Skoda Slavia 1.0 MT: Observations from a driver & passenger perspective

My first impression of Slavia from driver's seat was pretty good. Relating it to my daily driver the BS6 diesel Ecosport, what struck me was the refinement.

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I recently had an opportunity to experience the Slavia from the driver as well as from the passenger's perspective.

Few details to go with:

  • Variant - 1.0 TSi Ambition MT.
  • Colour - Crystal Blue.
  • ODO - 1300 km (at the start of the trip).
  • Total trip - 830 kms.
  • Overall efficiency - 15.8 kmpl with 100% AC.

So the ride was planned from Noida to Jaipur and nearby attractions on the long independence day weekend. We had 3 cars to choose from, for 4 Pax and light luggage, my diesel Ecosport would have sufficed but BIL insisted to pick the Slavia, poor Endeavour got no votes as everyone thought it would be an overkill for a weekend trip.

We got moving after the cavernous 600L boot gulped our small cabin sized bags. I was at the driver's seat, it was 3pm afternoon, traffic was moderate and took us an hour and half to steer away from NCR. Filled her up with premium fuel, set the AC temp to 24C and stretched her legs on abysmal Delhi-Jaipur highway. Its a 6 lane highway with 80 kmph limit but barely one can average 60 kmph thanks to poor quality surface, crazy intersections and heavy truck traffic.

My first impression of Slavia from driver's seat was pretty good, relating it to my daily driver the BS6 diesel Ecosport, what struck me was the refinement, tractability of turbo petrol, the supple and almost flat ride, the sharp steering which made dodging them trucks and trailers a piece of cake. There's no nervousness even at high speeds on less than perfect roads, although suspension isn't silent like the engine and road noise from goodyear tires is on higher side. The touch-type AC controls are very annoying to use. The car glides on small potholes but produces a loud thud on deeper ones, without losing composure that is. I didn't at any point feel like I am driving a 4.5M long sedan. Driving out of the toll gates, you get to cruising speeds in seconds without even pushing the engine. The lumbar support from the seat is non existent, I had mild pain in lower back in just 100 kms of driving it.

The cooling capacity of the AC has been discussed thoroughly across the threads and it is adequate as long as the car is not parked in open. Even in 33C, it took longer to cool the cabin than say an Ecosport parked in 40C. I sometimes have to switch off the AC in Ecosport to prevent overcooling, Slavia never provided me this opportunity. The fan noise at medium speeds in on the higher side. The interior fit and finish is horrible, the panel which houses ambient light strip is so poorly fitted that it has already started dropping and looks like it will have to be refitted in about an year. The power window switches, even 6 lac rupee cars has better quality window switches, the door rattles and squeaks intermittently pointing to poor plastic quality(?). Braking is satisfactory with 2 disc setup on Slavia and feels similar to Ecosport, latter has better feedback. Steering is very light, on highways its very precise and sharp but there isn't much resistance and feedback is artificial. Body roll isn't felt at all and it corners flat.

The rear seat is a good place and is comfortable but not Honda city comfortable. The armrest placement is too low and the grab handles again are made of very poor plastic. The rear AC vents have weak airflow and do little to cool the rear space. However, the good ride quality and seat comfort with decent under thigh support makes up for shortcomings. The rear doors are light and at times I mistakenly shut them heavily making a loud thunk.

On bad roads, Slavia did very well when we de-toured though a rural setting which offered us with deep tractor ruts and unscientific speed breakers. The sedan didn't scrape its bottom at all and everyone was mighty impressed as we cleared the patch and merged onto the main road.

To conclude, Skoda with its 2.0 is doing good, however Slavia 2.0 would be a proper car just like what Tata did Harrier. The sedan has a lot of potential to change the market, I would happily pay 1L premium to get that "regular" Skoda quality.

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