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Change begins within

An engine revamp later, the Laura priced at Rs 16.64 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai) is less noisy, more powerful, and set to fight its detractor, the Cruze.

autos Updated: May 19, 2010 13:07 IST
Rahul Kakar
Rahul Kakar
Hindustan Times

The Laura was always an easy choice when it came to buying a diesel luxury saloon. But some prospective buyers didn’t appreciate the noisy Pumpe Düse diesel engine and decided to shop somewhere else, usually at a Chevrolet showroom for a Cruze. That, coupled with the fact that 13 major cities shifted to BS IV emission norms, meant that Skoda had to put a new engine into the Laura.

Smoother, more silent ride
Now the Laura comes with the same common-rail engine that was used in the Volkswagen Passat. The 1968 cc motor makes a healthy 140 bhp. The four-cylinder unit also delivers 32 kgm of torque (pulling power). The motor is mated to a six-speed twin-clutch gearbox.

The DSG automatic gearbox works aggressively and responses to the inputs from the driver are pretty quick, ensuring you are rarely in the wrong gear.

In terms of refinement, the new common-rail unit is far quieter and smoother than the gruff and clattery Pumpe Düse motor. Power delivery is much more linear and smooth, which makes it easy to drive in the city. The throttle response is much better as well. The advantage with the new engine is that it doesn’t feel lazy at lower speeds, which was the case in the earlier car.

It will reach the 100 kph mark in 9.72 seconds, faster by 1.35 seconds than the earlier Laura. Keep the motor in the right power band and it will deliver just what you want; 20-80 kph comes up in 6.27 seconds and 40-100 kph comes in 7.93 seconds.

As far as fuel economy is concerned, even that is better than the previous version of the car — the Laura now delivers 10.1 kpl in the city and 16.2 kpl on the highway.

A few niggles still
However, some grouses remain. The stiff suspension set-up means that the Laura’s ride at slow speeds is on the firm side. But things improve as speed increases — it rides with poise and absorbs most bumps with ease, with only a few audible irregularities filtering into the cabin. Its electro-mechanical steering is light at city speeds and weights up nicely as speeds rise, providing enough feedback to the driver.

On the design front, the exterior and interiors continue to remain the same. The car still retains its tough build and good-quality interiors. The cabin is spacious and the rear seats provide generous space as well.

Skoda laura
Engine size: 2.0 (D)
Price from: Rs 13.65 lakh
Power: 140 bhp
0-100 kph: 9.72 seconds
Top speed: NA
20-80 kph kickdown: 6.27 seconds

Priced at Rs 16.64 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai), the upgraded Laura comes loaded with equipment and is the easiest choice to make in this segment.
Autocar India

First Published: May 19, 2010 12:21 IST