Skoda’s uber-impressive premium sedan joins the TURBOCHARGED fleet!
I’ve said this before and am saying it again: despite how good modern-day SUVs are to drive, they cannot match the joy of driving a three-box sedan. Sedans are just better driver’s cars! More so, when the sedan has the chrome-lined Skoda badge on its hood. The Slavia is Skoda’s newest sedan for our market and was also the cover star of our March issue. But more importantly, it’s a car that reiterates my belief in sedans being more fun to drive than SUVs. And I have driven both versions of the Slavia, powered by the 1.0 TSI and 1.5 TSI engines, but admittedly, I was impressed more by the abilities of the smaller, three-pot motor! And I found the six-speed torque converter to be equally impressive in terms of driving pleasure, as it feels nearly as quick as the DSG.
And guess what, it’s the Slavia powered by 1.0 TSI engine, mated to the torque converter automatic that has joined our long term fleet! It looks smashing in red and as I’d said in my review as well, feels like a scaled down version of the Octavia, be it in terms of the design or its demeanour. It boasts class-leading space inside, something my parents were quick to appreciate, besides which the seats are large and comfortable. Cushioning is on the softer side but that actually feels good as you sink in, though not too much. The more I drive it, the more I seem to like how modern the Slavia feels, especially in comparison to its rivals like the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Hyundai Verna and of course, the Honda City, which is the newest of the three but still feels very traditional in its approach.
Placement of switches is good, especially the seat ventilation switches which sit on either side of the drive selector lever, making it easy to understand which one is for the driver and which one for the front passenger. The central locking switch sits on the left side of the lever though and I would have preferred to have it either on the driver’s side, below the infotainment screen or on the driver door. Of course, the 1.0 TSI engine is one of the car’s biggest highlights for me, with its kind of refinement and performance levels. The turbocharged-petrol engine belies being a three-pot motor with its refinement levels and when cranked up, emits just a mild thrum to let you know it is on. The car is also quick as power delivery is linear and needless to mention, 115PS and 178Nm are very impressive numbers for a 1.0-litre engine.
I’ve always liked the idea of paddle shifters as besides adding to the car’s sporty feel they also add to convenience, as you do not need to take your hands off the wheel even when shifting manually. I’m thus glad Skoda hasn’t reserved the paddle shifters only for the more powerful version powered by the 1.5 TSI motor. The Slavia has only spent most of its time in city over the past month, but I’m hoping to test it extensively on highways including driving it to Mumbai for upcoming meetings. I expect it to fair well on the front, being a Skoda. Like I mentioned, Skoda’s sedans have been excellent driver’s cars but at the same time, they’ve also impressed with their comfort – be it the backseat or overall – and I expect the Slavia to follow that trend too!