We always had a weak spot for the Skoda Superb. It offers luxury, roominess and mechanical refinement beyond expectations, and this right from the first model. Recently, the Superb has gained in style and refinement, gaining in personality, and is increasingly making its mark as a premium car.
We started our further (re)discovery of the present Superb range with a test of the spacious Combi version, this time with the 150 HP petrol engined version coupled to the six speed manual box. Just read on...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Style and workmanship
Entering the cabin of this elegant station wagon one is immediately impressed by the roominess and elegance of this Superb. The instrumentation with its - literally - superb lettering and classic looks has won our hearts already many times over, and we can only congratulate the designers for having retained this styling right into the present model range.
The dashboard lay-out and displacement of controls is logical and strightforward, faithfully in keeping with the tradition of the VW group products. So one instantly feels right at home in the superb. The same can be said of the ease of use of the infotainment system. Not only does the big centrally placed touch screen facilitate the command of all functions, be it audio, navigation or phone for instance, it is so effective and efficient that it completely does away with circular control and touch buttons found in the competition. Truly a good example of clarity and excellent ergonomics...
The 1.4 liter petrol engine brings state of the art technology under the hood of this Superb, and delivers there a healthy 150 HP. Coupled to the high geared 6 speed manual it warrants excellent economy and more than brisk performance.
Elasticity is also excellent. This engine has automatic cylinder deactivation (ACT) and has also won already in 2013 the “Engine of the Year Award” for seventh consecutive time in the 1.0 to 1.4 liter displacement category. This makes the 1.4-litre TSI the most successful engine in the 15-year history of this international engine technology competition. Active Cylinder Management takes effect whenever the 1.4 TSI’s engine speed lies between 1,250 and 4,000 rpm and its torque lies between 25 and 100 Nm. This applies to nearly 70% of the driving distance in the EU fuel economy driving cycle.
First, the combustion chambers are filled with air; this entrapped fresh air leads to minimal cylinder pressure and therefore to lower energy consumption. Afterwards, the system closes the intake and exhaust valves of cylinders 2 and 3; engine ignition only occurs once per crankshaft revolution. The pistons of the deactivated cylinder are now dragged by the crankshaft. On the other hand, efficiency increases in the two active cylinders, because their operating points are shifted to higher loads.
The Skoda driver can choose engine and suspension setup accortding to his driving mood...
Well, in practice, it is very difficult to detect whether one is running on two or four cylinders. When one floors the throttle, good pulling power sets in, but it doesn't need high revs, making its peak 150PS power output at 5000rpm and peak 250Nm from just 1500rpm.
It is an absolute joy to flick through the gears, with the engine not only responsive, there is no turbo lag whatsoever, but it’s also emitting a pleasant, sporting throb. Rally Skoda's have always been formidable machines, and in this good tradition, the Superb also lends itself quite nicely to some spirited driving.
When driving slowly in urban conditions with lots of start stop(s) one notices however that the engine lacks some solid pulling power at very low revs, requiring sensitive balance of throttle and clutch. Therefore we would prefer the DSG box if one uses the Superb often in dense traffic.
Outright performance is quite good, as we said. 0 to 100 km/h goes in 9 seconds, top speed is not less than 217 km/h. (!)
The overall economy is very impressive and shows clearly what this state of the art petrol unit is capable of. It proved no trouble at all for us to achieve average consumption figured in the region of 6 liters/100 km, maintaining a rather brisk driving style but of course avoiding higher revs at all times. No small feat when one considers this is a permanent 4WD roomy station wagon.
The manufacturer quotes 5.5 liters/100 km as an EC-norm average.
Where the Superb also truly stands out is in mechanical refinement. The engine is inaudible at tick over, the clutch is ultra progressive and smooth, choosing the gears is very slick. Cruising up to very high speeds is very silent, road and wind noise is also very well suppressed. This Superb has premium character written all over it.
Predictable, sure footed handling
Driving the Superb over winding roads is no punishment either. The car steers with precision, is neutral and well controlled up to extreme speeds. The state of the art suspension and chassis shows its talent fully indeed. Of course, the AWD makes this Skoda very attractive and versatile in wintery conditions and muddy, wet (country) roads…Of course, one can set via the driver mode button just that suspension setup which suits your mood...
The Superb combi is cavernous, to say the least. With the back seat fully folded, this Superb offers 1950 liters of luggage space. But even with all seats available, still 660 liters are at your disposal. Rear legroom is massive, in the good Superb tradition.
Last but not least we should mention the excellent finish and the quality of the materials used in this Skoda, making it fit for years of intensive service.
A refined, roomy, comfortable, stylish and well finished car which clearly has premium character. Entertaining to drive, with an efficient and lively engine which is also quite frugal. The permanent 4WD makes this car even more attractive.
We would prefer the DSG auto box over the excellent manual box, as the big Superb needs this engine running in the proper rev range to deliver pulling power in any given situation, especially at slow urban speeds. But this Superb really scores in many respects well, quite superbly...
Hans Knol ten Bensel