Cars/ First-drive/ 2022 Skoda Slavia – is it the sedan alternative for an SUV ? | First Drive Review

2022 Skoda Slavia – is it the sedan alternative for an SUV ? | First Drive Review



Specs & Prices

Introduction : 

They say "History is not another name for the past, but it is the name for stories about the past". Slavia is just that name. It's the same name that Skoda used in 1896 for their first vehicle. Now you get the drift how important Slavia is to Skoda, and then the global premier has also happened in Goa, but then what's in the name, if another name called Slavia, it will still get your attention and has already infused enough excitement to the almost forgotten mid-size sedan segment.

This freshly brewed Skoda Slavia is the outcome of Skoda's ambitious 2.0 plan, and it is built on the modern MQB [ Modular Transverse Toolkit ] - A0 IN platform, which also houses Skoda Kushaq and VW Taigun. Volkswagen spent roughly US$8 Billion developing this new modular design construction which is a front-engine front-wheel-drive layout.SKODA is known to make fun to drive cars and appeal to the enthusiast. Octavia, Superb and Rapid, which the Slavia is now replacing, are always driver's delight, which made the brand have its own niche following. We drove both the 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre Slavia in Goa, while we have to honor the embargo for the 1.5-litre and keep mum about it , let's dig deep with the 1.0-litre manual TSI engine. 


Exterior & Design 

There are creases everywhere, and it makes it look quite sporty, sophisticated and rather elegant. The Slavia carries forward its European design language quite well. The wide stance, a coupe-like roofline and sharp lines make it look more like an Octavia and Superb. Talking about dimensions, it is bigger than the first-gen Octavia, and with 1752mm of width, it is one of the widest cars in the segment.

On the front, there are evident design influences from the KUSHAQ. The bold Hexagonal front grille with chrome surrounds on it looks quite attractive. Then, there are headlight units just beside this front grille, which houses SKODA's advanced LED technology with J shaped DRLs.

Coming on the sides, you will notice the 16-inch alloy wheels, which i feel looks little under tired ,17 inch wheel option would have accentuated the whole look of the car to a great extent. Just as in a typical sedan fashion, it gets the wheelbase of 2,651mm that liberates an ample amount of space on the inside. Chrome door handles and there are plenty of chrome used in the exterior. 179 MM of ground clearance is the deal-breaker here and makes it go over the road bumpers smoothly.  At the rear, there are clear clues of its flagship sedan – the SUPERB. There is Skoda badging in chrome which is spread across the width of the tailgate. The C shaped LED rear lights also makes it look apart.

Interiors – 

The clean, minimal and dual-tone interiors feel upmarket. There are a few similarities from Skoda's Fabia. First and foremost are the light brown( bronze ) character line running across the dashboard, and the chrome trim surround on the circular air vents look quite pleasing. Then there is ambient dashboard lighting that enhances mood inside the cabin, especially at night. Skoda has managed to keep the car's interiors sophisticated and sporty at the same time by giving contrasting stitching on the ventilated black leather front seats with the perforated beige theme. However, the overall build quality is made of hard plastic everywhere and will feel plasticky on the touch.

The modern two-spoke steering wheel was first unveiled in the fourth-gen Octavia and now it is being given to all Skoda models as well, and Slavia is no different. Behind the modern steering wheel , we get an even more modern 8-inch virtual instrument cluster. In the center, we get a 10-inch infotainment system with Skoda play apps. There is also an option of climatronic A/C with AirCare function, and just underneath the A/C unit there is a provision of wireless charging and two USB-C sockets . 


Features -

 Safety is the forefront of Skoda's design philosophy .The Slavia comes equipped with up-to 6 airbags. It gets an Anti-lock braking system(ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution(EBD) . It also gets Electronic differential lock , hill hold assist and traction control system, rain and light sensors , isofix child mounts and a much needed tyre pressure monitoring system . 

Skoda has also brought its MySKODA Connect app in Slavia, providing information like live tracking , driving behavior, and trip insights . Apart from these features it also provides safety and security by sending an Emergency SMS with location to the concerned person . It also provides alerts on service due date, insurance, and PUC expiry, providing an absolute peace of mind.


Simply Clever! The Skoda's advertisement claims holds faithful as it comes equipped with small nefty comfort features such as cup holder in the rear armrest, smart grip mat for one hand bottle operations, reflective tape on all four doors, elastic bands on both front doors, an utility recess on the dashboard and a two USB -C Socket in rear. 

Engine & Transmission

Just like the Kushaq, Slavia also comes with two engine option. This review pertains to the 1- litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine that produces around 114bhp of power and 178Nm of torque. The engine comes mated with either a six-speed manual or six-speed torque converter and is seamlessly integrated and very responsive. The Engine gets an integrated exhaust manifold and a dual VVT that boosts economy without compromising on performance . Then there is also start and stop with a recuperation function that helps to minimize fuel consumption in the stop-go traffic. [ Claimed ] 


Driving Dynamics -

A ground clearance of 179 mm borderlines with few compact SUVs. For example, its nearest competition, Honda city has a ground clearance of 165mm and Skoda Kushaq 188 mm. This has resulted in giving it more confidence on the broken paths, but also compromised on ride quality a bit. Its not as pliant as Honda City for that matter. The gear shifts are smooth and the manual transmission is a a total delight. Inspite of a 1 litre engine it will never make you feel underpowered and on the corners you can take out its tail and be playful with it. The NVH levels inside the cabin is not the best and could have been more insulated. Its not a cabin which will cocoon you in its comfort but will remind you that you can be playful on tap.

Skoda claims that the cost of ownership will be just Rs 0.46/km .This is a pretty remarkable claim , which will eventually be put into test once we see more Slavia on roads soon. They are ambitiously planning and implementing service touchpoints across India, further enhancing ownership quality. 


Verdict : 

It comes with a fresh dose of life to the almost forgotten Mid Size Sedan market and will raise the bar [ Quite literally] with its higher ground clearance and pave the way for others to follow. It could be a good alternative to an SUV with a large 521 litre boot, and it deserves a test drive to appeal to all your senses and needs. Skoda Slavia has been thought ground up and makes for an interesting proposition.

For : Higher ground clearance, design & sporty engine setup, large boot space. 

Against : High cabin noise, No sun-blinds , option of 17' tyre.

Model Tested : 1 litre TSI Price : Rs.10.69 - Rs.15.39 Lakhs (ex-showroom)

Model 1.0 TSI (MT) 1.0 TSI (AT)
Active 10,69,000 -
Ambition 12,39,000 13,59,000
Style (Non-Sunroof Version) 13,59,000 -
Style 13,99,000 15,39,000

TopGear Magazine May 2024