i have been self driving my Skoda since feb 2003, over 4 years. i have loved this car, the driving quality, pick up, handling etc is impeccable, and gives a very solid sturdy feel. i find the sound system is very good, though some people do complain that it lacks in deep base quality. the boot space is excellant, 2 entire bicycles fit in easily once i fold the rear seat, as when i go to my farmhouse. optionally i have once travelled with a couple sleeping in the boot, once the seats were folded down making a space 6 feet deep! the front seats ofcourse are very comfy, and adjust to a gr8 degree. the bumper is excellant, i have had small scuffles with autos and even after i have been hit fairly hard the damage to the bumper has been minimal.
The AC gave me problems in the first year itself, and 2 visits to Skoda didnt help any, apparantly much later i found out that the default mode was exhaust , so outside air would come in all the time, which may be ok if u are driving in the hills, but useless for our harsh summers. a local car mechanic "rectified" the problem by permanantly shutting off the exhaust feature which solved the problem , and after which the AC is fantastic.( i dont know if everyone has had this problem with the climacteric AC, or is it only me).
Furthur every service (free) would cost over RS 5000, as the diesel would be changed along with the air pump/fuel pump. aslo evry monsoon would require new wipers. also in heavy rains there is some leakage of water into the cabin, and again skoda were charging exorbitantly to repair this, my local mechanic solved it with some regular sealant, and the last monsoon was no problem. after 4 years my electronics are giving a little problem, the cabin lights are flickering off and on, and i think the fuel pump is also giving problems. the tyres, tubeless, radials, have barely lasted 25000 km, basically city driving and have needed to be replaced.
having driven for 4 years + i am overall very satisfied with my skoda, but i just had to point out the drawbacks which i have faced, are my problems alone or unique?, i dont know, that u can decide for yrself. my next car based on my experience will NOT be the Laura, i will probably go in for a Honda, accord maybe?