Skoda Superb Review
Car tested: 2012 Skoda Superb Elegance 2.0 TDi AT
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 27,87,527/-
The Skoda Superb name dates all the way back to 1934, when the CZech automaker first launched the vehicle. At that time the Superb measured an insane 5700 mm in length (which is the same as today’s Rolls-Royce Ghost). It featured an 8-cylinder engine (the only Skoda vehicle to feature so many cylinders till date). In 1949, the Skoda Superb was pulled off the market and in 2001, under the aegis of Volkswagen, the Superb brand was resurrected. The current Superb is in its second generation today and was launched in 2008. Skoda has launched a cheaper Ambition variant, which is the same as the Superb Elegance (sans a few features). We drive the Superb to find out how it fares out in the segment.
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Exteriors – The Skoda Superb looks striking in its overall form. The strong three-dimensional form of the front grille and the chrome trimmings give it a substantial and solid look. The contoured lines of the bonnet extend to the headlamps while the elongated roof of the car blends into the radius of the C-pillars. Chrome trim around the windows flows into a three-dimensional element at the C-pillar. The number plate holder is not integrated in the boot cover but instead is positioned lower down on the bumper. The two-part tail lamps with one half integrated into the rear wings and the other integrated into the boot cover. These lights form a C-shaped light at night. The Skoda Superb is mounted on to 16-inch wheels and the long length of car makes it look like a limousine when viewed from the side. Overall the design is very subtle yet elegant.
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Interiors – The Skoda Superb is based on the Volkswagen Group A5 (PQ46) platform which gives it immense interior dimensions. The dashboard is well laid out and features high quality parts. The two-tone dash features black colour at the top and beige at the bottom with wood in between. The 3-spoke steering wheel feels great to hold, while buttons on the steering wheel help you to control the audio system and cruise control of the car. The use of chrome and wood has been done so tastefully that you immediately feel you are in a much more expensive car.
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The air conditioner works very well and the touch screen system is easy to use. The system can be used for navigation and can be paired with your phone as well. A 6-CD changer is present in the Elegance variant while the Ambition variant features a single CD player. The puddle lights give the Skoda Superb a sense of luxury in the night and the attention to detail is truly note worthy. A sunroof is present as well, while the Nappa Ivory leather upholstery feels rich and premium. There is leather everywhere, right from the seats to the steering wheel, gear shift knob and hand brake lever. The scuff plates adorn the Superb badge.
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The seats are very supportive and offer excellent comfort to the passengers. The front seats are 12-way electrically adjustable memory seats and thus finding the most comfortable seating position is a breeze. But its not the front seats that are the Superb’s forte. Step inside the rear seat and you are in the lap of comfort and luxury. There is acres of leg room and there is so much space that even the tallest of occupants will feel at home. The head room is not the most generous though, due to the rather high position of the rear seats. But the angle of backrest, shoulder room and thigh support are almost perfect and give you the feeling of a limousine. There are plenty of AC vents for rear passengers (including one each on the B-pillars), which ensure you are always chilled out. The rear windows and rear windscreen of the Skoda Superb posses retractable screens and there is even a leather-wrapped handle for the Skoda branded umbrella which operates with a one-touch operation.
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The twin door opening of the fifth door gives the Superb’s boot alot of practicality. The 565-liters boot can swallow anything you throw at it.
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Ride, Handling and Braking – You would expect the Skoda Superb to be oriented towards a comfortable ride than outright handling but its the other way round. The Superb’s suspension has been stiffened which gives the vehicle tremendous high speed stability. You seldom feel the speeds you are doing and the Superb gives the occupants very little idea of the outside. Handling is very good for a car of this size and the Superb is quick to respond to steering inputs, turning with confidence. Featuring a electric steering system, the Superb’s handling is predictable and you can have some fun by turning sharply into corners with well contained body roll.
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The ride quality of the car could be better though and the Superb feels a bit stiff and noisy. The suspension does transmit some of the undulations on the road but does not unsettle passengers badly. Ride quality is flat at best and it only improves as the speedometer goes northwards. Featuring an array of systems including ABS, EBD, TCS, ESP, HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistant), the Superb’s brakes are nothing short of Superb. Brake bite is excellent and so is the stopping capabilities of the car but we would have loved better feel from the brake pedal. Skoda has altered the ground clearance for Indian roads and jacked it up by 20 mm to 158 mm. This ensures that speed-breakers don’t trouble the under-body of the Superb.
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Performance – The Skoda Superb is powered by a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine which produces 140 PS of peak power at 4200 RPM and 320 Nm of peak torque between 1750-2500 RPM. The engine is mated to a 6-speed DSG transmission with Tiptronic manual gear changing option. This engine is a slightly noisy but settles down as speeds build up. There is some lag lower down the revv range, which translates into a quick burst of power once the turbo spools up. 0 – 100 km/h comes up in a shade below 13 seconds, while the top speed is in the region of 190 km/h.
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The 2.0-litre CR diesel engine is fantastic but the Superb is not light by any means with a weight of 1608 kgs hampering performance to a certain extent. The diesel motor provides strong mid range and punch with decent top end rush. The DSG transmission is smooth and shifts gears quickly. But you really need to mash the throttle for it to downshift to the desired cog in D mode. This however changes once you are in S mode. The lack of paddle shifts is quite surprising and one needs to manually shift gears through the Tiptronic function to really enjoy the Superb. Skoda claim a mileage of 17.2 km/l (ARAI figures) but one can expect close to 9 km/l in city driving conditions. The Superb features HHC (Hill Hold Control), which holds the vehicle for 2 seconds on declines before rolling backwards. The company also offers tyre pressure monitoring system, which is a useful feature.
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Conclusion – The Skoda Superb offers class leading space, high quality interiors and good performance from its petrol and diesel engines. The ride quality might not be carpet like and the styling might not be dramatic but the Superb offers tremendous value of money to the buyers. With the launch of a cheaper Ambition variant priced at Rs. 20.76 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai) for the 1.8 TSI MT, the Superb will appeal to more people. There is little doubt then, this Skoda is indeed simply Superb.
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* Built Quality
* Features List
* High Speed Stability
Whats Not So Cool
* Ride quality could be better
* No manual transmission diesel variant
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Skoda Superb Specifications
* Engine: 1968cc, 16V, Turbocharged, DOHC
* Power: 140 PS @ 4200 RPM
* Torque: 320 Nm @ 1750 – 2500 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed automatic
* Top Speed: 190 kmph
* 0-100kmph: 13 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 9 kmpl (City), 12 kmpl (highway)
* Fuel Type: 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)
* Tires: 205/55/16 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes: Hydraulic dual-diagonal circuit braking system vacuum assisted with Dual Rate system, ABS, EBD, HBA, HHC
* Safety: ABS, EBD, TCS, ESP, ASR, TPM, 8 Airbags, Park Distance Control
Skoda Superb Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 4838 mm X 1817 mm X 1482 mm
* Wheelbase: 2761 mm
* Ground clearance: 158 mm
* Turning Radius – 5.4 m
* Boot Volume: 565 liters, 1700 liters (with rear seats folded)
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 liters
* Kerb Weight: 1608 kgs