Car Tested: Skoda Laura DSG AT Elegance
Test Started at – 20958 km
Test Concluded at – 22433 km
Kms Done: 1475.1
Mileage – 12.31 Kmpl
14.86 Kmpl (Best)
9.67 Kmpl (Worst)
Fuel Consumed – 121.3 ltrs
Fuel Cost – Rs 5,580/-
Major Repair – None
Service Cost – None during the test
The Laura is the best selling car in its class and despite a few known service related issues, more so in the past, its still doing good numbers even today. Its the most popular sedan in its segment and offers the best automatic gearbox in the business. We do a long term stint in the DSG Automatic Elegance variant of the Skoda Laura and find out just how good it can get.
The Skoda Laura is a sober looking machine and fits for a executive sedan, it not sporty or jazzy. Exterior fit and finish is great with no abnormal panel gaps. Built quality is top notch too and the doors shut with a tank – like thud. Get inside and its a similar story. The soft touch dash feels good and the interior quality is truly premium. You feel safe inside this car, not only is the built quality reassuring but ABS, Airbags and ASR add to the safety. ASR is similar to traction control and I got a real demonstration when the car aquaplaned on some standing water, it twitched for a split second and everything was normal again. Without this, it could have spelled danger and the car would have possibly ended sideways.
Most people end up upgrading their headlamps from the regular 55 Watt ones which usually come as standard. Not in the Laura though, the projectors throw ample light and coupled with the fog lamps, the illumination is more than sufficient.
The boot is so large that you will never be wanting for more space.
A handle is provided to pull down the boot and shut it, especially useful in the rains when the outside is too dirty to touch.
There is abundant space for odds and ends. Tons of cup holders and there is a small compartment under the front passengers seat for additional storage. The beige colour mats which came along with the car tend to get really dirty in the rains and are difficult to clean too.
You will be amazed with the sound quality of the audio unit. Seldom do you get such a good quality stock system which can put many after market units to shame. The crisp sound quality can be tweaked to your liking with a few Bass/Treble settings. Surprisingly, there are no audio controls on the steering wheel and no USB Support though AUX is provided.
Most cars have the Aux in the glove box or on audio head unit and this makes it look untidy with the wire hanging around plus there is always a chance of the wire coming in the way of the gear shifts. Skoda has thoughtfully placed it in the central armrest. Since most people carry music on their phones or ipods, the USB is not really missed too much.
What i really missed was audio controls on the steering wheel and bluetooth connectivity. For a car which costs more than 15 Lakh Rupees, these 2 things shouldn’t have been missed. Even the top of the line L&K variant is sans bluetooth.
Having the driven the car for almost 1500 km, i must admit that its difficult not to fall in love with it. The 2.0 ltr TDI engine punches out 140 bhp and is up for a challenge once you turn the ignition, the beauty however lies in the 6 Speed DSG gearbox. DSG stands for Direct Shift Gearbox which incorporates a dual clutch system, wherein one clutch controls the odd gears and the other controls the even gears. This enables quick gearshifts with minimum lag between shifts. The Laura uses a 6 speed gearbox with tiptronic, which means you can manually go through the gears by flicking the gear lever manually in tiptronic mode
On a broader scale, there are essentially two types of drivers, those who drive with the pedal to the metal and others who try and extract a good fuel economy. With the DSG, you can get best of both the worlds. Floor the accelerator and the 2.0 ltr TDI engine churns out 140 bhp with some urgency. Switch to Sports mode and you will hit the rev limiter every time before the DSG slots you in the next gear. In short, outright performance just as you want it. On the other side, feed the throttle gently and with some getting used to, you can get the DSG to shift gear as low as 1600 rpm. Nett result, brilliant fuel efficiency. Using this technique we got a whooping 14.86 kmpl (city driving predominantly), which is superb for a car of this segment.
The Laura is a pocket rocket and your driving style will influence the fuel efficiency. The worst we got was 9.67 kmpl with the best stretching upto 14.86 kmpl. Road and traffic conditions have their own role to play these values are in a mix of city and highway driving.
All the information about tyre pressures are given on the inside of the fuel filler flap. Initially we were running a lower pressure than recommended and that reflected on the mileage. The pressure will vary based on the number of people on board and the amount of luggage in the boot.
The ride quality was composed and was neither too soft nor too stiff. If it has to be described using either, i would say it hangs towards being a bit soft. Even after 22,ooo km, the Laura’s agility and road manners were as good as it was when it was just out of the factory. Handling is an area where the Laura never fails to impress. Taking it around the twisties on the Amby valley road, the Laura inspires confidence and edges to be pushed harder. The engine note is the icing on the cake. All 4 disc brakes and ASR ensured that there were no unpleasant moments.
The Laura had us impressed and turns out to be a very good buy in the segment. The only issue, if at all, likes in the service department. Spares are costly and there have been a few issues the dealers. A clutch on the manual variant can set you back by about forty thousand rupees. Having said that, what you really pay for is the awesome built quality, sporty performance and the ease of a good automatic gearbox at your disposal. Automatic variants are the way forward these days with current traffic and road conditions leading to driver fatigue in the manual guise, the Laura DSG is a viable option, which not only gives you the comfort of an automatic but also keeps the adrenaline levels in check.