Skoda Superb review: A day spent in luxury
Skoda Superb has always been an impressive sedan with its wide repertoire of skills. Skoda has recently updated its flagship model in India and we spent some time with it to see how things have improved. Current generation Superb made its international debut in 2008. While work on the next generation car has already begun, Skoda has given Superb a midlife refresh to keep it going until the replacement arrives. So, what’s new in 2014 Skoda Superb?
Body and Styling: New Superb adopts Skoda’s latest corporate design that first made its production debut in third generation Octavia. This new design language is characterised by clean lines which gives the car an understated elegance.
Most prominent change in the front fascia of Superb facelift is its grille which has more pronounced angles. The new black and silver Skoda logo gets promoted to the bonnet, which is slightly reprofiled to match the redesigned grille.
Shape of headlamps remains unchanged, but detailing is all-new. New Superb gets bi-xenon headlamp units with washers (only on top end Elegance trim), stylish LED turn indicators and ofcourse integrated LED daytime running lights.
Superb facelift’s revised bumper unites the secondary air-dam and fog-lamp enclosures while the sleek chrome strip gives a sense of a wider car. With its long wheelbase and no-nonsense sheet metal design, new Superb remains pretty much unchanged in profile save for the new 10-spoke ‘Helix’ alloy wheels.
Compared to what was seen on previous Superb, Skoda’s designers have done a very good job this time around, as far as rear look is concerned. Visual bulk of Superb’s massive boot lid is efficiently masked by relocating its license-plate enclosure from the bumper. Apart from this, redesigned two-part tail-lights employ LED detailing which looks fantastic at night although the shape of these illuminated strips remind us of Jaguar XF (when viewed in absolute darkness).
Overall, the Superb facelift successfully manages to look fresher and more mature while still being instantly recognisable as a Skoda. Considering that it’s just a minor facelift, dimensions remain unchanged. Length, width and height of Superb stays at 4833 mm, 1817 mm, and 1429 mm respectively. It has a wheelbase of 2761 mm and a ground clearance of 140 mm.
Interiors and comfort: New three-spoke steering wheel is the only thing that is visibly new inside the cabin, but we are not complaining. Superb’s cabin already scores high on functionality, comfort and quality, giving Skoda no reasons to tweak it, especially when the next gen model is not far off.
Skoda Superb’s cabin is still a great place to be. Inside you will find dual-tone beige/black dashboard with faux wooden strip, chrome surrounded AC vents and beige leather upholstery are well in-line with our definition of premium interior.
Skoda Superb’s touchscreen display in the centre console now supports a better Bolero audio system (we were impressed by its audio quality) which comes with CD changer and Bluetooth telephony. Top-end variant gets dual-zone climate control along with B-pillar mounted vents for rear passengers (standard feature across all variants). Rear passengers also get a 12V socket which is mounted behind the front armrest.
The electrically adjustable driver seats (it has lumbar adjustment too) and tilt & telescopic steering make it easy for all type of persons to find a comfortable driving position. Except for indicator and wiper stalks, which adopt the LHD configuration, ergonomics are pretty impressive.
Superb’s front seats are supportive and offer good levels of comfort. There is enough leg, knee, head and shoulder rooms for everyone. Rear is where the Superb’s USP lies. There is more legroom than you will ever need and its seats offer near perfect amount of cushion, thigh support and inclination. The middle seat doubles up as armrest which houses a pair of cup holders and a small storage compartment.
Fit and Finish: This is a department where Skoda cars in general excel and new Superb is no exception. Its material quality is top notch and the build, both inside and out, is absolutely solid. Everything you operate has a tactile feel to it. Superb facelift’s cabin feels like that of a much more expensive car.
Equipment: Skoda Superb facelift luxury sedan is equipped with Adaptive Fronglight System, Parktronic front and rear park distance control, 8 airbags, ABS, ESC, electronic differential lock, anti-slip regulation, hill-hold function, Keyless entry start and exit system with Start/Stop button.
Driving and performance: New Superb has no changes under its hood whatsoever. We drove the diesel version which is equipped with a 2.0-litre TDI motor which produces 140 PS of power and 320 Nm of torque. This engine is known for its torquey, yet frugal nature is mated to a 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. Apart from this, buyers also have option of a petrol 1.8l TSI that generates 158 bhp. This one is available with both 6-speed manual and 7 speed DSG auto.
Like all VW Group TDI units, this one too has a diesel clatter that is audible, at all time, more so when the motor is idling. However, it doesn’t sound all that bad when you are pushing the car! This engine has a very good torque build up and it motor revs all the way upto redline without complaining but shifting a wee bit short produces better results.
New Superb’s DSG gearbox executes quick and smooth gearshifts on most occasions. You get tip-tronic function and steering mounted paddle shifters if you’re game for a more involving driving experience. The transmission is quite happy to drop a couple of gears as soon as it detects your throttle-foot go down. It takes a bit of getting used to but once you settle into a rhythm, the gearbox reads your mind via your right foot! If at all the motor has a slight turbo-lag, transmission does a good job of nullifying it.
0-100 kmph comes under 12 seconds for new Superb and it can effortlessly manage serious triple digit cruising speeds for hours together. While we didn’t get a chance to arrive at an accurate fuel economy, our rough calculation indicates an FE of about 12 kmph which is quite impressive given that we were either belting the car or using it in busy city traffic.
Ride and handling: Superb facelift is a generously proportioned car which automatically makes one skeptical about its handling prowess, but it shatters your prejudice in the very first corner itself! New Superb’s suspension strikes a near-perfect balance between ride and handling. Its straight line stability is exemplary and so is the ride quality at all speeds. Indian road’s regular bumps and undulations simply pass unfelt.
New Superb facelift can actually be chucked around the corners like a hot hatchback. There is body roll, but it is limited. Ofcourse the tires howl in protest and sometimes, the rear end threatens to step away but before things get really out of control new Superb is already out of the corner. That electro-mechanical steering with great feel and feedback definitely deserves a special mention.
You simply can’t help but utter the car’s name while exiting the corners!
Verdict: New Skoda Superb is one of those rare cars that appeal both to your head and heart. It’s efficient, well built, equipment rich and can be enjoyed equally while driving, as well as while resting on its rear seats. The facelift has kept Superb’s positive traits intact while giving the overall package a fresh appeal.
It is perfect for those who want a really big luxury car, where they can be cocooned in infinite luxury space and driven around by a chauffeur, like the expensive German cars, but at a fraction of a price.
One other thing, if you’re listening Skoda, we would like a more refined diesel engine in the next generation model. And kindly leave its steering system untouched!
Price:Launched back in February, price and model range of new Skoda Superb is as follows;
Skoda Superb Ambition 1.8 TSI MT – Rs 18.87 lakh
Skoda Superb Elegance 1.8 TSI MT – Rs 20.65 lakh
Skoda Superb Elegance 1.8 TSI AT – Rs 22.27 lakh
Skoda Superb Ambition 2.0 TDI AT – Rs 23.43 lakh
Skoda Superb Elegance 2.0 TDI AT – Rs 25.20 lakh
Ex-showroom, New Delhi.