Skoda cars are essentially frugal, fun to drive and also value for money. What they aren’t are good for is the aftersales service. Well, that isn’t the fault of the car? Its got more to do with the company’s service centers. Just do a quick check of the horror stories that the Skoda service centers are known for. However, that in no way has deterred the new customers from going and buying Skoda cars. Infact, in the entry level luxury segment, it’s the Skoda cars which are preferred more. So when Skoda preferred to launch the Laura vRS, it was but natural that vivid memories of the Octavia vRS were back in contention. The 2011 Skoda Laura vRS in India, however, disappointed us with the fact that under the yellow skin, there is nothing which has changed. Here is a test drive of the 2011 Skoda Laura vRS in India.
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Completely big shoes that the Laura vRS has to fill in and unfortunately it fails to deliver on that count. The looks are dejecting and that too coming from the makers who gave us the instantly recognizable Octavia vRS. This one doesn’t have any side skirts and head on, the only distinguishing this is the egg yolk like yellow color of the car. One more thing, in place of the fog lamps, there are the LED pearls in place. In the lower lip, there is a mesh grille as well. In the name of performance aid, the rear also boasts of a spoiler finished in body color. Up on the grille and at the rear, there are vRS badges around. The alloy wheels are sadly a far cry from the Spyder ones which the Octavia sported.
The sad part is that while the Octavia vRS was a fully loaded thing, this one isn’t. It has got only a vRS badge on the steering wheel and on the seats. That’s it. The entire dash has been done up in black with requests to the Skoda show room yielding in wood inserts as well. They do cost a sum of Rs 15k. The seats and stuff are properly comfortable and for more information on the seating comfort and other features, the proper Skoda Laura roadtest review would work. The only perceptible change is the inclusion of the touch screen music system from Superb.
The front wheel driven Laura vRS is a sublime handler. The steering wheel, however requires some corrections to keep it in its position and that too when making fast maneuvers. Fast is a small word for this car and the speeds that this one attains can be termed as illegal in most of the Indian states. The chassis, however is more than upto the task and can easily gobble more power. Power which we expected in the vRS version and are highly disappointed. The steering wheel is a nice unit to hold and does the job properly until 120 clicks turn up on the speedometer. The car somehow seemed to waft once on the highway and the regular feeling of the Laura sticking to the ground was missing by a long deal. Wind noise is also prominent at higher speeds.
The engine is the same 1.8 liter unit found under the hood of the regular Laura and also the Superb. It makes 160 horses and 250 Nm of torque. A 6 speed manual gearbox is what Skoda offers on this car. No DSG or automatic gimmickry. We would have wished that Skoda bring in the 200 Bhp petrol motor or better still the 2.0 liter TDI unit with 170 Bhp. This would have made for a really smoking car. Nevertheless, the TSI motor is a gem and allows this car to race from 0-100 kmph in only 7.8 seconds. The top speed was somewhere in the regions of 210 kmph. The engine is also a sweet sounding unit and loves to rev. The ABS equipped brakes shudder when high speeds have to shaved off. We are told that this is a normal thing for ABS equipped cars. 6 air bags along with parking sensors for the rear make up for the safety package. Not to mention that Skoda cars are built like tanks. The overall fuel efficiency we could manage during the road test was 9.3 kmpl. This was inspite of having a heavy right foot most of the times.
The Laura vRS isn’t going to break any new moulds. The Chevy Cruze with its diesel power promises scintillating performance and at the same time looks pretty mean as well. There are very less things which would distinguish the performance of the stock Laura with the vRS one. Since Skoda has a relatively high 1 year or 15k kms whichever is earlier service interval, it should ease things. The 2011 Skoda Laura vRS price in India is Rs 15.2 lakhs and this is ex-show room, Thane. Value for money? Just about with the not so good kitting out. Mention must be made of the Xenon head lamps which have the cornering function in them and are very powerful in the night.