Home / Reviews / First Drive / Škoda Slavia 1.0 TSI Mid-Size Sedan Review, Specs, Pics

 

With good looks and sporty dynamics, the Škoda Slavia brings the sexy back to the sedan segment.


Story
: Sarmad Kadiri
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

The Škoda Slavia is a refreshing new sedan in a market where the main focus has been SUVs for a while now. Yes, there’s been a fall in the demand for mid-size sedans and SUV sales are surging, but our market can’t be only about one body type and the Slavia hopes to start the three-box revolution.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill sedan, mind you. For starters, the Slavia is based on a robust MQB-A0-IN platform which also underpins the Kushaq, European build quality, and offers SUV-like 179 millimetres of ground clearance. These set the Škoda apart from the average dainty sedans.

Specification:
Model: Škoda Slavia 1.0 TSI Style
Price: Rs 13.99 lakh (ex-showroom)
Engine: 999 cc, three-cylinder, turbo-petrol
Max Power: 115 hp at 5,000-5,500 rpm
Max Torque: 178 Nm at 1,750-4,500 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed, manual, front-wheel drive
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, twist beam axle rear
Weight: 1,215 kg

 

Škoda Slavia: Design
The handsome front with the new grille design and Škoda’s crystalline LED headlamps look a lot like the new Fabia, hinting at things to come. It has beautiful creases on the bonnet and the sides and there’s a nice looking ‘SKODA’ branding on the front fender. This understated and elegant styling tugs at our heartstrings. What’s impressive is that it’s larger than the outgoing Rapid and the first-generation Octavia.
In fact, from the side, the silhouette with the flowing roof-line does remind us of the Octi. However, unlike popular belief, the Slavia doesn’t get a notchback-like boot lid but it does offer a generous 521 litres of storage which can be expanded to 1,050 litres if the rear seats are toppled down. The rear also gets a tidy design which is completed with some neat ‘SKODA’ lettering on the boot, but no badges to specify the engine capacity or variant. The 16-inch alloys get a nice twin-spoke design, though 17-inch wheels would have filled those arches well as seen on the Kushaq. The tight and precise panel gaps are impressive, to say the least, and everything, in general, has an essence of solidness and sophistication, which is a good feeling to have.

Škoda Slavia: Cabin / Interior
The cabin borrows some design cues from the Octavia and plenty from the Kushaq, both of which aren’t a bad thing at all. There aren’t any soft-touch plastics or premium leather elements on the dashboard, but it has the built-to-last feel. The black and beige dashboard is split by a nice bronze-ish stripe which, interestingly, runs through the outer circular a-c vents (the Kushaq has hexagonal vents). The 10-inch floating touchscreen holds the centrepiece, the eight-speaker surround sound music system is great, and the driver gets an eight-inch digital console in the higher variants (the lower ones get analogue instrumentation). The infotainment system gives the usual data, the UI is easy to get used to and there’s even a ‘Valet’ mode which gives limited access of the car to unknown drivers.
Though there is a rear camera, the resolution is very average and it offers only static gridlines. The top variant offers ventilated seats and height adjustability for both the front seats, making them quite comfortable. However, even the driver’s seat isn’t electrically powered. The use of light-colour upholstery creates a greater sense of space and a rather large glass area, which is spread beyond the C-pillar, supplements this further. The rear seats are equally comfortable with ample knee-room and head-room even for taller people and it even gets a middle head-rest. It might not be the widest in the class, but you can still seat three abreast without much complaint.

Škoda Slavia: Features
Like the Kushaq, it gets the love-it-or-hate-it two-spoke steering wheel which offers the convenience of tilt and telescopic adjustment. The steering-mounted controls get a nice knurled finish and manage audio, voice commands, and the MID. The ignition button is on the right side of the steering column, there are only Type-C USB ports, a wireless charging dock, and over-sensitive touch sensors for aircon controls, just like its sibling. But here the hazard light switch is located between the central 
a-c vents, while the engine start-stop and central locking switches are unusually positioned on the left side of the centre console, next to the gear lever.
There are plenty of clever bits such as anti-slip cup-holders, so one can open bottles using only one hand, strings on the door-pockets, ticket clip on the windscreen, cardholder in the glove compartment, and phone pocket at the back of the front seats. The overall fit-and-finish doesn’t match the standard set by the Octavia as there are a few rough plastic edges in the lower parts of the cabin.

Škoda Slavia: Engine Options
In terms of driving and performance, the Slavia scores well too. We would have rated it higher had there been a diesel engine option as well, especially with the fuel prices going through the roof. Like the Kushaq, the choices lie between the two petrol engines: the practical 1.0-litre TSI which is available in a six-speed manual and six-speed torque converter and the potent 1.5-litre TSI that comes with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG. Škoda are positioning the smaller, three-cylinder engine at the competition, while the peppier 1.5 TSI is also more premium and sits on top of the mid-size sedan pyramid.

Škoda Slavia 1.0 TSI: Performance
So, let’s start with the 1.0 TSI manual. The turbo-petrol feels more refined in the Slavia thanks to the improved sound damping. It’s effortless off the line and feels pretty effortless. Power delivery at lower revs is decent, though there’s a hint of turbo-lag. It feels more comfortable once it crosses 1,500 rpm. There’s no sudden turbo surge because it’s tuned more for comfort, which makes it ideal for urban conditions. Plenty of available torque means one doesn’t have to shuffle through the gears as much while slowing down for speed-breakers and potholes.
On empty roads, the turbo-petrol feels more rewarding as one can exploit the strong mid and top end. Keep the engine boiling between 3,000 and 5,000 rpm and it zips past slow-moving traffic. The engine feels peppy and pulls cleanly till nearly 6,000 rpm. Holding on to three-digit speeds comes as second nature, and the engine doesn’t sound coarse while doing so either. The throws of the six-speed manual are short and the slots are confident, which make it convenient to use. However, compared to the Japanese counterparts, the gearshifts need a little more effort and the clutch has a competitively longer travel. So, it takes a little getting used to. You might have to shed a gear or two during sudden overtaking because the gear ratios are tuned more for efficiency than performance. And since the sedan is lighter and more aerodynamic than the Kushaq, it is also more fuel-efficient with a claimed figure of 19.47 km/l.

Škoda Slavia 1.0 TSI: Ride and Handling
The reduced drag doesn’t just help efficiency, but the low centre of gravity also makes it one of the most dynamic cars in its segment, if not the best. It stays composed when driven fast and you can chuck it around corners without slowing down too much, yet it remains flat and under control. There is some body-roll and hints of understeering, but things never get nasty as the electronic limited slip differential and XDS+ systems come to the rescue. While you’re grinning away trying to find the limit of this front-wheel-driven car, the co-occupants remain relaxed, bundled up in comfort. The suspension set-up and the 16-inch wheels with taller sidewalls also play a big role in this.
There’s a certain plushness in the way this Škoda filters out road undulations and potholes, even at higher speeds. With 179 mm of ground clearance, one doesn’t need to worry about grounding the underbelly, which makes driving the Slavia even more hassle-free. And while the steering has nice weight, it lacks the sporty Škoda feel and isn’t as communicative, but it’s not a deal-breaker.

Škoda Slavia 1.0 TSI: Conclusion
Neither is the price, as the Slavia 1.0 TSI is priced on a par with the competition, starting at Rs 10.69 lakh and going all the way up to Rs 15.39 lakh (both prices ex-showroom). It’s actually cheaper than the Kushaq and promises to be easier to maintain than the Rapid. Apart from the standard four-year/1,00,000-km warranty, Škoda are also offering a six-year/1,50,000-km extended warranty option, which we highly recommend for hassle-free long-term ownership.
The elegant and fun-to-drive Slavia isn’t perfect but has clearly managed to bring the buzz back into the mid-size sedan segment. And the Czech car-maker deserves a pat on the back just for achieving that.

 

About the author: Sarmad Kadiri

 

 

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