Skoda Slavia: 11 Things You Need To Know

Modified On Oct 28, 2021 12:20 AM By Tushar for Skoda Slavia

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We had a chance to drive every engine and transmission option of the Skoda Slavia before we even knew what the car looks like! Here’s what we can tell you ahead of the sedan’s global debut.

Most, if not all reviews these days focus on how a car looks, how practical it is inside and what it offers in its comfort, convenience and features package. The drive experience is something that always seems to take the backseat. After all, there is no such thing as an “undrivable” car anymore. 

However, in a unique, if a bit odd experience, we got a chance to drive camouflaged pre-production prototypes of the Skoda Slavia and purely experience the car’s driving mannerisms alone.

Here are 11 things you’d want to know about the Slavia’s drive experience and a little more.

1. The Slavia is Skoda’s second car based on the MQB-A0 IN platform with the Kushaq being its first. Like the Kushaq, it too sports a 2651mm wheelbase. While the car still has to go through homologation (for the figures to be officially authenticated), the dimensions make it one of the larger cars in the segment. In fact, it’s longer, wider and taller than the first-gen Octavia that was sold in India. A fun fact and also a reflection of how cars have generally become larger over the past two decades.


Skoda Slavia

Skoda Rapid

Honda City 

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2. Like the Kushaq has the Taigun, the Skoda Slavia will also have a sedan counterpart offered by Volkswagen India i.e. the VW Virtus.

3. In line with Skoda’s powertrain shift, the Slavia will not be offered with a diesel engine option. It will get the same petrol motors as the Kushaq, with similar output figures. Details such as the torque and fuel efficiency ratings remain undisclosed, but like the Kushaq, the Slavia’s 1-litre, three-cylinder engine is good for 115PS while the 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine (with active cylinder-deactivation) produces 150PS.

4. Both engines get a 6-speed manual transmission as standard. The 1-litre will be offered with a 6-speed automatic transmission (torque-converter) as well, while the 1.5-litre will be available with a 7-speed DSG (twin-clutch) automatic transmission.

5. Driving the 1-litre petrol: This is an engine that we’ve experienced in different cars with different settings. In the Skoda Rapid, VW Vento and VW Polo, we liked the performance it offered but at least with the automatic transmission, the throttle tune of this engine was too aggressive.

With the Kushaq, that was changed and reworked for improved ease of use. Similarly, this is a likeable engine in the Slavia. Power delivery is smooth, predictable, and while there is some notable turbo lag, there’s usable performance for city driving at low revs as well. Even when the turbocharger kicks in, the performance gains won’t catch you off guard or make the drive experience jerky.

What’s appreciable about this engine is that while it is the entry-level choice, it’s still a decent all-rounder and is competent for both city and highway use i.e. on the weekends that you decide to step out for a road trip, you won’t find this engine lacking usability. The manual transmission is also very slick-shifting but the 6-speed automatic is what we’d tilt towards. 

This automatic transmission has been tuned to offer quick and smooth gear changes with shifts under part-throttle being nearly imperceptible. Even hard downshifts of two or more gears don’t result in sharp headnod, so using the paddle-shifters a bit aggressively doesn’t foul with the drive smoothness.

Pushing this engine too close to the redline just makes it sound strained with no real gain in performance, so most of your driving will be tackled within the first 2500-3000rpm. Also, while Skoda’s done an appreciable job with engine noise insulation, you can tell it’s a three-cylinder unit with that thrummy engine note. It’s when you want some more polish with the drive experience that you find yourself tilting towards the bigger engine.

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6. Driving the 1.5-litre petrol: There’s no surprise here and if you watch this video, you’ll get the big picture. Essentially, the 1.5-litre engine is a ‘plus one’ vs the 1-litre i.e. it’s smoother, punchier and more engaging to use, offering a more polished drive experience but not to the extent that you’d find the smaller engine lacking something severely.

Courtesy the four-cylinder setup, the engine sounds nicer, the vibrations at the pedal are controlled better and it’s an engine you can push a little harder through the rev range when needed. It’s also got stronger mid-range performance, so overtakes, especially at speeds of 70-100kmph are easier to execute. It’s definitely the engine you’d want for extensive highway driving or if you drive with 3-4 people on board regularly. In real-world conditions, this motor also delivers slightly better fuel efficiency than its smaller alternative.

And if you want the best the Slavia has to offer, you have to go with the 1.5L DSG combination. It is by far the most involving, the most responsive and the smoothest combination to use in the range and offers a level of sophistication that has to be experienced to be appreciated.

7. Another highlight of the Slavia is its ride quality. Our drive took us through some b-roads near Skoda Auto Volkswagen India’s group plant in Chakan, Pune to the Mumbai-Pune expressway. The route included broken tarmac, dug-up stretches under construction and the bumpy concrete surface of the expressway itself. The Slavia managed to deliver a strong ride comfort and predictable handling through all of this, while running a three-person passenger load throughout. Sharper bumps are felt in the cabin but there’s no bouncing on the recovery and it clears badly potholed roads and giant speed breakers quite easily.

8. The steering gets a lighter, friendlier setup than we’ve seen in the Rapid/Vento/Polo trio as well and is far more effortless to use. If you’re an existing owner of one of VW-Skoda’s mainstay cars in India, this aspect of the drive experience may feel a bit foreign, at least at first.

9. While Skoda is actively researching different fuel options, the Slavia is unlikely to get a CNG option as the fuel type isn’t fitting into their placement of the car as a premium option.

10. The final features list hasn’t been disclosed but it will include a digital instrument cluster and up to six airbags. On the safety front, Skoda is bragging about internal crash tests going beyond the requirements of not only India’s homologation norms but also those of global NCAP. Aside from the 64kmph front deformable barrier crash test, the Slavia has been put through the side pole crash test with pedestrian safety compliance set to European standards.

11. Skoda will fully reveal the Slavia in mid November, with detailed showcases of the car in India set to follow soon after. The car will be launched in India around March 2022.

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