We’ve previously given AC Motors hints on how to make its product catalogue more appealing to Filipino buyers. Aside from importing FAW-Volkswagen models like the Sagitar, we think that bringing in Skoda for budget-conscious clientele might just work. And the Czech automaker has just launched the Slavia, designed and built in its home market of India.
At just over 4.5m long, the Slavia is slightly longer than the Toyota Vios, which makes it a viable contender in the popular subcompact segment. And as far as sedans go, this thing is quite a looker with a large version of Skoda’s signature slatted grille. The range-topping model shown here is dressed to impress with subtle chrome accents, two-tone alloy wheels, and an interesting 3D-effect trim on the light clusters.
Based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform tailored for the Indian market, the Slavia’s rear legroom looks quite generous. Passenger comfort is further enhanced with optional rear air-conditioning vents and ventilated front seats. Again, the top-of-the-line trim level boasts high-tech toys like a fully digital instrument cluster and a 10-inch infotainment display with smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Skoda Play Apps.
Nissan’s turbocharged Almera could meet its match in the Slavia’s 1.0-liter TSI engine. It boasts a rather healthy 113hp and 175Nm, and is mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. While that should suffice in the Philippines, Indian buyers can get a larger 1.5-liter TSI unit that can be paired with a seven-speed DSG, making good use of its 148hp and 250Nm. Both engines come with a start-stop feature to save fuel.
But perhaps the biggest reason why selling the Slavia here is worth a shot is that the vehicle is built in India. Customers will be naturally averse to anything made in China, but they are less likely to walk away from a car that is manufactured in India. And given the popularity of models like the Hyundai Eon and the Suzuki S-Presso, we think that an attractively priced Slavia will be a big hit.
And speaking of pricing, Skoda hasn’t revealed it yet. But the similarly sized Rapid starts at 779,000 Indian rupees (P528,000), so the Slavia really has a fighting chance in the Philippines.