Skoda Superb Hatchback First Drive & Performance

Skoda Superb Overview

Before the review, a superb story, of the Czech carmaker Skoda. Apparently, it was Milos Zeman—then prime minister of Czech Republic—who, not happy at having to use a German car for official duties, prompted Prague to initiate plans for a top saloon to slot in above Skoda Octavia. At that time, the Octavia was the biggest car in the company portfolio, but it was perhaps not fit for a national leader. What the PM wanted was a stretched Octavia, but since the Octavia, in a way, is already a stretched version of the smaller Volkswagen Golf, creating a limousine out of it was asking a bit much. However, what could be provided was a stretched Volkswagen Passat, and such a vehicle had already been created for the Chinese market. All the Czechs then had to do was to Skoda-ise it. That’s how the modern Superb was born. Skoda Superb in Tryaldrive

Skoda Superb Design & Style

Extensively redesigned now, the Skoda Superb is sharper to look at. It’s based on the vision C concept showcased at the Geneva motor show 2014 and does not depart much from the concept style. The saloon feels big enough to take on the likes of BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and almost indistinguishable from the old car.The modern looking grille along with the completely new headlamps and taillights appear totally in line with the new design theme that we earlier saw on the Skoda Octavia. The car is based on the modular MQB platform and weighs 75kg less than the car it replaces. The list of Skoda Superb colours on offer includes Candy White, Magnetic Brown Metallic, Black Magic Pearl Effect and Business Grey Metallic.

Skoda Superb Cabin & Comfort

The niche that the old Superb carved for itself just under the premium sedan market is thanks not only to its large cabin but was also down to luxurious interiors. With the new car Skoda have gone even more upmarket and the interior is high on quality and craftsmanship. The soft touch plastics on the upper portion of the dashboard lends it class and subtle use of chrome in key areas liven up the cabin. The dials, switchgear and infotainment are all recognisable, both in appearance and positioning. The driving position is elevated, but not upsettingly so, and instrumentation is superbly clear. The only downside is that the dashboard design and most of the switches are shared with the cheaper Octavia.

At the front the large seats are very comfortable and the well contoured backrest keeps you into place. The host of steering and seat adjustment lets you find your ideal driving position quite easily. At the rear the kneeroom is just phenomenal and even the Great Khali and the Big Show will have enough room to have a wrestling match in here. What they won’t like though is that the seat squab is bit too short and underthigh support could have been more generous. But other than that there are no reasons to complain and the Superb can rival cars five times its price for comfort. The wider cabin also means the third rear passenger has enough width to be more comfortable than before. But like the old car the occupant of the middle perch will have their feet astride a sizable transmission tunnel. But atleast there there’s enough shoulder room for it to be bearable.

Skoda Superb Engine & Gearbox

The Superb retains the choice of powertrains – a 1.8 litre TSI turbo petrol, which I absolutely love, and a 2-litre diesel, which obviously will be the more popular pick. The high revving TSI turbo petrol is a sweet sounding engine. Although there’s just a bit of lag initially, the moment you get past 2000rpm, it just pulls through sweetly all the way to 7000rpm – in an almost sports car like manner. But unlike the Octavia, the 1.8 litre engine does not get the added 20PS boost in power as max power remains at 160PS. And herein lies a small contradiction – the Octavia gets 20 PS more power, but doesn’t get paddle shifters, while the Superb does, so what would Skoda call more of a driver’s car?

The Superb also retains the dual clutch DSG gearbox which is right up there amongst the best gearboxes in the world. Just as you’re heading into a corner ready to shift down, or you’re hitting the redline ready to shift up, the second clutch already has the gear change prepped and the precision and speed just makes a torque convertor seem like something from the stone age. The diesel gets a 6-speed automatic while the petrol gets a 7-speed autobox. The manual option stays only with the petrol.

Skoda Superb Ride & Handling

Where the old Skoda Superb had the ability to really surprise you with its agility despite its humongous size, the new one unfortunately has no surprises in store and it feels big and in some ways cumbersome to drive. The biggest disappointment is the steering, which simply doesn’t feel as precise as the old car anymore. It’s got a dead zone around the straight-ahead position and it simply misses the feel that the old car had. Skoda has also gone for a much softer setup and as a result the new Superb rolls considerably more and it feels like a heavy car too. On the plus side, the wide Hankook tyres provide loads of grip and confidence. Don’t be mistaken, the Superb is not a bad handling car, but it doesn’t feel as willing or as nimble as the old one.

On the contrary, the ride has taken a step in the right direction and the old car’s stiff-kneed low-speed ride is replaced by a plush one and soft suspension dismisses the biggest of potholes with ease. But at higher speeds the Superb does tend to pitch and bounce especially over uneven surfaces and it feels best when driven at moderate speeds.

Skoda Superb Braking & Safety

Highlights of the equipment list on the Style variant are keyless entry, a 6.5-inch colour touch screen infotainment system, leather seats, electric driver seat and bi-xenon headlamps with curve light assistant. Buyers also get eight airbags, multi collision brake, parking sensors with camera and dual-zone climate control. Unique additions to the L&K variant are the three-zone climate control, electric boot lid, boss button (front passenger seat position electrically controlled from rear seat), cooled front seats, fatigue detection and a virtual pedal (contact free access for the boot).

Skoda Superb Price in Mumbai

Skoda Superb Ex-Showroom Price in Mumbai ranges from 25,07,039/- (Superb Style 1.8 TSI MT) to 32,39,587/- (Superb L and K 2.0 TDI AT). Get best offers for Skoda Superb from Skoda Dealers in Mumbai. Check for Superb price in Mumbai at Carzprice

Skoda Superb Bottomline

For Rs 23.83 lakh for the entry-level manual model, the Superb remains as value-for-money as it always was. It gets features comparable to mid-size luxury cars, is a size bigger than them, and comes at about 30% less price. Its only true competitor right now is Toyota Camry, and in the months to come it will face competition from the new Honda Accord. But the way the Superb has established itself in the segment, we doubt it will lose its leadership position any time soon.

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