2022 Skoda Slavia first impressions review: Talking exteriors, interiors and features
The Kushaq is what paved the way for Skoda’s ambitious India 2.0 project and within a few months into its launch, Skoda is ready with their second product! Enter the Skoda Slavia, a sedan that’s destined to replace the ageing Rapid and take forward Skoda’s journey to reinvent themselves in India.
With the Slavia, Skoda is set to reinvigorate the mid-size sedan segment, playing in a territory that it has made its own over the past 20 years in our country. And what better way to do this by introducing another car that’s embroidered by the qualities we love about Skodas, no? An all-new sedan in the era of SUVs might seem ludicrous, but then Skoda believes the shift in trends is due to the lack of excitement and zeal in the mid-size sedan segment, something that the Slavia aims to address. Rivals like the Honda City, Hyundai Verna and Maruti Suzuki Ciaz are sure to take notice.
Skoda Slavia Exterior Impressions
Design has always been a cornerstone with Skoda and the Slavia is no different. It wears all of those new-age Skoda design elements and combines the bloodlines of the bigger Czech sedans. Many would call it a shrunken Octavia and I’d agree to some extent because there are a few similarities — the butterfly grille bears the same outline, the headlamps and the J-shaped DRLs sport a similar shape and are positioned relatively similarly too. Lots of detailing within the illumination units — it’s neatly decorated with crystalline elements and chrome, clearly taking inspiration from the Superb. The same attention to detail can be spotted lower down, with the air vents sharply cut through the bumper for that sporty stance. Just like the Kushaq, the Slavia gets full-LED illumination for the front on top variants, with halogen powered fog lamps. Adding to the sporty theme is the bonnet that flaunts some bold contours and sharp edges.
In typical Skoda fashion, the profile is devoid of any shouty design elements, lending it a clean and understated look. Strong and prominent creases run along its length, the panel gaps are tight and consistent, and the panel construction is supremely solid. It’s built the way we love our European sedans, and this is despite the heavy localisation it benefits from. I also like the judicious use of chrome — it doesn't rob it of its understated looks but does add a little bit of dynamism, like how it does with the door handles. Nifty! Skoda’s decision to stick with 16-inchers (even on the top-end Style variant) is possibly to aid it’s ride comfort, however 17-inch wheels would have filled the wheel arches better. Still, those dual-tone alloy wheels do look great, and unlike the Octavia’s shouty wheel design, these really go well with the Slavia’s overall design.
The rear bears extraordinary resemblance with the 2021 VW Jetta, especially due to the split tail lamp arrangement. The crystalline detailing is carried to the rear tail lamps as well, making the Slavia instantly recognisable. Lots of contours here too, especially with the lower end of the bumper which also, very neatly, integrates a full-length chrome strip. Just like the newer Skoda sedans, the logo on the rear is given a miss, and is replaced by the Skoda insignia spread across the tailgate. While all that is desirable, the decision to skip the oh-so-likable notchback tailgate has certainly tempered our excitement a tad bit. But then again, the conventionally operated tailgate does serve its purpose to reveal the class-leading 521-litre cargo space, plenty to suffice four over a long-distance road trip. The rear bench is split 60:40, adding to the extra utility of the Slavia.
Skoda Slavia Dimensions
The Skoda Slavia isn’t just leaning on it’s good looks. Everyday practicality and utility have been given utmost importance while designing the car, and it shows. Built on the same platform as the Kushaq, the Slavia makes use of the Group’s heavily localised MQB-A0-IN platform. As compared with the Rapid, it’s gained plenty in terms of dimensions – 128mm in the overall length, 53mm in it’s width, 21mm in height and 99mm in terms of wheelbase, making this a fairly large sedan. The Slavia is, in fact, larger than the first gen Octavia, the car that kick started Skoda’s legacy of a premium sedan manufacturer.
The Slavia also boasts of the longest and widest body in its segment, and also the longest wheelbase. In terms of the overall length, it's the second to the Honda City, but only by 8mm.
Skoda Slavia Interior impressions
The exteriors sure are impressive, but the interiors are even captivating! One glance and you’d be compelled to stay, appreciating the attention to detail and high-quality materials. Lots of layers and textures on the dashboard itself, which is split in two by a gloss black trim that replicates the design on the grille. And just above that is another horizontal brushed-gold element that runs across the width of the dash, accentuating the Slavia’s class-leading width. Just as we are on the topic of interesting bits, I’d like to point out the cool Skoda badging on either side of the binnacle.
The steering is a chunky piece that’s wrapped in leather, and is two-spoked just like every other new-gen Skoda. It’s also adjustable for rake and reach, which should make it easy to find a comfortable driving position. What helps further its adaptability are the seats – they are wide, comfortable and offer great support even for broader occupants. Seat ventilation is sure to come handy on hotter days, and the dual-tone upholstery does add to that sense of luxury. Lots of elements here that would remind you of the Kushaq, especially towards the lower end of the dashboard. The touch-sensitive controls for the air-con unit does the trick, although you end up leaving plenty of smudges on the glossy panel.
There’s plenty of storage on offer too, with well thought of cubby holes and bins to place your daily items. Although there aren’t any soft touch materials, the quality of plastic is great and remains consistent throughout the cabin. The fit and finish levels are similar to what we’ve seen on the Kushaq and they don’t feel as great as the Octavia or the Superb.
Space on the rear is generous and the Slavia could very well prove to be the most comfortable car in its class for the chauffeur driven. The rear bench, just like the front seats, is supportive and offers good recline and support. Visibility remains great too, the bench isn’t sunken down like in some of its rivals, making it rather pleasant for long distance road trips. Two would be seated here in utmost comfort, however a third would be a squeeze. Also, the ingress and egress remain fairly easy, making it a breeze to hop in and out.
Skoda Slavia Features impressions
Taking centre stage on this cabin is a 10-inch infotainment system that offers the latest connectivity options including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. New to the Slavia is an 8-inch digital instrument cluster (the screen is identical to what the Taigun gets) with three customisable modes. It’s a new interface that’s been introduced to their line-up, but it doesn't feel as crisp or fluid as the bigger sedans from the brand. It does look very similar in terms of its interface to what the Taigun has, though with Skoda’s colours and typefaces. However, as compared to the Kushaq, it’s a good addition to have as there’s the possibility of customisation, something that the analogue units can’t offer.
It also gets a sunroof, something we Indians yearn for. Front seats are ventilated, and the driver is sure to appreciate tech like automatic headlamps, automatic wipers, auto-dimming ORVMs and auto climate control. For the rest of the passengers, there’s the six-speaker Skoda Sound system to enjoy while their devices can be topped up via the wireless charger. Rear occupants will surely appreciate a central armrest, dedicated AC vents and two USB-C charging slots. Smart features like live tracking and vehicular records can be accessed via MySkoda Connect app.
Skoda Slavia engine options
Just like the Kushaq, the Slavia will come powered by two powertrain options — a 1.0-litre three-cylinder TSI engine and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder TSI engine. The former puts out 113.5bhp and 178Nm of torque, and can be had with a six-speed manual or a six-speed torque converter. The latter of the two puts out 148bhp and 250Nm of torque, and can be had with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG. There are no diesels on offer. We’ve driven all four powertrains of the Slavia before, click this link to read more!
Skoda Slavia First Impressions Verdict
Pricing is key to the Slavia’s success, and going by the aggressive positioning of the Kushaq, we expect the Slavia to be priced neck-to-neck with it’s rivals, and should be slotted between the Rs 12-18 lakh price bracket. If Skoda is able to deliver on this aspect, or even better, undercut it, I think it have a winner at their hands. I haven’t driven the car yet, so all I can do for the time being is bring you up to speed with my first impressions of the car while it stood on a pedestal. It looks gorgeous, it’s styled neatly and it’s also well kitted in terms of the features. Space on offer is great, and the cabin is refreshingly new and upmarket, something that many customers are sure to appreciate. Our driving impressions have turned out to be great too, with the highlight being the Slavia’s performance and ride quality. In all, it sounds promising!
Sedans have always been aspirational, and with the Slavia we really do expect (and hope) more customers to flock towards this breed of cars. The Slavia, even when compared to its immediate rivals, already feels competent and confident. It will be made available in three trim levels, and we’ll have more details on it’s spec-wise pricing early next year. Exciting stuff, and I can’t wait to drive it on the road!
You can also check out the video of our first impressions of the Skoda Slavia on our YouTube channel — head over right now and do subscribe if you haven't already!