Skoda Slavia 1.0 TSI MT: Test drive & dealership experience

I've driven the 1.0 MT powertrain in the VW Vento before, and I remember it being livelier. Not just a little turbo lag, the car felt dead below 2000 rpm.

BHPian RoverX recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I test drove the Škoda Slavia 1.0 MT today. I would like to classify my observations with respect to the car and the showroom. Here goes:

Vehcle impressions:

  • The car has is very elegant and has substantial presence. This shade of Crystal Blue is very interesting, ranging from aqua blue to peacock green under different lights (granted, it was mostly dark by the time I saw it in flesh).
  • Illumination is decent on the car. The LED headlamps have great spread and sharp cut off, but high beam could have done with a longer throw (I'll need to check it in pitch dark environs to gauge the efficacy better). Tail lamps look wicked with their angular motif and bright LEDs. An illuminated scuff plate / door handle illumination would look great on this car and make it that much more special. Also, the fog lamps aren't the LED kind. Their throw is strictly average.
  • Coming from our humble Hyundai i10, I hit my head on the A-pillar, not once but thrice! I guess I'm going to need some getting used to low-slung cars.
  • Cavernous boot, no two ways about it. Finishing of the boot lining could have been much, much better - it's an eyesore! And ┼ákoda has done absolutely no attempt at masking the hinge mechanism. But full marks to them for the full-size spare wheel.
  • I don't know if it's due to the low height or something else, but the cabin doesn't feel proportionately spacious to the car's size. NOT TO SAY that it's claustrophobic (far from it), but Honda's packaging wizardry in the City is on another level!
  • Ventilated seats function very well, and are silent in their operation. That's not something that can be said about the power windows; they're damn noisy. The window motors in our 14-year-old i10, that have somewhat packed up, make lesser noise! Takes away from the intended premium feel. The sunroof motor is also noisy, although not quite as much.
  • There isn't one feel-good panel on the entire interior trim. The top of the dash is hard plastic (the cowl over the instrument binnacle was already scratched up pretty badly), the bronze / gold strip is unconvincing, the piano black surface picks up smudges and scratches in no time, and even the window switches area is decidedly low-rent. The power mirror control, in particular, feels flimsy. As someone in this thread has rightly pointed out the chrome insert on the AC vent adjustment tabs aren't nice to touch. That said, the interior panels all feel well screwed together all power window switches are illuminated, as are the USB Type-C charging ports, both front and rear.
  • The quality of the gear lever and steering wheel are excellent. Even the switchgear on the steering wheel works well. It's always a nasty surprise when the wipers go off on a turn in a VAG car, after coming from 'regular' ones. The operation of the stalks feels nice, though.
  • The four LED dome lights (two each in the front and back) look sweet, and illuminate the cabin very well. The switches for these lights were sticky on the test car, but then again, the car had barely run 200 km so it might be something to look out for.
  • The spring-loaded interior grab handles have a very limited travel for some reason. And no, it wasn't because it's a new car, since all four handles felt the same way.
  • The ICE unit is slick, responsive, and vibrant. I couldn't test all the features available, but wireless Android Auto worked very well, and the music quality was very good, albeit a bit boomy. Maybe reducing the bass in the equalizer settings would do the trick. The Tata Altroz's 8-speaker setup sounds decidedly superior, though.
  • The digital cockpit is unimpressive, once the novelty factor wears off. I really missed the usual two-gauge layout, and couldn't help but think of ways in which the blank spaces on either side of the console could be used. I hope ┼ákoda comes up with a software upgrade to alter the graphics and utilise the space better (not sure if it's even possible).
  • Although it's a norm for cars with a sloping roofline and high boot lid to have poor rearward visibility, the Slavia's felt especially abysmal. Not that it's all that relevant in the times of reversing cameras, but the camera quality on this one isn't particularly great, either (in the dark).
  • Rear seat, although spacious, is set quite low, resulting in subpar under-thigh support. Straddling the central floor hump is going to be the least of the middle passenger's woes; the raised seat and protruding central armrest are the bigger problems here. I wonder if this arrangement is intentional to prevent the three passengers from brushing shoulders throughout the journey. Again, Honda does a much better job at the back in the City.
  • Finally, coming to the driving impressions. In a word - ordinary. I've driven the 1.0 MT powertrain in the VW Vento before, and I remember it being livelier. Not just a little turbo lag, the car felt dead below 2000 rpm. Post that, progress was livelier (still not fast). I did not redline the car (revved it to ~4800 RPM), and it pulled linearly sans any flat spots, but it wasn't as exciting as I'd hoped for. Although there weren't much vibrations on the pedals or elsewhere, the engine felt very vocal. Heck, on the outside, there was almost a diesel-like clatter. Gearshifts were positive and slick, although the clutch felt heavier than it should in a modern petrol engine. I've driven some diesels with a lighter clutch, so this was quite uncharacteristic. Also, the clutch pedal had no play at the top of the travel; it slipped as soon as I began pressing the pedal. The brakes performed well, although I can't help but wish for all-round disc brakes, at least in the more powerful 1.5. What baffled me was the MID was showing an average FE of just 4.7 kpl (!). Granted, the car has never left urban limits, and has been driven for a limited duration, but this was an atrocious figure for a 1.0 MT car. I can only imagine how much thirstier the 1.5 would be! Could there be a specific problem with this particular car? BHPians, please feel free to respond.

Showroom experience:

I've been meaning to test-drive the Slavia ever since its launch but couldn't find the time for two months. I had put in a query for the Slavia 1.5 MT in the Škoda website on March 03, and they sent me the name and contact details of the SA at JMD Auto, Thane (Let's call him Mr. A) over SMS. He confirmed my query the very next day, and promised to send one to my place, but didn't bother to honour his word or to follow up on the query. I called him up at least 4 times during the course of these two months for the status of the test drive for 1.5 MT, and it was the same story every time - "Okay sir, I'll send the car to your location". Now, I'd already experienced this powertrain briefly in a friend's Kushaq 1.5 MT, but I wanted to check it out in detail in the Slavia. Since I was in the area today by happenstance, I decided to check one out, anyway.

  • The JMD Auto, Thane showroom is very well-appointed. On display were a couple of regular Kushaqs, a Kushaq Monte Carlo, an Octavia, and a Slavia.
  • I reached by around 6:30 PM along with my dad, and it was almost empty, with the exception of one other party. They took down my contact details and offered us a seat and some water.
  • Another SA, let's call him Mr. B, greeted us and started engaging. I expressed an interest to test drive the Slavia 1.5 MT, and explained to him how Mr. A has been forgetting to schedule a test drive for me all this while, and he said he'll check on it.
  • Mr. B asked for my driver's license, got it copied and returned in 5 minutes, only to confirm whether I was asking for the 1.5 DSG. I reiterated, 1.5 MT. That's when he told me flat out that ┼ákoda does not offer the 1.5 MT variant for test drives, for both Kushaq and Slavia. When I asked why not, he said it's an unpopular variant, and it's not economical for ┼ákoda to allocate a test drive vehicle in this combination to all the dealerships. This brings me to my next questions:

- Have other BHPians experienced the same? I implore them to share their stories here (apologies if I've missed any that have been shared earlier). If not, could BHPians in the area direct me to a dealership that actually has the Slavia 1.5 MT for a test drive?

- If what he said is actually true, and the 1.5 MT is not much in demand, is it possible that Škoda might follow the footsteps of its sister brand and axe the variant altogether?

  • When I asked Mr. B how people were booking the 1.5 MT without a test drive, he was gloating that people come in, test drive 1.0 MT, know in their heads that the 1.5 has superior performance, and book it right away! I was smirking under my mask; it's one thing to have confidence in a product, whole other thing to keep blowing one's ridiculous trumpet.
  • I then asked if he could arrange the 1.0 MT, he said they normally don't allow test drives after 6:00 PM, but since I'd travelled all the way from Dombivli to Thane just for it, he'll oblige (lucky me!). The car was ready within 10 minutes, and Mr. B, my dad, and I went for a spin.
  • The drive was very short - hardly 3-4 km. I asked him to arrange for another thorough one at my place at my convenience, to which he agreed.
  • I drive in an outstretched position, due to which the driver seat is always pushed way back than it normally is. For this reason alone, I ask my dad (who accompanies me on every test drive) to sit behind me and check ingress, egress, knee room, foot room, and comfort. So when I asked dad to check the same today, Mr. B made a snarky comment that coming from an i10, everything would feel luxurious. I quickly pointed out that my dad struggled to sit behind me in a Tata Hexa, to which Mr. B quickly acknowledged that it's a good idea.
  • When I pointed out honestly that the engine feels dead below 2000 RPM, he kept harping about how it's 110 BHP, and that I must be new to turbo petrols (again, silly me!). I was too exhausted to set the record straight, so I let it go.
  • After we were back, I spent another 20-25 minutes checking out the interior. Mr. B let me try out every function and peripheral in the interior to my heart's content.
  • Towards the end of the exercise, he asked me fill out a feedback form and handed me a price list. He then mentioned that MT variants have a waiting period of over 4 weeks, automatics are 6 to 8 weeks, and if I want one in the blue colour, it's going to be 12-14 weeks. Again, I request BHPians to comment on this.

All in all, it was an uneventful drive. The Slavia as a product is mighty impressive, but that special something that we've come to associate with Škodas is missing, somehow. Also, I believe that the pre-sales experience is a testament to how the after-sales service is going to turn out, and I must say that it was pretty meh.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Got BHP?