It is one of India’s best known affordable luxury sedans till date. Yes, we are talking about the Skoda Superb which entered an all-new generation last year and was recently launched in India. Since its arrival here nearly 15 years ago, the car has had a large and constant fan following thanks to comfort levels and cabin space only found on cars almost twice the price.
To find out if the new Skoda Superb has managed to carry on the legacy set by its predecessors, we got behind the wheel and took a trip from the coastal plains of Mangaluru to the rolling hills of Madikeri in Coorg.
Evolution is perhaps the best term I could use to describe the exterior design of the new Skoda Superb. The design that made this car so famous has been retained but now looks sharper and more taut thanks to Skoda’s new styling philosophy.
The fascia is defined by the moustache Skoda grille and sleek headlights inbuilt with crystal elements that pay tribute to the Czech glass industry. There are power lines on the bonnet while the chrome has been used subtly around the logo as well as the bumper.
The limousine silhouette of the previous generation car has evolved into a sports sedan like appearance. There is a subtle ring of chrome around the pillars while the flared wheel arches work with the lowered roofline to give the Superb its sporty appearance. Our car was a top-spec Laurin&Klement variant so it also got L&K badges on the side. At the back, its business as usual thanks to the minimal amount of badging and chrome elements. The tail lamps form a C-shape and flow around the edge of the boot.
Since it was launched as Skoda’s flagship model, the Superb has always had an understated design. It is nothing spectacular to look at but has enough to stand out among the crowd of SUVs, hatchbacks and MPVs. Its pursuit as the ‘different’ choice is also aided by the virtual non-existence of large sedans in this part of the market.
The spacious cabin of the Superb is leather lined and filled with many features. The design is two-tone with beige for the seats and black for the dashboard, a combination that has given it an airy feel. The dashboard gets premium plastics with chrome outlines for the infotainment system and gear knob. Everything falls easily to hand and the view out front is very good thanks to the large glass area.
However, with the Superb now joining the MQB family, a lot of the parts appear to have been borrowed from the Octavia which is not a bad thing but kills some of the individuality that the earlier models possessed.
This top spec L&K variant that we drove gets it all - three zone climate control, touchscreen infotainment system, electrically adjustable ventilated front seats with memory function (phew!) and because this is a Superb - two umbrellas in the front doors.
There are also some smart touches like the ambient lighting, a front cup holder that grips your bottle so that you can open it easily. This new Superb loses out on the multi-level opening for the boot but instead gets a virtual pedal as well as a button for automatic closure.
Given that this will be a chauffeur-driven car, it has a lot of space in the back. It is very comfortable at the back. The left-side front seat can be pushed forward thanks to easily accessible seat controls on its side. However, we found that all the seats lacked under thigh supports which is surprising considering the size of the cabin.
The Superb is being offered with two engines and two gearbox options. There is a 1.8-litre petrol which can be had with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG. In the former it produces 178bhp/320Nm while the latter has an output of 178bhp/250Nm. The diesel is a 2.0-litre unit that produces 175bhp and 350Nm of torque and can only be had with the seven-speed DSG.
We were only able to get our hands on the diesel but had a decent time driving it from Mangaluru to Madikeri. The four-pot motor revs cleanly and in a linear manner but is loud and the clatter is very audible within the cabin. Shifts take place at different RPMs according to the amount of throttle given and for a quick overtake two or even three gears are dropped to build up the necessary momentum.
Skoda offers three driving modes - eco, sport and normal and depending in which mode you are in, the throttle response changes accordingly. There is also an individual drive mode where you can set the responses according to your preferences.
The all-important ARAI fuel efficiency has been pegged at 14.12kmpl for the petrol manual, 14.67 for the petrol AT and 18.19kmpl for the diesel.
On the ride and handling front, Skoda has managed to find a good balance between the two. Our route gave us a sample of almost all multiple terrains and the Superb managed to emerge victorious the whole time.
The car has always been known for its good ride quality and this one carries on the legacy well. There is a silent suppleness to the way it absorbs imperfections on the road without transmitting much more than a muted thud into the cabin. The ‘raised for India’ 149mm ground clearance meant we had no issues going over speed breakers and pot holes.
For a car of this size it handles quite well and is very forgiving if you go hard into a corner. The ESP is always on and works in a very non-intrusive way to keep you on the road. You would have to push the car really hard to get ahead of the safety net. I also like the feel of the steering as it is very light but quite accurate and weighs up correctly as you go faster. Complementing all this go to power are the brakes which are progressive and quite reassuring.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||174 @ 3600||177 @ 5100||177 @ 4000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||350 @ 1500||250 @ 1250||320 @ 1450|
|Gears||Seven-speed automatic||Seven-speed automatic||Six-speed manual|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||66||66||66|
|Tyre size||215/ 55 R17||215/ 55 R17||215/ 55 R17|
|Electric seats with ventilation and memory||Yes|
|Rear AC vent||Yes|
|Touchscreen infotainment system||Yes|
|4 driving modes||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Engine Capacity||2.5-litre four-cylinder||1.8-litre||1.8-litre|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||178 @ 6000||177 @ 5100||177 @ 4000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||233 @ 4100||250 @ 1250||320 @ 1450|
|Gears||Six-speed automatic||Seven-speed automatic||Six-speed manual|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||70||66||66|
|Tyre size||215/60 R16||215/ 55 R17||215/ 55 R17|
We as Indians always demand more for less and the Superb is well a…superb example of this philosophy. It has so much on offer in terms of space and features that it seems to trump a lot of vehicles above and below it.
Sure there are some let downs like the uninspiring interiors and rather small display for the touchscreen infotainment system. But these are outweighed by things like the vast cabin space, feature list and good balance between ride and handling. It’s a value proposition for those looking for a car that will offer a bit of everything at a reasonable price.
The entry level 1.8 TSI manual starts at Rs 23.83 lakh while the top-spec L&K diesel is priced at Rs 30.85 lakh (both ex-showroom Delhi). It competes with the Toyota Camry and soon-to-be-launched Honda Accord as well as the Volkswagen Passat.
Photo Courtesy By : Santosh Nair