Skoda Superb Review
Skoda recently launched the Ambition variants of the Superb, which are priced Rs. 1.8 lakhs cheaper than the Elegance variants. The Skoda Superb Ambition Diesel Automatic is priced at Rs. 27.07 lakhs, while the Ambition petrol manual is priced at Rs. 21.13 lakhs (all prices on-road, Mumbai). We have already reviewed the Skoda Superb earlier (link to review) and will keep this review limited to the Ambition variant. So is the entry-level Skoda Superb worth buying? Lets find out.
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As far as the exteriors go, the only difference between the Ambition and Elegance variants are the alloy wheels and chrome cover for the headlight washers as there is no headlight washers on the Ambition variant. The Superb Ambition sports 16-inch 5-spoke Moon alloy wheels, while the Elegance variant sports 16-inch 7-spoke Spectrum alloy wheels. We like the 5-spoke alloy wheels better in terms of design and appeal. The other non-visible changes are the halogen projector headlights (the Elegance has bi-xenons) and the lack of Adaptive Front-light System in the Ambition variants. Even in the lower trim, due to no other changes, the Skoda Superb continues to look massively elegant with its limousine type body. The paint quality is nothing short of fantastic and the Rosso Brunello colour on our test car looked very attractive.
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Step inside and you will fail to notice anything different in the Ambition variant. Skoda has removed the sunroof, keyless entry, button start, tyre pressure monitoring system, parktronic sensors at the front, audio system with touchscreen controls, 6.5-inch LCD TFT colour display, integrated 6-CD changer, steering mounted audio control, SD/MMC data card reader, electronic setup for multi-fuction display and Bluetooth telephone operations. While most of these features have little or limited use, the lack of audio controls on steering wheel and Bluetooth connectivity were sorely missed. The stock head unit does work just fine but we particularly liked the touch-screen unit which was much easier to operate and navigate through.
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The Superb Ambition loses electronic setup for multi-function display, which means no convenience, lights and vision, winter tyres, language, units, assistant, alternate speed display, time, service interval, tourist light parameters are displayed on the display. All these things missing does not affect the Superb experience one bit as most of the displayed functions are rarely used in India.
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The Superb Ambition may have lost some equipment but what stays put is the fantastic back seat, which offers excellent comfort and luxury to the passengers. Most Superb owners sit in the rear bench and are chauffeur driven and that is where it makes sense for Skoda to offer the Ambition variant. Even with some features removed, the back seat experience is unaltered. Rear AC vents along with super wide windows ensure an excellent rear seat experience for the occupants.
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The Skoda Superb Ambition is powered by both petrol and diesel engines. The petrol engine displaces 1798cc and produces 160 BHP of peak power output between 4500-6200 RPM and 250 Nm of peak torque output between 1500-4500 RPM. The TSI motor is injected with the best of technology, right from variable valve timing to a turbocharger. This is the same engine which powers the Laura vRS but with the Skoda Superb weighing slightly on the heavier side, performance is not as blistering. The engine is extremely refined and silent through out the revv-band. It doesn’t feel stressed out at all and cruising at triple digit speeds is a breeze.
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The diesel engine in the Skoda Superb Ambition is the same 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine which does duty in the Volkswagen Passat, Audi A4, Audi Q3, Audi Q5, etc. Producing different tune of power and torque in different cars, the TDI motor in the Superb offers 140 PS of peak power output at 4200 RPM And 320 Nm of peak torque output between 1750-2500 RPM. Performance is good but the engine is a bit vocal at higher speeds. Slight turbolag is evident at low speeds but once the turbo kicks in, there is quick availability of power and the Superb makes good progress when kept between 2000-3500 RPM.
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The diesel Superb is available with a 6-speed DSG transmission while the petrol Superb Ambition is available with a 6-speed manual gearbox only and costs a whopping Rs. 6 lakhs less than the diesel Superb Ambition. Thus if your running is not as much, the petrol Ambition makes tremendous sense as it will take you a good few years to recover the additional investment you make to get a diesel-powered Superb.
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The driving dynamics of the Ambition variants are similar to the Elegance variants, that is good handling, excellent high speed stability, strong brakes, good ride quality but slightly noisy suspension. The Ambition does not feature Hill Hold Control, Hydraulic Brake Assistant, Electronic Differential Lock and Electronic Stability Programme. These features don’t affect the dynamics of the Superb ambition much but one does miss the ESP system when pushing the car hard around corners. However for the regular buyer, who buys the Superb to bask in the glory of the rear seat, the lack of such features will not be missed. The lack of Hill Hold Control won’t matter much in the automatic Superb (diesel variant) but petrol Superb Ambition owners might feel its need at times.
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Skoda Auto has done the right thing by offering the Ambition variants of the Superb with lesser equipment. Most of the features which have been removed from the Superb are not missed, with the only one I really missed was the audio controls on the steering wheel. But when you look at it from the economic point of view, the Superb Ambition petrol costs Rs. 2.07 lakhs lesser than the Elegance petrol (both manual transmission variants), while the Ambition diesel costs Rs. 1.8 lakhs lesser than the Elegance diesel. The USP of the Superb is retained (the fantastic rear space and good performing engines) and thus the Ambition variants are extremely welcome, offering better value to the buyer.