Thoughts & driving impression: Skoda Slavia 1.0 TSI and 1.5 TSI AT

he first thing that got my attention was that the creep mode in the 1.5 is totally opposite of the 1.0 wherein the car barely moves ahead by itself and just goes upto 3-4kmph.

BHPian Angad sahani recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi everyone, so I went to Jmd Skoda -Kandivali Mumbai this evening for a quick test drive of the Slavia 1.0 AT and 1.5 AT. I’ve never owned any car from the VAG group but have a lot of friends and family who do and I’ve driven the Rapid manual and the Vento 1.6 AT. I’ll summarise what both variants of the Slavia felt like:

  • Perceived quality of materials and touch and feel is good if not the best and you can say they are atleast 70% of what you got from the Vento/Rapid.
  • The NVH levels from both the engines are fantastic and even revving the engines don’t make them sound very coarse. The 1.0 sounded more sporty while the 1.5 was a little boomy.
  • The car is loaded with kit and is on par with what other cars offer in the segment and in some cases ups them as well.
  • The music system is fantastic and has got good bass and isn’t too thumpy on higher volumes.
  • The suspension felt good and absorbent for the most part and you wouldn’t hear too much thuding and crashing over bumps.
  • Space at the back is good and definitely not the best. Legroom is good ( my way of benchmarking legroom is pushing the front seat all the way behind and seeing if i can fit at the back- i am 6.1 ft tall for reference)and headroom is decent. My head will definitely hit the top if if wear a full size turban and would need to slouch and sit a bit at most times. In my opinion it is strictly a 4 seater at the back because although Skoda claims its the widest in the class it somehow doesn’t translate into actual seat width and two full size healthy adults will just about fit with the armrest down. Even for relatively thinner adults seating 5 would be a problem because the middle seat is narrow and protrudes out a lot which doesn’t allow one to squeeze a bit left and right for space.

The driving experience:

1.0 AT- There is definitely a hint of turbo lag at the lower rev range but once the turbo spools up you would receive a nice linear surge of torque, not one that pushes you back into the seat but a gentle pull ahead. The gearbox is quick and smooth and almost finds the right gear, I couldn’t floor it much as the test drive was a short one and limited to a residential area all around so i went upto speeds of 60kmph. The gearbox switches into manual mode with a tug on the paddle shifters and it feels good to hold although the gearbox doesn’t hold gears till the redline and upshifts even in the manual mode.The brakes are good and have a decent bite,but somehow the pedal feel wasn’t that great and it doesn’t have a deep pedal travel . One interesting and odd thing that i felt was the creep mode in the 1.0.It is very jerky and doesn’t feel city traffic friendly as it climbs upto speed very quickly.

1.5 AT- The first thing that got my attention was that the creep mode in the 1.5 is totally opposite of the 1.0 wherein the car barely moves ahead by itself and just goes upto 3-4kmph. Turbo lag was evident here as well but the gearbox takes care of it in most conditions if you floor it. The DSG box is smooth shifting and ready to drop gears quickly. I’ve heard a lot about DSG boxes being jerky in traffic but this isn’t something i felt here. Again the manual mode can be activated by a tug on the paddle shifters. For most city driving conditions and occasional heavy footed driving one wouldn’t miss the extra power from 1.5 , because atleast in my experience there is barely any noticeable difference in the city atleast, this could totally vary on the highway and maybe with a full house. I felt that 1.5 revs a little more cleanly. Either Skoda has tuned the 1.0 to be quite aggressive or the 1.5 doesn’t have the grunt that its numbers suggest, i mean for an engine with an extra cylinder ,1.5 times the cubic capacity , almost 35 more hp and 70 nm torque the difference should be felt very easily.

Some common things across both the engines, the actual gear lever felt very good to hold in both and very seamlessly shifted from P to S without any slotting noises or vibrations. The start stop system works well and very effortlessly without making its presence felt.

Again I will give Skoda a thumps up for the NVH levels especially the startup NVH which is barely audible and will need one to look at the instrument cluster to realize the car is turned on.

  • The instrument cluster and the infotainment display are crisp and beautiful and graphics on both look great. The quality of the touch on the infotainment is good and the connectivity is easy as the system pairs up with the phone easily and wireless Carplay is a breeze to use. The wireless charging pad is in a good slot and still leaves room behind to keep other stuff in a non charger tray, although I wish there was an option to shut the wireless charging and switch it on based on the need. The infotainment is big and the colours do a good job to make the cabin looks stylish and techy (I have a big issue with Audi having just black graphics for its main menu).
  • The driving position is good and the visibility from all angles is good.Seats go quite low and are supportive and cushioned well, actual comfort can only be determined on a longish drive, really appreciate the seat ventilation as the city is already getting hot.
  • I didn’t find the AC to be doing a good job considering the size of the car, maybe I am spoiled by Toyota.
  • The EPS is light and good to hold but frankly feels artificial, a test drive at a higher speed would reveal how good it would weigh up.
  • Car felt nimble and easy to drive but I can’t comment on the handling as I am no expert and neither did i drive it spiritedly to understand that aspect better.
  • 2 things that felt horrible 1- the horn of the car, there was a time you could distinguish a VAG car or the germans just by the horn,the current horn feels like its from a scooty. one that wouldn’t even be audible at higher speeds if the tyre noises increase.
  • The key felt like it was taken straight from a lower end hatchback, all blacked out, no chrome elements or metal and cheap plastic.
  • The car looks very good in some colours and feels cheap in some thanks to the weird design from some angles, I would definitely prefer a sedan with filled up wheel arches and little lower ground clearance, but both those things were skipped in interests of appealing to the masses. The longish wheelbase deserves better and bigger alloys.
  • Oddly there is no boot release button in the car and one needs to unlock the car from inside and use the button on the trunk to open it when the ignition is on.

To anyone who has owned a VAG group car mainly the Polo/Vento/Rapid and is looking to upgrade will need to be ready for a few compromises mainly in the build quality department but not to great extent . I think if not fully, Skoda has tried to retain a lot of what worked for it in the past while still being relatively modern. I am sure a lot of Skoda owners won’t be happy with what all Skoda has skipped out on, but lets be honest the Rapid was selling for 10-12 years, but was good build enough to keep crowds coming after a point ? The answer is no. Only after Skoda slashed prices and released a cheap bare bones variant did the Rapid pick up pace and look what happened to its sibling that took the other route, nobody asks for the Vento today. Honda has played it safe and is offering a slightly more tuned variant in 2020 of the same engine one could buy back in 2009 with just a 10 bhp bump in power and yes like Skoda, even their quality took a hit. But customers kept their faith and the 5th gen car is built better than gen 4. Let's hope Skoda learns that and keeps the masses happy by timely facelifts and generation changes and most definitely a reliable and comfortable ownership experience.

Yes, Skoda could have done better, but yet has done a good job in trying to get a sedan that is worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with all the compact SUVs.

Also from the conversation with the sales executive, the 1.5 TSI is going to dearer by around 2 lakh rupees but will still undercut the Kushaq by atleast 60-70k, so expect the 1.5 DSG for around 20.5 lakhs OTR Mumbai. Both the 1.0 and 1.5 will have a waiting period of around 1-1.5 months as per current bookings and deliveries will begin next week.

Most variants being booked are 1.0 Active and and style and few takers for the 1.5, while the automatics are preferred choice for most. Also for now they are doing only dealership level test drives and home test drives will begin only after the initial footfall reduces.

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