It has added the Superb wagon to the local line-up in an attempt to sway buyers away from other Euro wagons and even the Holden Sportwagon.
Costing $2000 more then the equivalent sedan models, Skoda Australia believes up to 60 per cent of Superb buyers will opt for the well-equipped wagon. With two petrol engines and one turbo-diesel, prices kick off at $40,990 for the well-equipped seven-speed DSG 118TSI Ambition, rising to $57,990 for the six-speed DSG V6 all-wheel drive Elegance.
Skoda Australia boss Matthew Wiesner believes the wagon has the ability to tackle the premium European wagons and some of its more affordable Japanese rivals. The big wagon has 'family' stamped all over it, from the commodious, well thought-out luggage area to the roomy back seat.
"Value is one of our key strategies," he says. "We’re finally beyond the 'we're here phase' and can now build the brand with even more desirable products like the wagon."
The Superb wagon has a massive load area – 633 litres with the rear seats up and 1865 with the seats folded. The tailgate is also wide enough to accommodate bulky items and the car has a low loading sill, 600mm above the ground. There’s room enough under the load area for full-size spares on the front drive Ambition and Elegance while the Elegance V6 4x4 gets a space saver.
"It’s clearly aimed at families," Wiesner says. "I expect we will see a far higher degree of female drivers so that’s why it’s so well equipped."
VARIANTS AND EQUIPMENT
Like the sedan there are two models, Ambition and Elegance. Wiesner expects most buyers to opt for the $46,990 118 TSI Elegance model, with fleets tipped into the entry 118 TSI Ambition. At $57,990 the range topping V6 all-wheel drive is out to tackle the Audi A4 wagon and Volvo V70 T6 wagon.
It comes standard with the VW Group’s park assist parallel parking system, which automatically parks the car into a given space. Other equipment candy includes an optional $790 electric tailgate, magnetic rear luggage bay light that also works as a detachable torch, luggage rails and optional $370 extendable luggage floor and $140 automatic luggage cover release.
The entry Ambition is not short of gear. It boasts nine airbags, 16-inch alloys, stability control, dual zone climate control, foglights, tyre pressure monitoring, heated rear view mirrors, rear parking sensors 8-speaker CD stereo, heated front seats and rain sensing wipers.
The Elegance ups the standard equipment list by adding satellite navigation, leater seats, electric front seats with memory, active Bi-Xenon headlights, 10 speaker premium CD stereo, alarm, heated front and rear seats and 17 inch alloys. The V6 rides on 18-inch alloys. The running gear of the wagon is based on the sedan – which shares much with the Volkswagen Passat – but Skoda has made some modifications to cope with the extra weight and load-lugging characteristics. The rear axle housing is attached to the body with anti-vibration dampers.
We were already won over by the sensible Superb sedan. Now the wagon, particularly the turbo-diesel, is helping reshape the options for many families. It’s roomy like the sedan, particularly in the back seat. But out back is where it makes a whole lot of sense. Physically the wagon has better proportions than the sedan.
It looks a whole lot more resolved from a design viewpoint and looks smart and contemporary. The sedan may have its quirky hatch-and-boot in-one but the wagon kicks you up a whole new level with a sensible load area, plenty of tiedowns and hidden cubbies for storing valuables.
Being from the VW Group means there is plenty of well thought out switchgear and the engines too are proven and well matched for the car. The ride, handling and steering all have that familiar VW touch to them, which is a good thing. The 3.6-litre V6 – shared with the Passat - is punchy and the quad exhausts are a neat touch for Dads who want to remind the world they’re still enthusiasts even if they drive a wagon.
The 2.0TDI would be our pick for long distances. It’s amazingly quiet and frugal yet has plenty of mid-range urge to keep things interesting. We didn’t get a chance to try out the 118TSI but our experience in VWs and the Octavia have been favourable. The overall fit and finish of the Superb wagon was, well, superb.
The wagon is yet another brand builder that is clearly going to prove to many people that this Czech brand is no longer a poor cousin to its German parent.
SKODA SUPERB WAGON
Models: 118TSI, 125TDI and 191FSI
Engines: 1.8-litre, 2.0-litre TDI, 3.6-litre V6 FSI all-wheel drive
Prices: $40,990 118 TSI Ambition, $43,990 103TDI Ambition, $46,990 118 TSI Elegance, $49,990 125 TDI Elegance, $57,990 V6 Elegance
Power: 118kW at 5000 revs (118TSI), 125kW at 4200 revs (125TDI), 191kW at 6000 revs (3.6-litre V6)
Torque: 250Nm from 1500 revs (118TSI), 350Nm from 1750 (125TDI) 350Nm between 2500 and 5000 revs (3.6-litre V6)
Economy: 7.5 litres/100km (118TSI), 6.6 litres/100km (125TDI), 10.4 litres/100km (3.6-litre V6)
Performance: 0-100km: 8.6 seconds, 8.9 seconds and 6.6 seconds.