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Technical overview of the Volkswagen Jetta & Skoda Laura

The D-segment sedan has died a rather brutal death at the hands of cars that in my opinion aren’t even worthy of being called SUVs.

BHPian vishy76 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

2021. The “kalyug” for sedan lovers has set in. The Koreans and the Japs have either called it quits or are surviving on the morseled remains left behind after the pseudo-SUVs and compact crossovers have taken over.

The situation is bleak. You walk into a Skoda showroom. The new 4th-gen Octavia has wowed you, but the Home Ministry gives you a rather disappointing glance when the finances are being discussed. That well-built, low slung, globally revered D-segment sedan you always dreamt of is out of reach again. Or is it?

The D-segment sedan has died a rather brutal death at the hands of cars that in my opinion aren’t even worthy of being called SUVs. The XUV 500 stole the limelight in 2011, and it has been one disappointment after another for sedans. Today, SUVs (that’s what the average Indian calls them not me) of all forms have gained aspirational value and are the go to option for any Indian spending over a million bucks (even below in all honesty). Sitting high up above the ground, towering over everyone, bullying traffic and taking potholes with aplomb seems to have gained precedence over carving corners and enjoying long sweepers at triple digit speeds in a low-slung sedan.

Why am I even telling you all this? The reason is simple. If you want a fun to drive sedan around the Rs 25 lakh mark today, you can’t have one. However, what if I told you, that there are a bunch of underrated yesteryear D1 Segment sedans up for grabs at tempting prices? And the fact that they even get things to the table which a modern-day D-segment sedan on sale can’t? Don’t be tempted just yet. I am not going to throw classifieds at you and ask you to buy cars straight off. I am going to document all the issues the car I am listing down is bound to face and only then allow you to reach your conclusion. With all formalities done, here’s a deep dive into 2 famous fun-to-drive D-segment sedans money can buy and their pros, cons along with gremlins.

The Skoda Octavia might have kept the D1 Segment sedan tradition going, but the lack of a diesel option is going to pinch people the most apart from a few other shortcomings.

Skoda Laura

What you will like

  • Solid build quality coupled with elegant styling and premium interiors.
  • A wide variety of engine and GB options to choose from. A road burning 1.8 TSI, to an old but bulletproof 1.9PD to an efficient and brisk 2.0 TDI.
  • Pick the right variant and you can have an ultra-long feature list. The L&K variants boast of features like a Canton audio system, Bi-xenon headlamps, dual zone climate control and the likes.
  • Mature ride and handling package coupled with a multilink suspension as standard.
  • The 1.8 TSI can turn out to be a great project car with a variety of mods available in the aftermarket.
  • Used examples are trading hands at obscenely low prices in most states these days.

What you won’t like

  • Most examples are old. The newest (used) Laura you can find will be at least 7-8 years old.
  • 1.8 TSI suffers from major issues including a faulty piston ring design, water pump failures and the likes. The 7-speed DSG is no saint either. Diesels are relatively reliable though they have issues of their own (will be described in detail later).
  • Some electronics can turn out to be a bit of a pain. Instrument cluster backlighting, ABS sensors and the likes.
  • Air con compressor failures are perennial issues on these German cars. Can cost a bomb to set right if you don’t know where and how to get it done.
  • Find a good FNG to look after the car. ASCs are no good after the 4-5 year or 70-80K km mark.

Moderator Suhaas307's Skoda Laura 1.8 TSI MT

Volkswagen Jetta

What you will like

  • Solid build quality coupled with elegant styling and premium interiors.
  • Younger, well equipped cars are easier to find as compared to the Laura.
  • Mature ride and handling package coupled with a multilink suspension as standard.
  • 2.0 TDI is available in a higher state of tune as standard.
  • Used examples are trading hands at obscenely low prices in most states these days.
  • 6-airbags, ESP, EDL, ABS, TC, ASR and the likes are standard across all variants.

What you won’t like

  • 1.4 TSI is uninspiring. Not an enthusiastic engine like the 1.8 TSI.
  • Electronic niggles do exist in the form of bad wheel speed sensors, the odd ABS module failure etc.
  • Pre-October 2013 cars weren't very well equipped. Missed out on key features such as climate control, bluetooth telephony and memory seats. Lower variants get a rather sad looking and barebones HU.
  • Air con compressor issues just like her cousin.
  • 2.0 TDI though largely reliable, can need some preventive maintenance.
  • Once again, find a good FNG to look after one.

Member Ashwin_Thekkan's Jetta DSG

Continue reading vishy76's technical overview and BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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