The 2016 Skoda Superb is the perfect example of why Skoda deserve to be more successful than they are in Australia.
They offer some brilliant products that are intelligently designed, beautifully built and rewarding to drive.
The new Superb offers pretty much everything the class leading Volkswagen Passat does, but at a budget basement price.
In fact, the Superb shares most everything with the Passat. The chassis, the engine, the gearbox and most of the switchgear.
It does have its own individual and rather handsome styling, and it offers more space inside.
So what’s not to like? Well…very little.
If I have to find something, the best I can come up with is some confusing menus within the infotainment system.
They’re a bit long winded and not the most intuitive. It took me a few days to eventually discover that the Skoda does in fact have a sports mode, it’s just that it’s buried deep in the vehicle settings menu and is not that easy to find. But as complaints go, that’s it.
Let’s get to the good bits. The ride is sublime. The Skoda Superb just glides along and keeps you shielded from unruly tarmac. It’s quiet too, with no evidence of clatter in the cabin.
It’s super stylish to look at with a high waistline and creases in all the right places. The interior isn’t quite as blingy as the outside, it’s a bit dark and subdued, but classy all the same.
The driving position is spot on, the seats are big and comfortable and clad in a hard wearing suede that adds to the luxury feel.
All the buttons, knobs and dials feel and look familiar, that’s because they’re straight out of the VW parts bin. It blends beautifully with the Skoda interior, and ergonomically, the Superb is spot on.
There’s plenty of space to spread out.
In the back, even with the front seats pushed back as far as possible, legroom is generous. The width of the Superb really adds to the comfort up front, and three kids in the back have got more than enough room not to be touching…or whingeing.
The cargo area in the wagon is enormous. Easily eating 2 black labradors, a (well sealed) picnic basket and a kids scooter with room to spare. It long, wide and deep, not what you expect to see when the tailgate swings open.
It’s evident that a lot of thought has gone into the design, and it’s the little things that make it. Things like a little bin with a lid that fits perfectly into the door pocket….or the strap attached to the inside of the tailgate that makes it easy to close and avoids grubby fingerprints on the outside.
Under the bonnet of our test car is a 2.0 litre turbo diesel developing 140kW and a very healthy 400Nm of torque. It gives the Superb plenty of punch, particularly when you’re up and going. Plant the foot on the freeway and you can ride the torque surge that piles on speed at a rapid rate of knots.
From take off though it’s laggy. Hit the gas, count to two and then you’re off. You’ll find that your driving style does adjust to compensate, but don’t take on anyone in a petrol engined car at the lights, you’re likely to lose.
The Volkswagen 6-Speed dual clutch transmission can be a bit jerky at low speeds, but it flies up and down through the gears under load.
The big Skoda returns some impressive economy figures. Skoda claim 4.8 litres per 100km. The best I saw was 5.8 litres, so a bit of a way off the official claim, but honorable none the less.
If you’re in the market for a family SUV, consider passing up the doughy handling, expensive tyres and big fuel bills and check out the Superb Wagon. It offers the same amount of space, yet handles a lot better and is considerably more satisfying to drive.
Attractive, powerful and clever, the Skoda Superb feels like it’s worth way more than the $45,690 asking price. It’s a real stand out and has a genuine shot at claiming the 2016 Car of the Year title.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2016 Skoda Suberb 140 TDI
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-diesel developing 140kW and 400Nm
Transmission: Six-speed Dual Clutch Automatic
Warranty: Three years
Safety: Five stars
Origin: Czech Republic
Price: from $45,690