Skoda Slavia DSG long term review, 5,700km report


How do you replace something irreplaceable? Simple, get the same thing again. And that’s just what we did. Say hello to our new Slavia 1.5 TSI, this time with a twin-clutch DSG gearbox.

First up is the matte colour. Absolutely love how it accentuates the Slavia’s sharp lines, especially around the grille and the bonnet. And then there’s the way it catches the light but doesn’t reflect like a gloss finish. I had to instruct the car cleaner on how to wash the vehicle, though—lots of water and no rubbing to remove bird droppings. It doesn’t look grubby when it gets dust and dirt on it, but that’s probably because it is a dark colour. Gets much more attention than I expected; a lot of people come up and ask about it regularly. Incognito mode it isn’t. 

This two-pedal car is, of course, more relaxing in start-stop traffic than the manual. However, the twin-clutch unit isn’t as smooth as a torque converter, and there is some hold and hesitation at low speeds. It is especially true if you’ve been using the M or Manual mode, which I often do, where the downshift comes only when absolutely needed. Solution: quickly knock the gear lever back to D. Have to say that I love the lightly sprung manner in which you can knock the lever back to D.

What I also particularly like is just how quickly the twin-clutch unit responds when I pull the left paddle: the gearbox is almost immediately one gear down, the engine jumps up into the midrange very quickly, and there’s a delicious burst of acceleration, with those 150 horses pulling hard past 4,000rpm in the meat of the powerband. This is something I often do when I find a nice juicy opening in traffic; it’s much easier than flattening your right foot to the floor and regulating the throttle. 

In the second and third, this car delivers a rush that’s just addictive. And the engine sounds good. How I wish I could see the tachometer and the speed the engine is doing! The pop-up 80kph speed warning blocks the tach on the digital instrument display. Come on, Skoda, you could have easily altered this.

The tachometer is visible only below 80kph, which is frustrating.

The Slavia has also been proving to be a great mile muncher. A couple of long drives out of the city—one with a full complement of passengers and luggage and the other with none at all—reminded me just what a great highway car it is. The first was particularly challenging: a high-speed run on an expressway followed by a 20-30km stretch of broken tarmac full of potholes. Had to pump the rear tyres up to the max, which is an unreal 48PSI (see pic). The ride remained comfortable, if slightly more bouncy, but the car wasn’t overactive over bumps either. 

The ride is comfy, even when fully loaded and the rear tyre is at 48PSI.

The second trip out of town was on the day Mumbai received off-season rains with high winds. The Atal Setu—the new bridge that leads out of Mumbai—got its first proper ‘wash’ and, as a result, was foaming with effluent, oil and the remnants of its construction. While the wind blew hard, the Slavia remained stable and inspired as much confidence as a larger and heavier car. Even more enjoyable was the second part of the drive: across a freshly paved mountain road with no one about. The Slavia again proved that if you want a sporty sedan, this is the one that has the chops; the steering, the grip and the neat handling all come together nicely. And that’s despite having a ground clearance of 179mm, enough to shame an SUV.

Also see: 

Skoda Slavia long term review; 17,000km report

Skoda Slavia long term review, 14,500km report

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