Skoda Superb Review
Car Tested: 2014 Skoda Superb Facelift
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 22.56 – 30.87 lakhs
The Superb still has the best rear seat in the segment with the new Skoda design language making it look young and athletic.
The Skoda Superb is the flagship model for the Czech manufacturer. Skoda launched the first generation Superb in 2004 which became quite popular in the executive saloon segment. Based on the long wheelbase Passat platform, the Superb was the first choice for those who preferred to be driven around. The second generation Superb was launched in 2009 and was an improved version of the previous generation model retaining all the good bits with additional features and a more aesthetic design. The new model was well received in the market and was known for its ultra comfortable rear bench with sharp driving dynamics. After nearly 4 years, Skoda decided to incorporate elements from its new design language, which was first seen in the new Octavia. Hence, the Skoda Superb underwent cosmetic surgery and came out not only younger, but fresher and sportier. We drive the new Superb facelift and find out if it really feels that fresh.
Motor Quest: The Superb is Skoda’s flagship model which first made its debut in 1934 and sold until 1949. The brand was revived in 2001 under the VW group with the introduction of the first generation modern Superb. The 2014 Superb is a facelift of the second generation model.
Exteriors – Skoda has tastefully injected the Superb with its latest design DNA. Naturally, the majority of the difference is seen on the exteriors. Similar to the new Octavia, the front now gets the characteristic ‘butterfly’ grille with sharp character lines and a nice sculpted nose, at the end of which sits the new chrome and black logo. The front grille is now wider which allows for a wider lower air intake. The chrome surrounds on the grille add a touch of class. Also new is the headlamp assembly which now incorporates Bi-Xenon adaptive front light system with cornering function and C-shaped daytime running LED lights (made up of 20 LEDs). Parallel to the daytime running lamps are C-shaped side indicators made up of 7 yellow LED lights. The top of the line Elegance trim also gets headlamp washers as seen with the outgoing model. The fog lamps are revised too along with a reshaped side fender.
The side profile has minimal changes and one can instantly notice the new 16-inch 10-spoke helix alloy wheels. Even the hub caps sport the new Skoda logo. Chrome moulding around the windows again adds a premium touch to the side profile, which is otherwise pretty much unaltered.
The rear profile has undergone the maximum change. New to the Skoda Superb are LED tail lamps which seem to be taken right from the Audi factory. They definitely do their job in making the Superb look sharper and sportier. The rear dividing line has been taken lower and the number plate has now moved to the boot lid from the bumper, making the rear look completely redesigned. Similar to the front, the new Skoda logo sits comfortably on the boot with Skoda and Superb lettered in the new font on the lower left and right side respectively. You will also notice a new rear spoiler and reflective lights on either side of the bumper. Skoda has reintroduced Brilliant Silver in the Superb lineup with two additional new colours, Metal Grey and Magnetic Brown, the latter being the signature colour for this model. The base, Ambition trim also gets rear LED tail lamps and the same 10-spoke Helix alloy wheels.
Interiors – Step inside and high quality interiors greet you. Fit, finish and quality of the materials used is top notch. There are very few changes in the facelifted version over the outgoing model. Keeping in sync with the times, Skoda now offers push button engine start on the Superb facelift. Skoda has also done away with the 4-spoke steering wheel and replaced it with a new 3-spoke multifunctional steering wheel. It’s now a tad bit smaller and sleeker, housing various buttons for making life easier on the go. Both the automatic versions (1.8 TSI and 2.0 TDI) get paddle shifters for those who want an occasional dose of fun behind the wheel.
The Superb is available in two trim levels, Ambition and Elegance. Skoda has now loaded the base, Ambition variant with more features than before. It now gets the same 6.5-inch, colour touchscreen Bolero audio unit with a 6 CD changer, SD card slot and MMC along with Bluetooth telephone connectivity. 12 speakers lead to an impressive audio output. However, there is no USB port, which is a shocking omission at this price point. Also in the missing list is reversing camera but sensors are present.
The seats are comfortable and the Superb has always had the best rear seat in the segment and it’s no different in this 2014 facelift. Abundant legroom makes it an ideal car for those who adorn the rear seat on most occasions. The dual zone air conditioner cools well and rear vents are placed on the B-pillar. There is no temperature control for the rear seat. Boot space is a generous 565-litres and can be increased to 1700-litres by folding the rear seat. The boot can be opened both hatch and sedan style.
Performance – The Skoda Superb comes with two engine options. Both are the same tried and tested 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TDI (which is the VW Group’s favourite engine) and produce the same power and torque too. The 1.8-litre TSI produces 160 PS of peak power at 4500-6200 RPM generating 250 NM of maximum torque at 1500-4500 RPM. Torque comes in quite low at 1500 RPM making overall drivability fantastic. Mated to this engine is an option of a 6-speed manual transmission and a 7-speed dual clutch DSG automatic. Power delivery is linear with a strong mid and high range. The DSG has tiptronic function which allows you to use it as a manual. Sport mode and paddle shifts on the steering can spice things up when required.
The 2.0-litre TDI punches out 140 horses at 4200 RPM and 320 NM of torque between 1750-2500 RPM. This engine only comes mated to a 6-speed DSG transmission and is quite practical on the road. Torque comes in quite low at 1750 RPM and thus city drivability is quite good. Even on the highway, cruising at high speeds is not a problem due to the tall sixth gear. In both the automatic versions, the DSG seemed a tad bit slow as compared to the new Octavia, possibly due to the additional weight of the vehicle.
Driving Dynamics – All Skoda cars are extremely fun when you are behind the wheel and the Superb is no different. The underpinnings of the 2014 Superb are identical to the old model, which means the driving dynamics are identical. Even though the Superb’s primary USP is the rear seat, it is still very involving to drive. The steering feels well connected at high speeds and it loves to tackle corners. High speed stability is fantastic too. Those who like to enjoy the comfort of the rear seat will enjoy the ride quality which is compliant on pretty much all surfaces. Skoda has managed to get the balance spot on and the Superb boasts of fabulous ride and handling. Brakes are good and in spite of the weight, stopping power is good and is enhanced by the presence of all four discs. Additionally ABS and ESP help in keeping you on the road in slippery conditions. The Superb, in the Elegance trim, also gets hill hold function.
Verdict – The 2014 Skoda Superb now looks fresh, young and athletic with the new design language flaunting itself perfectly. To be launched at the 2014 Auto Expo, the Superb is undoubtedly the best seller in the given segment and the facelift has come at a time when age was beginning to catch up with the design. Skoda claims that nearly 50% cars sold are with the diesel engine and that makes it the monopoly for the Superb since the competition does not have a diesel option barring the Volkswagen Passat, which hardly does any numbers. The Hyundai Sonata and the Toyota Camry are only available in petrol avatar. Besides, the Superb’s rear seat is unmatched and that makes a strong case in its favour. The next generation Superb is in the works and will be based on the new MQB platform and should come to India by 2016, until then, the 2014 Skoda Superb will continue to shine in its segment.
The 2014 Skoda Superb not only looks fresh but also has the best rear seat in the segment. It is also the only car, in its class, sold with a diesel powerplant which makes it the pick of the segment.
* New design language
* New 3-spoke steering wheel
* Push button start
What’s Not So Cool
* No USB port
* Interiors feel slightly dated
* No reversing camera
Alternatives: Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Passat
2014 Skoda Superb Specifications
* Engine: 1798cc turbocharged petrol; 1968cc turbocharged diesel
* Power: 160 HP @ 4500-6200 RPM (Petrol); 140 HP @ 4200 RPM (Diesel)
* Torque: 250 Nm @ 1500-4500 RPM (Petrol); 320 Nm @ 1750-2500 RPM (Diesel)
* Transmission: 6 speed manual (1.8 TSI), 7-speed DSG (1.8 TSI); 6 speed DSG (2.0 TDI)
* Top Speed: 230 km/hr (est,)
* Fuel Consumption: 7-9 km/l (1.8 TSI); 10-12 km/l (2.0 TDI)
* Fuel Type: Petrol; Diesel
* Suspension: McPherson suspension with lower triangular links and torsion stabiliser (Front), Multi-element axle, with one longitudinal and three transverse links, with torsion stabiliser (Rear)
* Tyres: 205/55/16 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Disc (Rear)
* Safety: ABS, EBD, TCS, ESP, ASR, TPM, 8 Airbags, Park Distance Control
2014 Skoda Superb Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 4833 mm X 1817 mm X 1482 mm
* Wheelbase: 2761 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.4 metres
* Ground clearance: 159 mm
* Boot Volume: 565 liters
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres
* Kerb Weight: 1598 kgs (1.8 TSI AT); 1644 kgs (2.0 TDI)