Amongst the broad mix of mid-sized passenger cars, the Skoda Superb is often overlooked. Its awkward design isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea and the Skoda brand – one of the world’s oldest car company – just doesn’t spring up in people’s mind when they are thinking of their next car.
But that might change with this third generation Superb, the Czech car maker’s flagship model. Available in both sedan and wagon body style, the handsome Superb is competitively priced from just $39,990 for the entry-level 162TSI, while the sole diesel offering in the range, the 140TDI, comes in at $43,990. For keener drivers, there’s the high performance all-wheel drive 206TSI at $50,990, too. All stickers are before on-road costs.
Design and Comfort
One cannot deny that the new Superb is a superbly good looking car. Bold lines, sharp creases and perfect proportions contribute to a properly modern and upmarket look that is sure to age well.
The design is said to take inspiration from Czech crystal glasswork, which emphasises delicate but bold styling.
It’s just as impressive on the inside. A combination of sleek design, huge space and good ergonomics make the Superb’s cabin one of the segment’s best, and it’s more than a match for the Volkswagen Passat, on which it is based.
Its pleasant to the touch soft plastics extend to the centre console and even door pockets – not even the Passat can lay claim to that.
There’s a real premium ambience to the interior, matched with thoughtful designs such as the ingenious umbrella that slots smoothly in and out of a special compartment in both front doors, and the grippy front cup holders that allow you to unscrew bottle tops with one hand. There are plenty of clever storage compartments around the cabin and the door pockets are deep, thick and lined with soft carpet.
Skoda has also finally ditched the 70’s style green backlighting, replacing it with classier white ones. But for those who miss the green light, they can still be called up via the mood lighting around the cabin.
All seats are comfortable with excellent support. Room in the front is generous but the rear is just as capacious. Measuring 30mm longer and 50mm wider than the previous model, the new Superb boasts more headroom for all occupants and a wider rear bench that can accommodate three adults quite comfortably.
The Superb’s boot space of 625 litres (660 litres for wagon) is more than any of its rivals. But more impressive is the sedan’s hatch-style opening, giving the boot a real boost in usability. Tumble the 60/40 split folding rear seats and the space expands to a voluminous 1,760 litres (1,950 litres in the wagon), which again dwarfs the competition.
Performance and Handling
Three engine options are on offer in Australia, including two TSI turbo petrol units and a TDI turbo diesel. All powertrains are mated with a 6-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission, with the 162TSI and 140TDI in front wheel drive configuration, while the 206TSI comes standard with the electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch coupling all-wheel drive system.
We were supplied the 162kW/350Nm 162TSI and 140kW/400Nm 140TDI models for this review.
The 2.0-litre turbocharged four petrol is essentially transplanted from the Golf GTI. Like its hot hatch cousin, the engine is muscular with almost zero lag. Plant your foot on the throttle and it even respond with a nice induction noise, not dissimilar to the GTI’s, only not as loud.
The DSG’s shift points aren’t as aggressively tuned as the GTI’s but it matches the Superb’s more refined, grand tourer role.
For those looking for extended range and more torque, the 140TDI is a compelling alternative. Not only does it pull stronger in the midrange, it’s also a better match for the dual clutch transmission, with less ‘slippage’ on take off and smoother shifts.
The diesel is refined in all proceedings but it does pipe some clatter into the cabin, although it’s far from intrusive.
Tipping the scale at around 1.5 tonne, the Superb is relatively lightweight for a large car and thus strikes a fine balance between comfort and handling. The new model is the Skoda’s first to offer Adaptive Chassis Control, including Driving Mode Selection.
Around the bends it impresses with sure-footed dynamics, delivering excellent grip and body control. The steering is suitably relaxed but still allows for a tidy steer. The slightly larger and heavier wagon is just as capable in straightening the corners.
The Superb’s ride quality and smoothness around town rivals even the top shelf German premium saloons. It does a pretty remarkable job in smoothing out bumps and ruts on our crumbling roads. And on the freeway, it’s just sublime. Munching away freeway miles in utmost refinement and quietness.
The new model is a big step up in perceived quality compared to before. While it wears the less coveted green finned arrow badge, the Skoda Superb is every bit as well made as its German cousin that is the Volkswagen Passat.
External gaps are tight and well aligned while the doors close with an assuring thud. On the inside there are soft-touch plastics on the dashboard and everything you feel and touch has good tactile sensation, though there were some slight rattling in the centre console of the diesel model when piling on the revs.
The Superb is the 2nd Skoda model to be based on VW Group’s tried and tested modular MQB platform, which forms the basis of many Volkswagen Group cars.
Skoda claims the Superb 162TSI consumes as low as 6.4L/100km and the 140TDI sips a hybrid-like 4.8L/100km on the combined cycle.
At the end of our week long test the 162TSI’s trip computer records 7.6L/100km, while the diesel returned a reading of 7.0L/100km, which admittedly involved spending a considerable of their time in rush hour slog.
On the freeway, the diesel wafts along around 4.0L/100km, which is impressively thrifty for a large car.
Standard features are generous across the 162TSI and 140TDI range. They include three-zone climate control, 8 speaker 6.5-inch LCD infotainment system with satellite navigation and Apple Carplay / Andriod Auto, leather steering wheel, leather/suede upholstery, rear window blinds, adaptive cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and Bi-Xenon headlights.
It’s just as extensive on the safety front. All models come with Electronic Stability Control including Multi-Collision Brake, Front Assist with City Emergency Brake, Rear View Camera, Fatigue Detection, Passenger Protect Assist, electronic Tyre Pressure Monitoring, nine airbags, five three-point automatic seat belts with fastening alerts, , front and rear parking sensors, as well as safety headrests. XDL, an enhanced function of the electronic differential lock, also comes as standard.
Three optional packages are offered.
Available for both 162TSI and 140TDI Superb models, the Image Pack adds 19-inch Anthracite alloy wheels, keyless entry and start and alarm, Driving Mode Selection, LED interior ambient lighting, steering wheel gearshift paddles and 15mm lowered sports suspension. These features are standard on the 206TSI Superb 4×4.
In combination with the Image Pack fitted to 162TSI and 140TDI models, the optional Tech Pack adds a host of assistance and convenience systems to the new Superb. These include: The third-generation Automatic Parking Assist system, Lane Assist, Side Assist – Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Traffic Jam Assist, Emergency Assist, the Virtual Pedal hands-free tailgate system and a premium 12 speaker Canton sound system. This package can also be added to 206TSI, which already feature the Image Pack as standard equipment.
Further adding exclusivity and practicality to the new Superb, the optional Comfort Pack adds: perforated leather-appointed seat upholstery (available in beige or black), front ventilated seats with cooling function, rear heated seats, and a front passenger seat that can be electrically adjusted from the rear.
Design and Comfort: 9.0/10
Performance and Handling: 8.5/10
Equipment and Features: 8.0/10
With handsome looks, huge interior space, a generous standard feature list and efficient powertrains, the third generation Skoda Superb is really nothing short of superb. If you’re looking for a large family car with a premium feel at an affordable price, be sure not to look past the new Superb this time.
- Benchmark interior space
- Efficient drivetrain
- Exemplary ride quality
- Sharp pricing
- Diesel sounds a little gruff
- Badge perception
- Poor resale value
2016 Skoda Superb Price and Specification
|Price (excluding on-roads):||From $39,990|
$43,190* (162TSI Sedan)
$45,690** (140TDI Wagon)
Image Pack and Comfort Pack
|Warranty:||3 years/unlimited km|
|Country of Origin:||Czech Republic|
|Service Intervals:||12 months/15,000km|
|Engine:||162TSI: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol: 162kW @ 6,200rpm, 350Nm @ 1,500-4,400rpm|
140TDI: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel: 140kW @ 4,000rpm, 400Nm @ 1,750-3,250rpm
|Transmission:||6-speed dual clutch automatic|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||162TSI: Claimed: 6.4 / Tested: 7.6|
140TDI: Claimed: 4.8 / Tested: 7.0
|Ron Rating:||162TSI: 95 Premium ULP|
|Fuel Capacity (L):||66|
|0-100km/h (Seconds)||162TSI: Claimed: 7.1|
T40TDI: Claimed: 7.8
|Body:||4 door sedan, 5 seats|
5 door wagon. 5 seats
|Safety:||5-star ANCAP, 7 airbags, Front Assist with City Emergency Brake, Rear View Camera, Fatigue Detection, Passenger Protect Assist, electronic Tyre Pressure Monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, DSC, TCS, ABS, EBD, EBA|
|Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:||4,861 (wagon 4,856) / 1,864 / 1,468 (wagon 1,477) / 2,841|
|Kerb Weight (kg):||1,463 – 1,540|
|Entertainment:||6.5-inch infotainment system, Apple Carplay / Andriod Auto, Bluetooth, USB, navigation, 8-speakers|
Competitors: Volkswagen Passat, Ford Mondeo, Mazda6, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, Hyundai i40, Kia Optima, Peugeot 508, Holden Malibu, Subaru Liberty
Skoda Superb 162TSI Sedan
Skoda Superb 140TDI Wagon