Full Test: 2011 Skoda Laura RS Petrol Road Test

Skoda Laura RS Introduction:

Skoda Laura RS: RS is an abbreviation, and an abbreviation is defined as “The act or product of shortening.” and by no chance whatsoever does it relate to the product in question here. Back to RS again. Pronounced as (är-es), the full form of RS is Rally Sport though Rib Smacking, Really Sexy and Rock Solid also express the same emotion with super ease.

Skoda Laura RS Test Drive

Skoda Laura RS Road Test Drive

 

On paper, the Skoda Laura RS does disappoint. The engine is same as on the Laura TSI and is in the same state of tune. The engine in its entirety though was never an underpowered or slow unit, but the Laura RS should have had something special under the hood, something that could even smash the 1.8TSI of the Laura to pieces. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure, this is not any normal Laura and the sole sympathizing point I can think of is that the fuel efficiency runs make one thank Skoda for not powering this Laura with an even powerful engine.

Skoda Laura RS Test DriveWith a heavy heart, I’d like to mention that anything related to AVERAGE or EFFICIENCY might not be taken into consideration under the section Engine and Transmission this time around as the RS runs over it every time I wish to pen it down. And before proceeding further I’d like to mention that the price of petrol in Delhi has exceeded Rs.65/- mark and the car averages close to 8.5kmpl in city and nearly 12kmpl on highway only if the right foot is strictly asked to be light, as light as feather touch. For when the throttle is pressed, and pressed hard,…, forget fuel.. Period.

Kindly wear your seat belts and keep your baggage intact. You are on board on Skoda Laura RS and the flight is set to take off any time soon.

Skoda Laura RS Test DriveSkoda Laura RS Exteriors:

Everything here is big and bold. And because this is the Laura RS let’s begin with the paint job first. The car that we got to drive was in Sprint Yellow colour. The three other sporty colours available are Race Blue, Candy White and Magic Black. And the car looks as sporty in any colour as much as it looked in the Yellow hue. The best thing about the paint job is that it looks thick, as if the car has numerous layers of paint, the colour is not exceptionally bright and shiny yellow, instead it is very deep and creamy sort of yellow. So much enthralling was the shade, it’s hard to explain and one should really watch it closely to feel it.

On to the bumpers now. The front bumper gets a slick lip spoiler and a massive honeycomb mesh air dam just below the number plate that speaks volumes about the power on tap. On its each side, the air dam is surrounded by effective fog lamps and LED position lights that double up as day time running lamps, LEDs positioned closely above the fog lights. Just below the headlamps are placed retractable headlight washers to clean the headlamps when dirty. The muscular lines on the bonnet that mesh with the extreme slats of the grille continue on to the bumper and travel horizontally towards the front fenders differentiating the lower part of the bumper from the headlamp cluster and washers. The rear bumper on the RS is almost similar to the one on the Laura and the two chrome tailpipes add to the sports look of the car. The bumper gets parking sensors as reversing aid and is fitted with light reflectors for safety at night. One thing worth noticing is the fact that RS is longer in comparison to the normal Laura by almost 25mm although the wheelbase on both the cars is similar, and that means interior space remains same and length increases on the exteriors.

Skoda Laura RS Test DriveThe rear boot lid is same as on the Laura but gets sporty spoiler treatment that enhances the aggressive look of the car. RS badge on the left hand side separates the special from the normal. The tail lamps are also same as the Laura and the family C light of the Skoda dominates the cluster.

Back to the front again, and the eyebrow head lamps of the Laura look particularly aggressive in the RS version. The grille with the Skoda logo, the RS badge and chrome package gives the car a bold look. The two muscular lines beginning from the A-pillar merge on the extremes of the grille and reflect a massive engine under the hood. The lines running through the center of the bonnet merge with the Skoda logo on the grille and I’d love to name these lines as the ‘EGO LINES’ because they pump up the ego of the driver as the bulge these lines generate is clearly visible from the driving position and psychologically cast a sporty image of the car.

The side profile of the RS is again same as the Laura and lacks the sporty feel though alloys try to pump up the adrenaline. Anyways larger rims and lower profile tires would have done wonders to lessen the gap between the tires and fenders. The big ORVMs now get turn indicators on them.

From top, the sunroof adds appeal to the roof and its charm descends upon the looker as much as it does on the person sitting inside.

Overall, the car is a looker, so much so that we had to ask Skoda to avail us a body cover for it attracted too much of a crowd wherever parked. Unfortunately, or should I say fortunately, they didn’t oblige. Stares and glares became countless in no time. The car definitely makes you feel like a celeb amongst commoners and gives a thousand reasons to even the 3 pointed star owners to envy. Cheers RS!

Skoda Laura RS Test Drive

Skoda Laura RS Interiors:

The Cockpit: The most important thing here in the Laura’s cabin is the driver’s perch and everything around it. And once in the driver’s seat, you do tend to feel the world shrink around you. So let’s absorb the emotions one by one and let’s discuss everything in detail, from steering to boot.

Skoda Laura RSDoors: Till now, the experience was limited to exteriors only. The actual feel of the vehicle is best discovered from the driver’s seat. So let’s open the gate to the Common Man’s Supercar.

The doors are particularly Skoda-ish, big, heavy and thick. And the thud associated with the closing of the doors is Skoda’s forte and once closed, the feeling of cutting apart from the rest of the world is oh so evident. The front doors have warning lights that light up when opened so that getting out in dark is safe. The chrome trimmed door handles, the front speakers and window up/down controls together make for a great visual treat. The door handles with soft rubber inside for comfortable handling speaks volumes about the attention to detail. The doors are sculptured sportily and there’s enough space to carry large bottle and sunglasses in every door. The silver alloy décor with weave design on doors looks particularly crisp and luxurious.

Skoda Laura RSSeats: The preferred place to sit in the RS is the driver’s seat and this seat is one gem of a perch. Well contoured bucket seats with lumbar support and height adjust ensure perfect driving position for almost all body types. One very interesting aspect of the seat is the additional cubbyhole that it offers close to the thigh. It can easily hold a wallet, tickets or even change for that matter and is extremely useful, in fact I would term it as the best possible cubbyhole in any car. The seats come with Onyx-Grey upholstery with embroidered RS logo on them to give you a sporty feel. Even the front passenger seat is height adjustable and is equally comfortable. The leg room in front is ample and never does one feel any lack of it. The front seats are equipped with height adjustable Active Head Restraints and height adjustable three point seat belts with pre-tensioners. The rear seats too are extremely comfortable and long drives in this car are never tiring. The rear seats also come in the same Onyx-Grey upholstery for the same sporty flair. Both the front and rear seats get big elbow rests. The front arm rest can be adjusted at various heights and is big enough to rest both the driver and passenger’s elbow at the same time. The Aux-in port is also in the front armrest and so is the place for keeping phones in it. The best thing is the carpet upholstery inside for keeping the gadgets safe. The rear elbow rest comes minus the glass holder but opens up to keep papers and sheets intact. It also doubles up as access to the boot.

Skoda Laura RS Test Drive Pictures

Skoda Laura RS Dashboard & Transmission:

The silver alloy décor with weave design and onyx treatment continues on the dashboard. Like any other Skoda the dashboard with soft touch plastic feels premium. To add to the sporty flair the interiors are done in all black and Skoda has been very particular with the silver alloy treatment throughout the car. The silver alloy treatment on the door continues on the dashboard in the same line making the cabin look uniform. What it does in the process is make the car wrap around the driver and hence the car never feels too big to punt around. There’s a cubbyhole over the central A/C vents on the dashboard and one right below the A/C controls that continues on to the transmission column. The lower cubbyhole opens up with minimum effort and is brushed in complete alloy finish. This cubbyhole is carpeted in black shade and is particularly efficient to keep delicate things like mobiles safe. Aft of the gear lever is another cubbyhole to keep glasses, a power outlet, door locks reminiscent of all Skoda’s and the handbrake that is leather wrapped and amazingly weaved with silver thread.

Below the right A/C vent lie the switchgear for headlight control and next to it are placed controls for dimming the brightness of the instrument cluster. On the dashboard below it lays another cubbyhole big enough to keep even two wallets handy.

Skoda Laura RSSkoda Laura RS Steering Wheel & Instrument Cluster:

On to the two most interesting things inside the cabin. One that keeps your hands busy and other that keeps your heartbeats. It feels divine seeing those needles rotate completely before coming to rest as soon as you switch the car on, sporty, indeed. Two large dials on either side feature in the instrument cluster. On the left lies the tachometer with in-built temperature gauge. Dials are done in silver alloy finish and everything is superbly readable and clear. On the right side lies the speedometer with fuel gauge. In the centre lies the extremely clear and informative trip computer. The trip computer or the multi information display shows the travel time, distance traveled, average speed, instantaneous fuel consumption, average consumption, distance to empty, service interval, outside temperature and clock along with gear shift indicator.

Skoda Laura RSThe three spoke steering wheel is another form of art, leather wrapped and perfect to lay your hands upon. The RS Badging on the steering wheel makes very evident the sort of car you are steering. With the convenience of tilt and length adjustment, finding the best possible driving position is easy. The only sore feature and one thing that always kept me cribbing was why didn’t people at Skoda realize the necessity of steering mounted controls, especially on a vehicle that gives immense driving pleasure that keeping hands off the steering is tough. Strange! The direct rack and pinion steering system with electro mechanic power steering is great to use in city traffic and very sharp on highways, though initially the steering feels a little heavy at slow speeds but it’s never bothersome.

Skoda Laura RS Features:

Skoda Laura RSThe Skoda Laura RS is studded with some sporty and cool features. Yes, it lacks some goodies that should have been there, like the steering mounted controls, climate control, USB compatible music system, electric seat adjust and memory etc. but it’s not that the car feels stripped.

The car boasts of a wide range of design features that make it look all the more sporty like 16” Draconis alloys, chrome surround for radiator grille and chrome trim on infotainment system, steering wheel, door handles, gear shift selector and instrument dials. Front bumper with integrated spoiler, rear deck lid spoiler, polished twin exhaust pipes and ORVMs with turn indicators are some features that form the exterior kit.

Skoda Laura RS Safety Features:

Skoda Laura RSSafety features include Xenon curve projector headlamps with dynamic leveling, LED position lights, Retractable headlight washers, Front fog lights, Corner function with front fog lights, Rear fog light, Automatically dimming interior rear view mirror, External mirror defogger with timer, Rear windscreen defogger with timer, ABS, EBD, MBA (Mechanical Brake Assistant), ASR (anti slip regulation), TCS, TPM (tyre pressure monitoring), Rear parking sensors, Dual front airbags, Side airbags at front, Seatbelt pre-tensioners for front seats, Height-adjustable three-point seatbelts at front, Two Isofix child-seat preparations on outer rear seats, Underbody protective cover, Acoustic warning signal for overrun speed, fuel supply cut off in case of crash and high level third brake light.

Security features of the car include Engine immobiliser with floating code system, Security code for central infotainment system and remote control closing of door mirrors and electric sunroof.

Skoda Laura RS SunroofSkoda Laura RS Comfort Features:

The range of comfort features includes Electric sunroof with bounce-back system, Height adjustment for driver seat and front passenger seat, Lumbar support adjustment for driver and front passenger seats, Front and rear centre armrest, adjustable for length and height, SKODA audio player with touchscreen controls, 6.5 LCD TFT colour display, Integrated six-CD changer, Eight speakers, Auxiliary audio input for portable media players, SD/MMC data card reader, Adjustable rear air conditioning vents on rear centre console, Rear air conditioning vents under front seats, Leather wrapped steering wheel, handbrake and gear selector, Electrically adjustable and foldable external mirrors, one touch operation with bounce back front and rear windows and length and height adjustable steering wheel.

Skoda Laura RSSkoda Laura RS Convenience Features:

Other convenience features include Multi function information display, Automatic front wiper system with rain sensor, Boarding spot lamps, Illumination of cabin storage spaces including front glove box and compartment in front centre console, 12V power socket in centre console, 560 litres luggage compartment space and 60:40 split and completely folding rear seat backrest.

The list is exhaustive and speaks volumes about the car’s capabilities.

Skoda Laura RS EngineSkoda Laura RS Engine & Transmission:

For a car to sport the RS badge, the engine and transmission are two key areas to outshine. While the Laura RS is way ahead of all its competitors as far as power ratings go, where the sheen fades is the fact that the Laura petrol is also available with same engine specs and hence the RS presents itself as nothing more than a normal Laura with sports kit and added features. The only sympathizing point lies in the fact that India is a very fuel conservative country and the Laura petrol’s engine is itself a petrol sipper, anything powerful would have landed RS’ figures in sports car territory.

The engine is the same 1.8 Liter turbocharged unit with 4 cylinders in line placed transverse in front. Power ratings are a healthy 160 BHP at 4500-6200 RPM (yes, the engine stretches so far in the rev band) while maximum torque of 250Nm comes into play at lowly 155 RPM and stretches upto 4500RPM which are quite hefty figures for a petrol engine and it does leave behind a spectacle when pushed hard. Never ever does the car feel lacking anywhere in the powerband. Any gear, any speed, any revs, just floor the throttle and feel the horizon nearing. In fact the sound of the engine does play a sweet music only when revved hard, otherwise remains as silent as anything. And yes, one very important thing to mention is that the drive of the car in amazing in the city when steered calmly, at slow speeds too, the engine remains refined in nature and never complains. One negative side though is that the car keeps the ego levels sky high and it’s hard to keep a feather light throttle every time, especially when you see others charging at you with the intention that you would probably want to have a race. Such is the effect of yellow colour and RS badge.

Skoda Laura RSThe engine is mated to a super slick, super smooth manual 6 speed fully synchronized transmission with shorter gear throws than a normal Laura. And yes, it’s magical to operate. The ratios are well matched to the engine and the transmission is good enough to get the best out of each cubic centimeter of the engine. The shift speeds and gear throws are the best by far in any car in the segment.

The power the engine produces is phenomenal and gives heart attacks to passengers even if pushed hard with the TC (Traction Control) and ASR (Anti-Slip Regulation) on. And with the aids off, the car launches itself in a fashion unmatched by any vehicle in the class. The engine just refuses to give up and makes tires screech even when pressed hard in second gear.

And for such enigmatic engine response, the car had to have even better brakes. And the brakes are as good as any. The braking is Hydraulic dual-diagonal circuit braking that is vacuum assisted with Dual rate system, with Disc brakes with inner cooling with single/piston floating caliper in front and disc brakes at the rear. The bite in the brakes stretches the confidence level to sky. The car comes with ABS, EBD and MBA (Mechanical Brake Assistant) that keep the flying vehicle under control. And these work so effectively that you can actually smell them after a grueling session with the car.

Skoda Laura RS Ride & Suspension:

Only those who have driven the Skoda Octavia RS can tell how sports cars ride. That car was sprung stiff and gave spines a beat, though approach a corner in speed and the car responded beautifully. With that pre-conceived notion, I went to drive the RS, which it might be aching to deal with potholes. And here I am treated to the best possible surprise that Skoda could give to any driver. The suspensions are awesome. I mentioned that Rapid was sprung appropriately and Skoda had the best compromise between the ride and handling, and bang on I was. Skoda has done it again, and this time even better and in an even sportier car – Great job Skoda.

The McPherson suspension with lower triangular links and torsion stabilizer in front and multi element axle, with one longitudinal and three transverse links with torsion stabilizer at the rear do a commendable job in keeping the car composed and padding the ride at the same time. Neither does the car feel hard and nor does it feel soft, it just feels magnificent.

Though bigger wheels do help increasing the potholes, but nothing can take away the credit from the suspensions, they are simply outstanding.

Skoda Laura RS Jagdev

Skoda Laura RS Test Drive Conclusion:

The Skoda Laura RS is a very special vehicle. It does not fall under the category of normal commuting cars. The badge ‘RS’ has an aura of its own and it’ll be meaningless to compare it to the other petrol sippers in the same segment. Though RS has competition in the name of Laura petrol, and it is a fierce one. The RS is better equipped and looks sporty but then does exactly what the normal Laura does when it comes to performance. Priced at 15.49 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi, it is almost around 2 lakhs dearer than Laura 1.8 Ambiente. All in all, the normal petrol Laura Ambiente is for the ones who look out for performance but don’t want to scream the word power, while the RS is for those who wish to drive the sports cars, sports car style. The premium over the Laura that the RS charge is worth its weight in gold considering the equipment levels in RS. Had the RS been equally specced like the L&K model, an even costlier price tag would have been justified. RS is nothing short of Really Special and carries forward the traditional RS theme.

Ratings explained: The RS falls 0.5 stars short of maximum, and that is partly due to lack of some necessary features like steering controls, RS Badging on Gear selector lever and climate control and partly due to similar engines on the Laura 1.8TSI. The car gathers celebrity like attention and makes the owner feel RS (Really Special) every other way.

Skoda Laura RS Test Drive Pictures:

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