At the global premiere of Skoda's latest mid-size sedan in India, we got an up-close look at the Slavia. This is a new sedan tailor-made for Indian customers, just like the Skoda Kushaq. And, there’s a good emphasis on using a large proportion of locally supplied parts as well. It will replace the Rapid sedan and will be one of the four offerings in the Indian market from the Czech automaker. We've shown you many images and videos of the sedan in its camouflage earlier. But now, the wraps are off and here's the real deal we'll get for our market.
The Slavia is based on the MQB A0-IN platform and measures 4,541mm in length, 1,752mm in width, and 1,487mm in height. It boasts a wheelbase of 2,651mm. So that makes it the widest and one with the longest wheelbase in its class. It's a tad shorter than the Honda City in length but longer than the Hyundai Verna and Maruti Suzuki Ciaz. Most interestingly, it is even longer than the first-gen Octavia! The new Slavia nicely complements the Octavia and Superb models, the other sedans in Skoda's portfolio.
Up front is the signature butterfly-shaped grille which looks nice and sharp. It’s flanked by sleek headlamps with integrated daytime running lights. The front bumper gets fog lamps and honeycomb inserts. Also, to make the car look classy and premium, there's a touch of tastefully done chrome on the bumpers and even the window line. On the side, you'll notice Skoda's signature Tornado line and the car rides on 16-inch dual-tone alloy wheels. Now, round at the back, the C-shaped LED tail lamps are split into two crystalline elements. And with the coupe-like sloping window line, the rear section, I must say, bears a strong resemblance to the Octavia sedan.
Interior and features
Even the interior was under wraps and this is the first time it’s being shown. First impression — quite impressive! As promised, it's a generously-sized interior with typical Skoda styling elements. There's a contrasting colour for the horizontal decorative strip along with round air-con vents as seen in the sketches earlier. But, what will catch your eye is the infotainment system's free-standing display. There's a character line underneath this screen highlighting and referencing the silhouette of Skoda's grille. Most interestingly, this also acts as a hand-rest while operating the display.
In terms of features and equipment, we are yet to get a comprehensive list of variant-wise features. But here's what you can expect from the top-spec trims. Behind this two-spoke multi-function steering wheel is a digital instrument cluster with three modes for more customisation. The car gets a dual-tone upholstery, automatic climate control, electric sunroof, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel, wireless charging, rear vents, and so on.
Also, with safety becoming one of the most decisive aspects in a car purchasing decision, the Slavia has a rigid body shell and it’s extensively tested for a variety of impacts. It also comes equipped with various active and passive safety features like six airbags, ISOFIX mounts, rain and light sensors, TPMS, ABS, EBD, multi-collision braking, hill-hold, traction control, and more. And lest we forget, the boot space is rated at 521-litres!
Engine and gearbox
The Slavia will be offered with two engine options. Both of these will be petrol and there's no diesel option. These include a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine that produces 113bhp and 178Nm of torque. Then, there's a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol motor churning out a higher 148bhp and 250Nm. A six-speed manual transmission will be offered as standard with both models. However, the 1.0-litre engine will get a six-speed automatic option, while a slick seven-speed DSG will be offered with the 1.5-litre engine. We hope the wait doesn't get any longer and we soon get to test all of these trims.
Pricing and Competition
The Skoda Slavia is the second model under the VW Group's India 2.0 project. Next year, Volkswagen India will also introduce a mid-size sedan based on the same platform. So, things are getting very interesting. Or let's say, we hope they do so. Now, you see, the Slavia is based on the new MQB A0-IN platform. This is the same platform on which Skoda Kushaq is based. So, we can expect the Slavia to be priced higher than the Rapid, but let's hope it levels the Kushaq or is priced a little lower. That will give sedans a fighting chance against the SUVs and their surging demand. Well, we're talking about its competitors like Honda City, Hyundai Verna, and the likes.
Pictures by Nikhil Puthran