Skoda India have started out their Indian innings with very lovable Skoda Octavia and then followed it up with the second generation Octavia named as the Skoda Laura for differentiation in our market. The Laura was the more premium version of the Octavia with a new look and stuff. However in the Indian market, the upgraded Laura was sold along side the old Octavia. Its been almost 6 years since the Laura debuted on Indian soil and by this time, quite a sizeable number of used Skoda Laura cars have trickled into the Indian market place. What customers like in them is the solid build quality and German indestructiveness. Now comes the part when some one would ask why the first owner is selling this car if its so good. The reason lies in the fact that most of the Laura owners are highly affluential people and hence climb up the ladders of success very fast. They graduate to the much bigger Skoda Superb and hence sell off their Laura cars very early on. Here are some tips and guides to buying a used Skoda Laura.
The Skoda Laura was introduced to the Indian market in 2005 and since its launch, the car has been upgraded once and that too in 2008. The 2008 upgrade gave it an all new look plus more plush interiors and also new engine options. The paint quality in Skoda cars are not outstanding in the way that they aren’t too flashy. Even a new fresh out of the showroom car wouldn’t get a second glimpse from a passerby in the same way other news cars with a fresh coat paint do. So a used example shouldn’t be too off the mark. Earlier Lauras had a head lamp glass darkening problem. This is a costly affair and it is better to get this checked in the second hand Skoda Laura that you are eyeing to buy. The front bumpers, if they are dangling or loose would need a replacement and replacement is a costly affair here with the front bumper costing Rs 9k whereas the rear one costs Rs 12k. Second hand Skoda Laura car tyres need to have a close inspection to them. The Laura had a voracious appetite for tyres and a used example for obviously echo it. Tyres used to pack up as early as the 15k kms mark. This can be attributed to the heavy diesel engine that the Laura used to sport. However when replacing tyres, if they already haven’t been replaced, do adhere to replacing all the 4 tyres at the same time. A tyre replacement would cost approximately Rs 20k which includes the cost of all the 4 tyres. The boot of the Skoda Laura is a huge 540 liters however some owners had noted that the boot beadings would peel or break off after 2-3 years. If they are broken, then water would seep in during the rainy season or even during regular water hosing. Its not an expensive thing to repair however if its allowed to be on its own, then the accumulated water would cause some rust to develop inside. The boot should be investigated to see if there is any dampness pervading inside or not.
As for the interiors, the second hand Skoda Laura should stand the test of time. There is a new car feel inside for even a 4-5 year old Laura. The lower specced Ambiente variant has all the essential trappings that one would need from a premium used car like alloy wheels, all electric goodies plus an air-conditioning unit. The slightly more packed in Elegance version carries parking sensors and an electronic climate control unit. However, the highest specced Laurin and Klement variant comes with a sunroof and also leather interiors. Interior space isn’t a problem and the upholstery isn’t the kinds that gets stained easily. Few Laura owners had reported a glove box which doesn’t shut properly. Do get this checked in the used Skoda Laura that you are inspecting. As for the build quality, it is impeccable and the doors when shutting, wouldn’t give a hollow thunk but a chunky one. Its more like a bank vault that you are closing rather than one of a residential place.
There is enough of leg room and head room for the driver and front passenger. The seats are electrically powered in some variants and adjust in a variety of ways. The steering wheel is also adjustable for rake and reach. Do check the power goodies and see if they are working properly since malfunctioning electricals are expensive to replace. Check for the airconditioner’s efficiency. If you feel that the cooling isn’t sufficient enough, then an AC overhaul job would be on the cards and it would cost a cool Rs 30k. Even for the rear passengers, unlike the Octavia, there is good space. Infact the Laura is a benchmark in its segment as far as comfort is concerned. Skoda Laura cars ride very well and inspite of its big size, the car handles superbly. The steering wheel sometimes may feel a bit numb in its operation but that is something that you would have to live with. Around the 40k mark, the Laura’s suspension commands your attention and if the used model that you are looking at has crossed this mark, then its better to get the suspension checked. Most of the bumps are dispatched without a thought by the Laura and so if the car rides slightly lumpy, then there is some suspension repair in the offing. The lower arm of the suspension costs Rs 8k while the front shock absorber will cost close to Rs 7k. Did we tell you that Skoda spares are on the higher side of things. As for the clutch, there would be a slightly heavy feel to it however the clutch plates should usually last till the 60k mark. The gearshift action should be positive and any baulking means that the latent pin needs to be replaced. As for the brakes of the car, the Laura comes with all wheel discs and brake pads need to be replaced every 20k kilometers.
The engines in the Laura are wide and varying. While only a lone petrol motor, the 1.8 TSI producing 160 Bhp is available, chances are that prospective used car buyers would find 3 different diesel engines. They are the 1.9 liter PD unit with 90 Bhp of power, 2.0 TDI with 110 Bhp and another 2.0 TDI with 140 Bhp on tap. A range of 6 speed manual transmission as also an automatic DSG gearbox option are available. Choose the DSG over the manual since it is more fun to drive and has far lesser maintenance than the manual. All 4 engines are punchy and fun to drive. However chances are that you would find the 1.9 PD engine on sale since the other three have been introduced recently. The 1.8 TSI is the hardest to find in a used car market. The 1.9 Pd can be found more easily. The engine is a bit noisy at higher clips and this is to be expected since it uses dated technology. Many owners had complained about the diesel particulate filter failing and coming up with a flashing light on the dashboard. Do check this by taking a Skoda service technician with you. Servicing a Skoda Laura would take a toll on your finances since spares and service charges are higher than the others in its class. The Air filter costs Rs 800, the oil filter stands at Rs 300 while the fuel filter comes in at Rs 1.5k. Regular servicing comes up in 10k kms or 6 months whichever is earlier. The regular servicing charge comes up to approximately Rs 7-8k. The premium for insurance on a 2 year old used Skoda Laura would be approximately Rs 30k. Now, the prices. Expect prices to be on the higher side with not many options available in the used car market. A 2005 second hand Skoda Laura price would be Rs 6.8 lakhs whereas the 2007 model would go in at Rs 8 lakhs.
A car which is costly to buy and costly to service is what is called as a Skoda Laura. However you would be delighted by its overall fuel efficiency of 15.7 kmpl and that too on a diesel diet. The TSI returns an overall average of 12 kmpl, which is god considering the performance on tap that it offers. The alternatives to a second hand Skoda Laura are a new Volkswagen Vento Tdi which is available from Rs 9 lakhs, a new Hyundai Verna CRDI which also starts from Rs 9 lakhs or even a used Honda Civic which is available for Rs 7 lakhs but with a petrol engine for company.