Rarely does a vehicle go anywhere near living up to its title. However, Skoda’s Superb, the latest version of the large sedan from the Audi VW affiliate, goes mighty close.
The third-generation flagship comes to market in the Oliver Twist manner of more, more, more in many ways over its well-credentialed predecessor. For example, the new model offers increased interior space for occupants and luggage and more driver assistance derived from upper-class vehicles.
Car companies tend to supply test vehicles with cost costly - options. Skoda had the confidence in its product to give me the entry-level Superb 2.0 162TSI sedan, with a price tag of $39,990, plus on-road costs.
The large Superb sedan appears almost majestic. It brings the design language of the Skoda VisionC to fruition with its assurance, dynamic elegance, balanced proportions and a striking appeal.
The trademark Skoda grille is home to a brand logo linking it to the bonnet. Bi-xenon headlights with adaptive front light system, including integrated headlamp washers and daytime running lights, flank the radiator.
Front fog lights, with cornering function, take up similar positions on either side of a total-width air intake below. Fog lamps are repeated at the rear.
Side on, the Superb presents a solid appearance with lines usually found in cars of premium class – and with price tags to match. The sedan sits on Pegasus anthracite 18-inch alloy wheels, a perfect foil to the sparingly flared wheel arches.
Inside, the story is one of extra space, the result of longer wheelbase and wider track over its predecessor. The driver and front passenger benefit from 39 mm more elbow room and more headroom.
Rear legroom has expanded to 157 mm and headroom is now 980 mm; elbow room in the back has increased by 69 mm. The boot capacity, at 625 litres, is 60 litres more than in the second-generation Superb.
Skoda suggests the feel-good factor for occupants can be boosted by the addition of an optional electric panoramic sunroof. A completely new top-shelf three-zone air-conditioning system ensures an optimal temperature and the best air quality.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are heated seats, standard in the front and included in an optional Comfort Pack for the rear. The Comfort Pack also includes front ventilated seats with cooling.
Skoda’s ‘Simply Clever’ practical solutions, designed to make life easier for driver and passengers, include two easy-to-reach umbrellas stored in the front doors.
A new infotainment system features an 8.0-inch touchscreen bringing Columbus satellite navigation into play, while SmartLink smartphone connects with Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
Bluetooth with voice control, phone and audio streaming, USB, AUX, two SD card slots and CD player with eight speakers are on hand, as is a tablet holder for rear passengers.
The entry-level test car, the Superb 2.0-litre 160TSI turbo-petrol DSG automatic sedan, delivers 162 kW of power at 6200 rpm and 350 Nm of torque between a broad band of 1500 to 4400 revs.
A six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels.
The new Superb employs a level of safety not previously seen in this segment. Standard features include electronic stability control with multi-collision braking; front assist with city emergency brake; rear-view camera; fatigue detection; passenger protect assist; electronic tyre pressure monitor; nine airbags; five three-point automatic seat belts with fastening alerts; Bi-Xenon headlights; front and rear parking sensors, as well as safety headrests. XDL, an enhanced function of the electronic differential lock, also comes as standard.
To have to rummage for the key in pocket or bag to get into the Superb 162TSI DSG and then find the ignition lock and turn the key to start the engine is a trifle 20th century in a $40,000 vehicle. These days key proximity and push-button start are commonplace.
The Skoda Superb sedan was instantly likeable as I settled into the driver’s seat, doors closing behind me with a reassuring clunk. No tinny note here.
The free-spinning turbocharged petrol engine has the Superb sprinting off the mark and up to 100 kilometres an hour in a claimed seven seconds. It’s not the time at which this is achieved that appeals but more the smoothness in operation of the six-speed double-clutch automatic transmission.
The Superb sedan is a hatchback with a voluminous 625-litre luggage space. The low loading lip makes for easy loading.
The 60/40 rear seatbacks can be folded flat from outside by means of switches in the walls of the boot, increasing the cargo volume to a 1760 litres.
Superb 2.0 162TSI DSG automatic: $39,990
Superb 2.0 140TDI DSG automatic: $43,990
Superb 2.0 206TSI 4x4 DSG automatic: $50,990 Wagon surcharge $1700
Options Image Pack (162TSI and 140TDI only) $1700 Tech Pack (162TSI and 140TDI) $4700 Tech Pack (206TSI 4x4) $3400 Comfort Pack (all variants) $1500
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Skoda dealer for drive-away prices.