Bought a pre-owned Skoda Laura VRS done 1 lac km: Initial impressions

I was to drive a turbo-charged 1.8 TSI motor belting out around 200 BHP!

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It was the summer of 2020, everyone was homebound keeping safe from coronavirus while I was busy on the streets ensuring essential supplies are moving through the city and across borders, I worked for an FMCG startup. It was a very tough time for each of us but as they say, one must always try to look at the positive, and so did I. 2 years back, my garage had a Japanese duo - Honda City Vtec (2nd gen or as they say type 2) and a Mitsubishi Cedia Sports. I live in National Capital Region (NCR) where it is not legal to drive a 15+ years old petrol car, however, my work was so crucial that the car I drove was not a concern to anyone at all. I capitalized on the opportunity and a street racer found its way on the streets for 2 months singing out the tunes of Automech free flow exhaust while Cedia found itself parked in the stilt-covered car park.

My VTEC- The one that occupies one of my parkings full time

You don't get a simpler engine bay than this

My Mitsubishi Cedia, with a friend’s Yeti (in Noida)

Since the context is set, lets’ get back to June 2020 (1st week) when it all began. It was about 4 pm, tired from nonstop digital calls I found myself with some coffee and a secluded corner in an almost empty office overlooking a desolated National Highway 48. As I stared across the glass window on this rainy evening, my moment of peace was disturbed soon after by the loud ringtone of my phone in an empty office, almost like an alarm waking me up from sleep. It was a call from a fellow Bhpian from Mumbai assigning me more work to an already packed schedule, but this was about a car, and I can compromise some sleep for it. The topic of discussion was a pre-owned Skoda Laura VRS 2011 on sale parked 40+ km away from me. I made a failed attempt at explaining the time, effort, and money that would be required for buying, transporting and re-registering the vehicle from DL to MH, all in vain. He was too keen instead hence I spoke to the owner of the car and aligned a meeting with him, the car was never bought citing the above-mentioned reasons eventually while it was going to be an experience that would change quite a few things later for me.

Before I jump to the details of the test drive, I must set the context fairly to explain my emotions much better. All my life I have driven Japanese Cars and have loved them like anything considering their agility and reliability (from a City 1.3, to Vtec, Civic, Accent Viva, and Cedia). My love for Japanese Cars esp. Honda was known to many, while this love was created out of a much smaller sample space making the love questionable the moment it was challenged properly. Until this moment, I had driven only 1 German Car - Skoda Octavia MK 1 VRS (a friend Kaustub’s beautiful Black VRS), but it was too brief a drive to turn my head, heart, and mind.

Image only for reference (not the exact car)- how beautiful this car looks & those gorgeous wheels

Since by now it is clear I had driven decently powered Naturally Aspirated machines as on then, let make take you to the 1st hand experience of the German. The meeting was aligned and I paid a visit to the owner of the car, following are my thoughts and emotions -

1. Looks : Too Curvy more so when you have grown to stare back at your civic/ city type z/ Cedia (my opinions are different now, the looks grow on you with time)

2. Stance : A lowered stance would have been better but then you get good ground clearance, something noticeable esp. coming from the low-slung Japs experience

3. Interiors & Features : Wow, Japanese & I felt so poor looking at those classy & useful features inside

4. Driving:

  • Suspension – Extremely Solid
  • Body Roll – Oh yeah, it swung like a bus at corners
  • Handling – is good but Cedia takes away all the trophies here
  • Built quality – Every Inch shouted solid, I was sold the moment I opened and shut the driver's door (the thud was extremely beautifully pleasing)
  • Seating – I have been in low-slung cars, it felt like SUV
  • Engine – Punchy and extremely smooth

No contesting the agility of the Japanese but Laura felt much more advanced in terms of built quality, features, sheer outright power, and modernity was multiple segments above. I will get into specifics later; I was wholeheartedly convinced that I wanted this car as my next. Having said that, I was also clear I do not want a black car, the color fades with time, and more than anything it is a dust magnet. I moved on from this car but my mind was fixated on the Laura VRS (not a TSI since the beige interiors don’t excite me at all), I expressed my emotions to almost everyone I knew then esp from the community. Driving a solid German Car was a reality check and the Japanese fanboy inside of me was losing ground rapidly.

It was not even 15 days since I test drove the black RS, one of my close friends Archit - a Bhpian, Quickshift Auto blog owner, who happened to be the second one to hear my experience with the German Car notified me about a Skoda Laura on Sale on team-bhp Classifieds. The following were the details and the majority of them ticked right in bright green –

  • Variant – Yes, VRS
  • Color – Oh yes, White
  • Body line – spotless (at least in the images)
  • Location – Mumbai – My Aadhar card bore MH address, no road tax charges, only transfer of ownership was needed
  • Parked in a covered park – Rarity in Mumbai
  • Specifications – Yes, stock
  • Service History – very detailed at Skoda ASS
  • Previous Owner – A Bhpian with a detailed thread of the car
  • Odo reading – a little above 1 lakh km, slight concern but aren’t the above all points convincing enough to let go of this one, oh yes they were. Further, I had maintained one of my Honda city (1.3 Dx) well above 1.5 lakh km and it was, without doubt, the most reliable car of my life

The advertisement went live at 7 pm that day, by 9 pm I had messaged the owner and desperately waited for that notification to pop up on my phone. It did not happen that night and I resorted to staring at the pictures and reading the description at least 20 -25 times. Since I could not sleep away from these thoughts, around 11 pm I was on a long one-hour call with my dear friend/ brother in Pune, Praneel, another bhpian who is a proud owner of MK1 Octavia Combi VRS, and had owned a Laura as well as a Superb TSI before. He has a very good eye when it comes to inspecting cars and it did not take any effort or request whatsoever since he was equally excited to go check the car, and it was a great relief that he was convinced about the car as well. Came the next day, early in the morning I had the owner’s message and by 12 pm we had multiple calls amongst the 3 of us, negotiated the price (very briefly), and closed the terms of purchase. By 2 pm, we all had arrived on the same page, I had transferred a non-refundable amount ensuring the ad was pulled down. I was so convinced about the car that I was not ready to risk losing the car against another a probable 20-40 k of negotiation (that was the max I knew the price could change by).

Images from the advertisement – I don’t have images esp with the garage in the backdrop -

We were moving at a blistering pace, to say the least, Praneel had arranged a movement pass, and the very next day he would be in Mumbai to inspect the car personally. More anxious moments and more staring at what’s app images later, came the next day. By 9 am Praneel was in Bandra and by 10 am he was standing next to the car in Worli. I had the pleasure of getting more pictures now and waited with bated breath for another hour while these guys discussed the car and its upkeep in more detail. I so wished for a live telecast of this conversation, a gruesome hour, and a half later I got a definite yes from Praneel and the following were the details that came along with the approval to buy -

The following updates came by -

  • Car came out of a closed shed parking. Yes this is Mumbai, yes it was for real
  • Body line – Extremely good, literally no scratches anywhere, one very small running board dent
  • Service History – very detailed at Skoda
  • Underbody & engine bay – Completely Intact
  • Engine Performance – according to him very smooth & as they say very tight, the low band was ok but mid-range was super punchy (better than the TSI’s he had driven, as stated)
  • All glasses were tinted light greenish – I only have a problem with darker tints, good to go
  • Extended Annual Maintenance Package
  • Steering and Gear knob looked amazing considering the miles clocked
  • Almost everything worked, from power windows to central locking to wipers to sunroof
  • We had checked the Service History of the car – all seemed majorly ok


  • Front right ABS Sensor was shot
  • Suspension had some sound
  • It had Michelin tires (my 1st choice) but only about 30%-35% life left
  • Dashboard had leftover marks since the owner took out an idol and later I removed a Godrej Car Perfume later on (both were pasted on the Dashboard), the air freshener/perfume was so terrible that my first agenda was to remove that smell from the car along with the round bottle from the dashboard
  • Driver side Ac vent had a couple of sliders bent
  • One Headlight washer was not working

All in all, it seemed a good car to own so we proceeded with executing the purchase. We chalked out a detailed sales agreement between both of us to avoid any misunderstanding or confusion. Having closed the basics, I still had to wait about 30 days to get behind the steering wheel of “My Own” Skoda Laura VRS. In the meantime, we closed the final terms of sale & Payment Terms on email with attestation from both sides and started executing the terms of sales. I had made the required payments and duly filled, signed & couriered all the required forms for transfer, Seller was to send the car for its due service to Skoda ASS – Autobahn, Mumbai. Things moved extremely fast, but due to manpower restrictions and norms during Covid times, Skoda slowed us down by giving the car an appointment 15 days hence for detailed service.

It was about 20-25 days later, everything as per the sales deed was ticked off and the car was ready to be picked up. In the meantime, Praneel had got a new job offer in Gurgaon and offered to drive it down. Although, I was slightly nervous agreeing to it eventually we agreed after Praneel swore to drive extremely cautiously. Everything was working out beautifully well.

The following happened next:

27th July 2020 - Mumbai – The car was back from its service and parked in the same garage, ready to be picked, we have been more than ready all this while

28th July 2020 – Mumbai to Pune– Praneel was in Worli by 10 am, RTO agent was there to collect the signed documents to proceed with transfer straightaway, agreed documents and items were exchanged. It was this day I was technically the proud owner of a Laura VRS now, Congratulations to me !! We made sure to speak and show the car to the same Mumbai Bhpian who was the catalyst for this entire process (the guy who asked me to check a Black Laura VRS in Delhi), the call with him was of such a nature that can’t be penned down here.

29th July 2020 - Pune to Baroda– It was this day that the Car was to start its journey towards me. The car left Pune early morning and by afternoon the seller – aka the previous owner now, had sent a speeding challan on the Mumbai Pune expressway. We both really appreciated the image taken by the speeding cameras there, special thanks to the Cops. Although I took the opportunity to caution Praneel again not to speed, not to drive long hours, and drive cautiously, I would speak with him every 2 hours asking where he was and how the car was behaving. By evening, the car was in Baroda where Praneel would spend the following 2 nights to get him enough rest and the car would also get checked at a friend’s garage.

30th July 2020 - Baroda - The car was picked up by the garage staff –

  • Brakes were bled
  • New ABS sensor was installed which we had already ordered a week before
  • Left Low Beam Ballast was found faulty which was replaced
  • Clutch master cylinder sleeve was replaced

31st July 2020 – Baroda to Jaipur – After having taken sufficient rest, Praneel left early morning for Jaipur and by afternoon he had covered good ground. We spoke multiple times during the day, and he would also send me pictures, and videos of the car & the drive. This is what I thrived on during this entire one-month-long transaction. All went well through the day apart from a narrow escape with a truck where both the vehicles tried to negotiate a big stone on the highway and we managed to nudge it from the side leaving a small dent now on the left running board, making it even from both sides now 

Images from the Trip –

Somewhere on NH8

Clicked at Baroda

It was around 5 PM Praneel had entered Jaipur and we had agreed to speak later at night when he would have got enough rest after a long day of driving. I don’t think it was the right decision to put him to the task of driving the car all the way and the kind of risk on the road made me nervous for the further part of the journey esp. after hearing about the stone and truck incident.

It was around 10-30 pm, I had assumed that Praneel was fast asleep when I get a notification on what's app, it was a live location from Praneel. Confused & Unsure I opened it, and to my surprise, the car was crossing the Haryana Border into Delhi. AT this hour, it would take just 30 mins to reach Dwarka (where I used to live then). Although Super excited, grateful & happy, I still chose to express my displeasure at him for stretching the drive. I was updated that Baroda to Dwarka – more than 1000 Kms were done on one single full tank of fuel as a testament to how sweetly the car was driven. I intently watched the car inch toward me on the map for a time long enough that I would lose track of time completely. I still remember the entire path and every turn that the car took on that beautiful rainy night. It was time the car had entered Dwarka, and it was time for me to run downstairs, in excitement I left my home quite early and stood in the rain waiting for the car to reach me. I deserved it since I had shown the level of patience and composure that I would never have nor would. It was about 11 pm, it was extremely silent, the Roads were desolate with no one apart from me and our street dog Seb (yes I liked him as much as Sebastian Vettel) and we both waited together for the car. I was extremely excited and happy, waiting for the car, while Seb was happy to see me at this hour (we don’t deserve Dogs !!).

We were inching toward the moment as the road perpendicular to the one I was on was lit with white dim lights getting brighter every second. Came the moment when the angle of lights turned left toward me, glowing the road that I was on with a white milky ray of a converging beam of light. My head, eyes, and hands, nothing moved an inch for the next 2 seconds until I could see those white projectors and sharp DRL's light the damp road completely. I had not even got water for him, but I had gotten him the warmest hug of my life, I couldn’t have done better than that. I spent the next 10 mins walking around the car and smiling, the cloudy night didn’t offer much of help while the Moon seemed to try a lot. The next moment I was behind the wheel, the moment I had waited for the last 30 days for every minute I was awake.

I was to drive a turbo-charged 1.8 TSI motor oozing around 200 BHP (it was a Stage 1 Tunen-o-tronics mapped car that I got to know later from the ownership thread of the same car on team bhp) with such solid, confidence-inspiring build quality.

Exteriors –

  • Bodyline – The pearl white paint with water droplets on it made the car shimmer in the fading moonlight. There was a slight paint chip off on the left B pillar and yes of course the tiny dents on both the fenders.
  • Lights – DRL’s looked gorgeous and all lights were working, although the low beams were not as impressive as Cedia and rains didn’t help the white lights either.
  • Wheels – Pristine condition VRS alloys complimented the car beautifully
  • Misc– The rear Skoda Monogram was not in a great shape, all fender linings were in place properly – For those who have dealt with Gen 1 & 2 Hondas will relate to the kind of changes fender linings wanted on them, those could run for thousands of miles without an oil change but fender linings would go bad any moment.

Interiors –

  • Before anything else, the black and silver interiors – they couldn’t have been better, just that the whitish Alcantara on the seats was a bit dirty on the driver seat, which was handled later by me
  • Steering Wheel – The VRS wheel looked gorgeous, with a minute dent on the VRS monogram (How God, how), it gets the adjustment option as well (both vertically as well as horizontally), don’t raise your brows, it was a Wow feature for me
  • Instrument Cluster – Yes, that was too new, too fancy for someone like me to fiddle with on the outset
  • Seats – my favorite part in the entire car, of course, the new-gen VRS takes it all away with its black and red Alcantara, but these are timeless, the bucket seats would happily snug you in and by a far margin the best seats I have sat on. Seat belts slid through their slots as if they were sliding on butter
  • Gear Knob, Pedals, Rear View Mirror – From Vtec to Cedia to Laura the racing pedals stay in my life, the gear knob was as good as new, and the auto-dimming rearview mirror was so impressive and joyful that I don’t have to keep on toggling it up and down at nights (what a blessing !!)
  • View from the seat – It was good enough, of course, Gen 1 & 2 City made you see the entire world around you with massive windscreen and almost non-existential A-pillars – this one couldn’t match it but was good enough
  • Sun-roof – For the first time I had a car with a sunroof and for the first few months I would play with it a lot - open it, close it, lift it, and whatnot during my entire drives, gradually performance took more weight against the sunroof (after 2 years, all I can say is that yeah my car has a sunroof, nothing more than that)
  • AC – It worked decently, nothing close to what Cedia was offering me then (later to be known that it was running on a weak compressor)
  • Boot – I need not say anything, it was so huge that I can park both Vtec and Cedia inside of it
  • Music System – Fantastic is the only word, in-built twitters are precise to the P
  • Performance – Roads in Dwarka are extremely nice covered in the shade of trees from both sides and they keep turning to create such beautiful road tracks at night, those who live in Dwarka shall be able to relate with me better. It was time for Laura to undergo the testing of Delhi’s Nürburgring
  • Engine Noise – The door closed with such a mind-pleasing thud leading into an extremely silent cabin misleading me into re-cranking the already firing engine
  • Riding Stance – Oh yeah, it felt like an SUV, something I complained about for a considerable time, it took me a long to adjust to that ride height

Engine Performance –

1st gear – the initial surge is slow - may let you stall, as revs went up pull was pleasing, the entire unit felt unified and intact, no specific click and bangs

2nd gear – now I was taking it to higher rpm’s, and TSI motor was coming alive

3rd gear – that’s where loyalties with VTEC came under extreme threat, 3rd gear pull was so brutal (at least for me then) that I had to slow it down out of fear, rolled down the window, and the open sunroof did make things worse. So we closed the cabin entirely from outside wind, repeated the same and the fear was still the same, the acceleration in 3rd gear esp mid-range was very aggressive for me to handle then. And it would keep on pulling in 3rd gear and continue the music in 4th gear without any drop whatsoever, Wow !!

Suspension –

Front – the car was planted and drove on the fabulous roads with ease

Rear – The rear was bouncy (took me multiple attempts and parts to solve it later but not entirely, it is inherently a little bouncy)

Handling & Body roll

When it comes to handling, I believe there would be very few cars that will match a Cedia while Cedia or Vtec are quick cars that can be thrown around any corner with ease but you always know that they are too light to negotiate those turns and may leave their track if not done properly, Laura’s body weight, build quality and suspension was confidence inspiring

Body Roll – For the first time I understood body- roll in my life, yes, this car has some

High-Speed dealing – 100+ on Laura was quickly achieved and it didn’t feel we were doing 120 or so, while my other parked cars staring enviously knew this wasn’t their forte at all

Braking – Ah, pleasing is the word since it was spot on

The RS was still not in my hands yet, it was to be parked under my building itself that night but to be taken away the next day. I don’t know if Praneel liked it so much that he suggested one must not take the car on a Saturday. Post 2 days on 3rd Aug 2020, it was to be the day when I will have it officially with me.

We both agreed to meet at Lodhi Colony, South Delhi to offer our prayers and religiously make RS a member of the family. We, myself, Praneel, my niece, my sister, and my parents were there together to welcome the modern member. My parents and my nieces sat with me, and we headed to Dwarka while Praneel took my Cedia to Noida. As a usual norm, my father wasn’t expressive enough while he kept smiling while my mother was quite happy and talked around the looks, features, etc throughout the drive. Meanwhile, the kids took their turns to head out of the sunroof (not something I promote but it is allowed on the first day, come on). I am sure my father was happier for one reason that he would not have to slouch into the car anymore for which he always suggested I sell my cars and buy a Wagon R.

We all have those memories, images, and little drives that remind us of every car that we have owned, this drive back home with my family shall stay etched in my heart forever as the unique memory of the RS, it was a beautiful moment. I don’t remember how a 1+ hour drive back home in peak traffic didn’t bother any of us, and time just went by smiling or talking. The car felt like a massive upgrade over the cars in my garage plus the plush bodyline added more to the pride.

Some Images from my ownership -

The massive massive boot of the car

Beautiful engine Cap – Although I betrayed the brand and stuck to Rowe (suggested by Akshay from GT Tunerz)

The engine is beautifully covered with this plastic cover

One of the images from my 1st hometown drive on The VRS

Met another VRS in Gurgaon only a few days later

The engine bay is neatly packed & the best part is the Intake air position – Cold definitely

The first check-up at GT Tunerz, Delhi

When VRS went for its first TeamBHP Meet

In the end, I would like to thank everyone who helped me own this beautiful machine and would be sharing updates on its upkeep.

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