Design and Engineering
The Superb is a classy, restrained design that thankfully eskews many of today’s over styled design traits such as supersized wheelarches and dramatic cutlines on every panel. The clever dual opening boot / hatch – yes, you can open just the boot or the useful large hatch, means it’s a legitimate and more than worthy competitor to the extremely fashionable SUV.
The Superb’s narrower width than its competitors, as it’s based on the platform of smaller vehicles in the Volkswagen Group and basically has a stretched wheelbase, means it’ll never look sporty (however to be true we think sportiness is a goal that is ranked higher in importance by marketing departments than we always wish).
You’ll struggle to find a classier interior for the same money – the surfaces feel premium to touch and the build quality is excellent; upper grades feature beautifully soft leather and real wood trim that actually looks real (of which a number of competitors could learn from); the dash design is cleanly and logically arranged and the small diameter steering wheel feels just right. Rear seat legroom embarrasses any SUV, and the cargo space is equally large. It might be classified as a large sedan; however for rear seat legroom it’ll even give limousines a run for their money. For carrying huge loads the rear seat fold down. We found the unique sedan / hatch dual opening very useful – a couple of bags of shopping means just open the boot with the key fob or throwing a bike in the back, open the big vertically opening hatch.
The narrower cabin width means less shoulder room for three adults in the rear (however, for most of the target market this should not a key buying criteria factor); rear visibility is slightly diminished due to the sloping hatch design; the V6 grade makes do with a space saver spare tyre.
Skoda is at the head of the trend line here. A 4 cylinder 1.8L engine in a vehicle of this size might be scoffed at but only a fool would dismiss it as the specs show that this combination is by no means slow. The 2.0L turbo diesel is anther environmentally friendly choice and even the naturally aspirated 3.6L petrol engine’s fuel economy figures are entirely reasonable for the enjoyable, growly performance on offer. As usual Volkswagen’s DSG (dual clutch) automatic gearboxes work well.
The V6 prefers premium unleaded and it’s fuel economy is similar to its large V6 powered sedan competitors, however far better than large sized petrol powered SUV’s.
Ride and Handling
The handling is very impressive for a vehicle of this size yet the ride still stays refined. The all wheel drive system in the range topping V6 variant means traction all year round – no matter what the weather.
The track is narrower than some, so handling is good rather than brilliant. It’ll never be as fun to drive as say a V8 powered Commodore if you want to be a larikan.
Buying and Owning
Restrained colours such as burgundy suit the Superb’s elegant lines. We liked how the interior lights up when unlocking the car at night – surely the Volkswagen Group spend more money here than competitors – as it just feels more special than most. Safety comes as standard with nine airbags, ABS brakes and electronic stability control on all grades.
We don’t understand the trend as the Superb is… well…is almost Superb, however the facts are that at this price point, Australians overwhelming choose to buy SUV’s over large sedans. Add the factor that Skoda is a new brand in Australia (this time around at least) and we can only presume that resale won’t be industry leading.
For once believe the marketing name, the Superb is a very fine car; beautiful interior ambience; rear seat legroom; huge cargo space; clever engines.
A touch conservative in design; expected depreciation.
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