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Replaced my Vento TSI DSG with a Slavia 1.5 TSI MT: Initial impressions

Our first preference was the Virtus. What a beauty she is!! The Slavia was not considered then since it had the same heart.

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A BIG thank you to all.

I would like to start this first post with a big THANK YOU to Admin for making me a part of this family. Secondly, Thank You to everyone in this forum for the immense meticulous help that you all have been providing to the likes of me in educating about cars and how to fall in love with them. Today with all your help, I am the proud owner of a Skoda Slavia 1498 MT and I would like to take this opportunity to pen down my two cents about this lovely gem.

Why the hunt?

I owned a Red Vento TSI Sports Edition. Fell in love with the car the day I took a TD 4 years back. An engine with a DSG which cannot be bargained with, cannot be reasoned with any other car in that segment at that time. I spent 85,000 kms with her; took her all the way up to Manali from Bangalore, and all the way South to Kanyakumari. And numerous trips to Kolkata. However, there wasn’t a year of my ownership wherein I did not claim my insurance. I felt like she had a magnet which attracts other wheels to crash on it. Apart from other small incidents, once a 16-wheeler crushed over my right fender while I was standing on a toll gate. Once the throttle body gave up. This June, a bus rammed at 90 degrees to my driver’s door due to a brake failure. And that’s it, I gave up. With a heavy heart, I sold my car to CARS 24 at an acceptable price point.

Options?

It was very clear in our mind (me and my best half) that we will not move away from VAG due to its build and safety. With all the unfortunate incidents, although mentally tormented, we walked out scratch less. And since we are a member of the near to extinct species “The Sedanists”, our choice was really either a Virtus or a Slavia.

Buying Experience:

Our first preference was the Virtus. What a beauty she is!! The Slavia was not considered then since it had the same heart, and it did not win us over the Virtus with its looks in some of the posts that we had seen. I test drove the 1.0 manual, and it had a decent powertrain. The 3-cylinder noise was there, but it’s not bothering at all. However, I did not have a good customer experience at Bangalore Motors Mysore Road. I will not get in too many details and bore you to a nap. I decided to take a walk to PPS Skoda Mysore Road.

Well, it did not feel it’s the same group. Where VW was “Take it or leave it”, Skoda experience was quite the opposite. Their “On your toes” behaviour forced me to stay with them and I had to shut my thoughts to visit another VW dealer. Now about the car. From the perspective of looks, it is quite a stunner versus what I saw virtually on my LCD and LED panels. I would humbly suggest not to drop the ball based on looks until you a have a face to face look at it.

Now the drive. I test drove the Slavia 1.5 AT, and immediately felt the difference to its 1.0 sibling. The refinement is absolutely to the next level. This felt like a true upgrade from my 1.2 TSI motor. The DSG behavior is very similar though, lightning fast upshifts, however slightly delayed downshifts.

Since I had decided to go with a manual transmission this time for a peace of mind, my mind by now was pinned on the Slavia 1.5 MT. I was lucky that there was a silver available in stock. Even though I liked the shades of Blue and Carbon Grey, we decided to settle for a color that doesn’t attract much attention. Booked the car immediately. All the processes downstream were smooth and quick. I would like to thank Nandita and Abhishek from PPS Skoda for all their efforts and I wish they keep up this good work in future. They were very patient and accommodative to all my queries. They updated every progress on time and finally; I got my Zeus delivered on 24th July.

How big is Zeus?

I will not get into the dimensions here since we have a very detailed official review. The point that I wanted to make is that this car feels 20% bigger than my Vento in terms of interior spacing and exterior LXBXH.

From the looks perspective, It has a very aggressive bold stance. The creases are prominent and gives it quite a masculine look.

Performance:

I did not have a chance to TD the 1.5 MT combo however I thought I had a hint about its performance based on my 1.0 and 1.5 AT test runs. And I was so very wrong. Awesome, brilliant, mind blowing are too meager to describe what I feel when I am behind the wheel of this machine. I have not experienced any car under 2 million yet, which provides this level of comfort, power, refinement, and stability. It ticks all these boxes with grace.

City performance:

With a lighter steering, city drive has become a lot easier. The immaculate suspension set up absorbs road undulations with such ease that you might forget you are driving a sedan. Crawling in 1st gear is much easy since you don’t need any throttle input on a zero-degree plane. From 1st, when you move to 2nd, the acceleration becomes a little aggressive and you would need some clutching there if you are in a bumper-to-bumper traffic.

You can coast and accelerate without any lag in 2nd gear at an approximate speed of 5kmph. This is assuming you are on a plane road with no inclination. Below this, you need to drop to 1st to avoid stalling.

City Mileage:

I am currently getting anywhere in between 10-12 kmpl in city. I am primarily driving in 3rd gear with seldom downshifts. My Vento 1.2 under these conditions used to return anywhere in between 8-10 kmpl.

Highway Performance:

Honestly, I did not have any experience handling so much power before. The power feels like a ticking bomb which will unleash with the slightest tap on the pedal. Due to the run-in period, the max RPM I took him was at 3000 RPM in 2nd and 3rd and I dropped the idea to do that again until I get a good bonding with my car. I am not a sedate driver. I have frequently red lined my Vento without a problem in my very initial days of its ownership. But this feels a different monster altogether. It pulls like someone has tied it to a slingshot! This clocked 140 kmph in 6th under 2500 RPM!

An important point. Before the Vento, I had a used Civic which I clocked 70000 Km. We all know the refinement level of that engine. After driving Zeus, I get this exact same feeling when I am at cruising speeds. The reason I state this is to give you all a perspective of the refinement level of this engine.

Handling:

Changing lanes at high speeds greater than 100 kmph was a breeze. I did not have an opportunity for fast cornering yet, but I can tell from its dynamics that it would be a walk in the park.

Braking: The big front calipers inspire confidence. The bite is good and slows your car down quite fast without any fuss. The braking power is miles ahead compared to its 1.0 Virtus sibling.

Mileage run 1: I did a 200 km run on highway which had mix of dotted traffic, Ghats and open stretches. My speed was mostly in a range of 90 to 120. It returned me 15.5 kmpl.

Mileage run 2: This time I drove an open stretch of 60 kms. I was mileage conscious this time and cruised at 80 kmph. It returned me 18.8 kmpl.

A humble suggestion: On a highway drive, if you want to down shift to overtake in this car, please rev match. The power surge is too high in this maneuver, and it might throw the car off balance if you do this at a higher speed. Also, it will unsettle the passengers in the car.

Interior:

I am in love with its interior. I do agree there are some cost cutting measures that can be felt here and there with eagle eyes, however this does not bother me at all. The moment I get inside the car, I get a satisfying plush feel. The much-criticized infotainment is very well integrated and does not feel aftermarket at all. On the other hand, I feel the UI of this system feels more tactical. It feels that it is designed for this car. The previous all touch screen was good but had an Android UI feel which for me did not go very well with the kind of statement this car makes with its performance.

AC Performance:

The AC should keep you comfortable, however I must say that my Vento had a better cooling. Please do not get me wrong here. This compressor keeps me comfortable at all times. I run it in Auto mode with internal circulation anywhere in between 22-24 degrees. And it does the job well. My only point is, at this setting my Vento used to give me a chill after 30 minutes, but this doesn’t do that. It keeps me comfortable. I am not sure if that is good or bad from a performance perspective.

One thing I don’t like is this all touch system. My Vento controls were much more tactical and easier to adjust. Also, every time I switch it on, I have to re-engage the inside air recirculation.

Small Niggles:

Not sure if someone else has faced this issue, but couple of times it failed to engage the 1st gear and slotted itself to a no man’s land. The rear-view camera failed to activate a few times. By cancelling the message and reengaging the reverse it came back. Wireless charging is not working. I plan a visit to PPS on this, but I am not concerned too much after reading previous reviews on how it heats up the phone.

The auto headlamps warning comes up when it starts to rain in Bangalore in an overcast situation and it doesn’t budge from the MID display. I must switch on the lights to get rid of it, which is annoying. I mean who gave the 2 million, you or me?

Final few pics before I close. I am planning a Goa trip on 3rd August, and I will post my experience with this machine. If you have read this post, you should have known by now I am all gaga over Zeus:

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