Drive – Skoda Superb Elegance Review

21 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Drive – Skoda Superb Elegance Review

Cameron McGavin

Make SKODA Model SUPERB Price From $56,990 (plus dealer and on-road costs) Series 3.6 V6 ELEGANCE DSG 4X4 Series Year 2009 Body Group hatchback Emissions 243g CO2/km Fuel Consumption 10.2L/100km Power 191kW Torque 350Nm Transmission/Driven Wheels 6 speed DSG/AWD

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A car’s name is typically an arbitrary thing but occasionally brands manage to tap into a rich vein of truth or irony, like Honda with its rather less-than-legendary Legend.

So what to make of Skoda’s Superb? Can the brand’s new luxury sedan live up to its grandiose title?

What do you get?

The Superb kicks off at $42,990 for the Ambition 1.8-litre turbo petrol model, plus on-road and dealer costs.

The Superb, though, is bigger than its VW cousin and comes with heated front seats, six-CD/MP3 sound system, auto headlights and wipers, dual-zone climate control and 16-inch alloys on base models.

We tested the $56,990 Elegance 4X4 V6, which adds heated rear seats, powered front seats, a premium sound system, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, alarm, rear sun blind and 18-inch alloys.

With nine airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control standard on all models, the Superb’s safety prospects are strong. It has also been awarded a five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests.

What’s on the inside ?

The Superb is longer than the Passat but no wider, resulting in a somewhat awkward, cigar-like shape. Such misgivings are forgiven once you sample the back seat, which has enough legroom to give a Holden Statesman a scare.

The Skoda is also exceptionally handy thanks to its TwinDoor system, which allows you to access the big 565-litre boot via a traditional bootlid or a full-blown hatch. Fold down the split-fold back seats and you’ve got a hefty 1670 litres.

Up front, the Superb’s heritage is obvious in its simple, tasteful design, good-quality plastics and drum-tight assembly. However, the V6’s 18-inch wheels dictate a space-saver spare tyre and small-item storage is average. Rear vision is also compromised. Some of the presentation is a bit tacky.

It all smacks of Skoda trying too hard.

Under the bonnet

The top-line Superb’s 191kW, 3.6-litre direct-injected V6 comes hooked up to a mandatory six-speed version of the VW Group’s twin-clutch automatic transmission. It’s a smooth, refined engine with a linear, progressive supply of power.

The six-speed DSG gearbox is a good thing, too, with quick, smooth shifts and less propensity for the stop-start jerkiness that afflicts seven-speed, 1.8-litre petrol models. However, it’s still possible to catch it out.

Skoda claims 10.2 litres per 100 kilometres for the V6 and we got close to it with our 10.9L/100km test average. That puts the Superb on par with its six-cylinder competition but not ahead. It also sips premium unleaded.

Tyre noise on coarse-chip roads aside, it’s impressively hushed and the ride absorbs most lumps and bumps without fuss.

And while not a jaw-droppingly sharp drive, the Skoda has progressive steering, a neutral balance and good road-holding from the 18-inch tyres. It’s secure in the wet, too, thanks to its all-wheel-drive system.

Does the Superb live up to its name? Unfortunately, not quite.

The styling is awkward, the cabin ambience suffers from the odd tacky bit of trim, the DSG gearbox still has blemishes and it’s merely good rather than enthralling to drive.

But if you’re in the market for a sub-$60,000 luxury car, the Skoda Superb‘s space, value, quality, plentiful equipment, sophistication and safety mean it should be on your shortlist.

How much? From $56,990 (plus dealer and on-road costs)

Engine 3.6-litre V6; 191kW/350Nm; 10.2L/100km; 243g CO2/km; AWD

What it has 9 airbags; stability control, anti-lock brakes; rear parking sensors; dual-zone climate control; cruise control; powered front seats; heated front/rear seats; automatic headlights and wipers; 6-CD/MP3 sound system with aux input; 18-inch alloy wheels.

Strong performance

capable and comfortable road manners

massive rear legroom

big boot

Awkward looks

jerky twin-clutch auto

needs premium unleaded

tacky detailing

The Competitors

Holden Calais V 3.6 SIDI

From $56,790 (plus dealer and on-road costs) New direct-injection V6 engine gets more power with less thirst. Capable and involving road manners, comfortable cabin lacks distinction. Thick A-pillars restrict vision.

Not yet rated.

Nissan Maxima 350Ti

From $46,990 (plus dealer and on-road costs) Well priced. A robust but relaxing drive only soured by a big turning circle and outward visibility restricted by thick pillars. #9733;#9733;#9733;

Volkswagen Passat 3.2 FSI 4 motion

From $56,990 (plus dealer and on-road costs) Classy inside and out with capable road manners, a spacious cabin and loads of toys. Dual-clutch gearbox lacks polish at low speeds. #9733;#9733;#9733;

For more on the competitors, go to drive.com.au/competitors

For more on the Superb Elegance, go to drive.com.au/skoda

Competitors

Nissan Maxima 350Ti

From $46,990 (plus dealer and on-road costs) Well priced. A robust but relaxing drive only soured by a big turning circle and outward visibility restricted by thick pillars. Price From $46,990 (plus dealer and on-road costs).

Volkswagen Passat 3.2 FSI 4 motion

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