Come 2022, the midsize sedan segment is going to be infused with a fresh lease of life, with what is arguably going to be one of the most important new car launches. The Skoda Slavia, unveiled earlier last month, will come in as a replacement for the now-discontinued Skoda Rapid and is expected to hit the roads next March.
The Slavia will be the first all-new product in the midsize sedan segment in over one-and-a-half-years, after the fifth-generation Honda City was unveiled last June. And while sedans have been massively overpowered by SUVs in India, Skoda hopes that the Slavia has all that it takes to revive this segment. With bookings for the Slavia ongoing at Skoda dealerships or on the company’s website, let's take a closer look at what's on offer here.
Skoda Slavia: underpinnings and dimensions
The new Slavia is based on the made-for-India MQB A0 IN platform, which also underpins the Kushaq and the Taigun SUVs, and claims to have a localisation level of up to 95 percent. Like the SUVs, there will also be a VW counterpart that is expected to be unveiled early next year. And while the Slavia is coming in as a replacement to the Rapid, it is significantly bigger and far better equipped too.
The Slavia measures 4,541mm in length, is 1,752mm wide and 1,487mm tall, and has a wheelbase of 2,651mm. Compared to the outgoing Rapid, the new Slavia is 128mm longer, 53mm wider, 21mm taller and has a wheelbase that is 99mm longer. In fact, not only does the Slavia have the longest wheelbase, but it is also the widest in its class with a substantial 521-litre boot, that’s also biggest in class.
Skoda Slavia: exterior design
At first glance, the Slavia is unmistakably a Skoda. Up front, it gets the familiar look of the modern Skoda models like the Octavia and the Superb. The car gets sharp and upmarket-looking headlights with very prominent LED daytime running lights that have a crystalline detailing. In keeping with Indian buyer preferences, Skoda has added a decent amount of chrome on the Slavia’s front, which looks nice, but may not necessarily work for all tastes. The headlights neatly merge into the wide Skoda grille that makes the car look wider than it actually is.
Moving to the sides, the Slavia gets a prominent beltline that starts at the front fender and runs till the end, with a prominent Skoda badge on the front fender, similar to the Kushaq. Top-spec variants will come with 16-inch alloy wheels, which is great to look at, but don’t quite fill out the wheel arches. Slightly larger wheels on the top-spec variants would look better in our opinion. Also, as far as ground clearance goes, the car does look a fair bit off the ground and while Skoda has not announced the ground clearance of the Slavia yet, we think it could be best in class.
At the rear, the Slavia’s design has a clear link to its larger siblings and the crystal effect that is present on the headlights is carried over to the tail-lights as well. The wraparound tail-lights extend to the rear fender and are placed at extreme corners, leaving a wide gap between them and making the car look wider. Also, Skoda has added a chrome strip at the bottom of the bumper to add to the car’s premium look.
Skoda Slavia: interior design
On the inside, the Skoda Slavia’s dashboard gets a four-layer design with an all-black top and textured plastics followed by a brown panel that replicates faux wood. Below that is a piano black panel, followed by a beige shade for the glovebox lid and the area around it. The AC vents at the sides are round, while the ones at the centre are rectangular, similar to the Kushaq.
In fact, several interior trims and switchgear are shared with the Kushaq, like the two-spoke steering wheel with mounted controls and knurled buttons. The 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system takes centre stage on the dashboard and the touch-based climate control panel are also shared with the Kushaq. However, unlike the Kushaq, which gets hexagonal AC vents at either ends, the Slavia gets round air-con vents on the sides. The centre console has a clean, uncluttered look with a wireless charging pad just ahead of the gear lever.
While some bits are similar to the Kushaq, the Slavia does have some unique features up its sleeve, like the full-digital instrument panel that comes with three different themes and the word 'Skoda' embossed on the instrument binnacle. While it may not be as advanced as the ones seen on the more expensive Skoda models, it does keep the Slavia in-line with the times. Overall, the fit and finish of the interior feels quite premium and very European.
The Slavia has the longest wheelbase and is plenty wide, which translates into generous backseat space. There is good amount of leg and knee room, but thanks to its dipping roofline, headroom could be an issue for taller passengers. The rear seat is well-padded and gets a centre armrest as well. What’s important to note is that Skoda has provided an adjustable headrest for the middle-seat passenger. The car comes with rear AC vents and dedicated twin USB-C ports for the rear passengers.
Skoda Slavia: features
At launch, the Skoda Slavia will be offered in three trims – Active, Ambition and Style. In terms of features, the top-spec Slavia Style gets the 10-inch infotainment touchscreen system, while the entry-level Active trim gets a smaller 7-inch touchscreen.
It also gets wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and connected car technology (MySkoda Connect), LED headlights and tail-lights, leather upholstery, ventilated seats, an electric sunroof, wireless charger, automatic climate control, keyless entry and an auto-dimming internal rear view mirror.
Safety-wise, the Slavia Style gets six airbags, ESC, an electronic differential system (EDS), a tyre pressure monitor, hill-hold control (optional), a rear parking camera, multi-collision brake and ISOFIX child seat mounts.
Skoda Slavia: engine and gearbox options
Under the hood, the Slavia gets two turbo-petrol engine options similar to the Kushaq. Starting the proceedings will be a 115hp, 175Nm, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed torque convertor automatic gearbox. There is also a 150hp, 250Nm, 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine that will come with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DCT automatic transmission. The 1.5-litre engine will make the Slavia the most powerful car in its class.
Skoda Slavia: price expectation
The Skoda Slavia marks the second chapter of the Volkswagen Group’s India 2.0 plan that follows the introduction of the Skoda Kushaq and Volkswagen Taigun SUVs.
Do you think the Slavia will be able to revive the midsize sedan segment and steal some show from SUVs in our country? Let us know in the comments below.