter of INR. As expected, my wife was not impressed with the idea of throwing 16 lacs on a car. Some how this hurdle was cleared without any long debates.
So as suggested by Imp! got in touch with Jacob who is a sales manager with Vinayak Cars. Dealings with Jacob was an extremely pleasant and nice experience. I would say he is definitely an asset to Vinayak Cars and Skoda in Bangalore. In brief, I booked the car on 16th Dec.
Colour? This was never a worry for me, I mean black is the obvious choice

Visited Vinayak Cars (along with family) during next Sunday (as it was scary going to Seshaduripuram from Bannerghatta road on a week day or even on Saturday). It took just 35 minutes to reach the showroom, thanks to Jacob as he had given me precise directions. Showroom was not a huge one but it gave me an overall good feel. They had a Superb, Laura and one Octavia displayed inside. Even after so many years, I can’t deny the fact that Octavia is still a looker.
Jacob, as expected was indeed a warm and nice person. As planned, a black (my colour choice) TSI was arranged for us to get a feel of our car. That one had ‘Stanley’ done in a tasteful color. Too good to resist, but not in my budget for the time being.
My kids had a gala time playing hide & seek between cars kept inside. I showed the twin opening mechanism of Superb’s hatch door to my wife. Obviously she was more impressed with Superb. I can’t help it.

I will continue with the delivery experience in my next post.

Note:
In between I was asking this interesting question to myself. Why is that Civic was never a desirable car for me? It is great looking, has good interiors, very sporty, good performance etc. Would I book a Civic if Laura TSI was not in picture? I knew the answer, it is a big ‘No’. Sorry, I can’t fully justify my answer! May be I am not a ‘Practical’ person; After all I did sign the cheque for a Petra way back in 2004 when I had many other options.
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Old 12th January 2010, 13:42   #2
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Congrats. I also own a Laura 1.8 TSI for last couple of months, bought from Tafe Access Bangalore. Recently took it for a long drive, Christmas break, to Kerala and the drive was amazing.

I didn't consider Civic just because of Dealer attitude as I was also interested in considering Honda CRV. They had insisted to pay booking amount of 50K prior to test drive, only after paying the amount they will allow test drive of CRV and the amount is not refundable if decided not to buy after the test drive. Also they gave Civic only for a very short test drive and did not find it useful.

The experience at Tafe Access was totally different. They were very friendly and have answers to all your quiries and are willing to help with any request you have including multiple test drives.

I have put Stanley leather seats in Laura and is very good.
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Old 12th January 2010, 14:45   #3
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Congrats and have fun with that TSI motor! Nothing quite like it at the price when it comes to shoving you into your seat.
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Old 12th January 2010, 14:55   #4
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Quote:
Note:
In between I was asking this interesting question to myself. Why is that Civic was never a desirable car for me? It is great looking, has good interiors, very sporty, good performance etc. Would I book a Civic if Laura TSI was not in picture? I knew the answer, it is a big ‘No’. Sorry, I can’t fully justify my answer! May be I am not a ‘Practical’ person; After all I did sign the cheque for a Petra way back in 2004 when I had many other options.
I agree, the Civic hasn't really turned out to be a desireable car over here. Yes, the interiors are to kill for (really makes you feel like a fighter pilot) but apart from that, its not a very exciting car to drive. The cheaper City gives pretty much everything the Civic has to offer (including the Honda brand value).

Maybe a 2ltr 180bhp@7500rpm Sports version with stiffer suspension would change things for it.

Shan2nu

Last edited by Shan2nu : 12th January 2010 at 14:59.
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Old 12th January 2010, 16:22   #5
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Many Congratulations on your Laura and great post, i enjoyed reading the post and now am eagerly waiting for the rest of the delivery experience as I have still not figured why you mentioned "I will never learn"

Black Laura must be a real beauty, some pics please....
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Old 12th January 2010, 16:29   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hassanks View Post
I didn't consider Civic just because of Dealer attitude as I was also interested in considering Honda CRV. They had insisted to pay booking amount of 50K prior to test drive, only after paying the amount they will allow test drive of CRV and the amount is not refundable if decided not to buy after the test drive. Also they gave Civic only for a very short test drive and did not find it useful.
50K non refundable i think you can update Honda on dealer attitude.
I think they do not have test vehicle itself. Day time robbery.
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Old 12th January 2010, 16:39   #7
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Congratulations Siva!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hassanks View Post
I didn't consider Civic just because of Dealer attitude as I was also interested in considering Honda CRV. They had insisted to pay booking amount of 50K prior to test drive, only after paying the amount they will allow test drive of CRV and the amount is not refundable if decided not to buy after the test drive. Also they gave Civic only for a very short test drive and did not find it useful.
Please do let us know which dealer this was. This is atrocious attitude from the dealer.
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Old 12th January 2010, 16:40   #8
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Aaah Siva you are devious you are!!!! I'm waiting for the icing I too will put up my delivery experience along with pics of the car soon
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Old 12th January 2010, 16:41   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hassanks View Post
I didn't consider Civic just because of Dealer attitude as I was also interested in considering Honda CRV. They had insisted to pay booking amount of 50K prior to test drive, only after paying the amount they will allow test drive of CRV and the amount is not refundable if decided not to buy after the test drive. Also they gave Civic only for a very short test drive and did not find it useful.
Which dealer was this? Would you mind sharing the name?
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Old 12th January 2010, 17:01   #10
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Sivadas, congrats on your selection. Petra to Laura. I guess you buy your car because you like the way the car behaves. Not the image it carries. Thats good. Thats where the joy is.

50 k is the TD charges if I dont like CRV. Atrocious. He is just a Honda Dealer, not a Lambo / Ferrari. I dont think even they charge you for a TD.
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Old 12th January 2010, 17:02   #11
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50k for a test drive? Man is he selling cars or gold bars?
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Old 12th January 2010, 20:49   #12
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Many congrat on your Laura. you definitely are going to make few heads turn with your Black beauty. Enjoy the ride
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Old 12th January 2010, 21:44   #13
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nice write up sivadas - can't wait for the rest! The engine is indeed a gem and your laura will look fabulous in black. Please post pics!
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Old 12th January 2010, 21:54   #14
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Congrats. Actually by owning the Petra you have already proved that "you will never learn"..Now you have just roved it again..
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Old 12th January 2010, 22:00   #15
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Congrats! That just feels so logical upgrade, since both Petra and Laura have similar strengths (ride, handling, solid feel) and weaknesses (A/S/S, resale). And when/if I have to upgrade my Petra (black one that is), Laura would be the top contender.

I am hooked by Octavia's looks even after so many years of seeing it. It sure has a regal touch.

Now being a Petra owner myself, obvious and curious question here! Despite being in separate segments altogether, how do these 2 cars compare with each other?
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