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Used Skoda Superb review: 2009-2010

The Superb was the first of a range of new and updated models aimed at getting some movement at its dealerships.

By the time Skoda inveigled its Superb here the carmaker was working hard to build up its position in the market. The VW offshoot had a toehold in our highly competitive market, but it had become in effect a one-car company with the Octavia the only model doing any business to speak of and was going nowhere fast.

NEW

The Superb was the first of a range of new and updated models aimed at getting some movement at its dealerships. It was based on a stretched Octavia/Passat platform, but being no wider than the smaller models it looked a little like a stretched limo, too long for its width. At launch there was just the one body style available, a wagon was added to the range later.

That first body style was unusual in that it could be described as a sedan or a hatch. The trick was its "TwinDoor" boot lid cum tailgate, which could be either at the flick of a switch. It could be a normal boot, but at the flick of a switch it could be a full tailgate like that you get with a hatch. Under the hatch was a large boot that could be expanded by folding the rear seats.

There was also heaps of room up front with comfortable accommodation for five adults in a quiet, refined cabin. Three engines were offered. A 1.8-litre four opened the bidding with 118 kW and 250 Nm; that was followed by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel that offered 125 kW and 350 Nm of frugal motoring, with the range topped by a 191 kW/250 Nm V6, which was only available in the Elegance.

The diesel engine and the V6 were hooked up to a 6-speed DSG gearbox, while the 1.8-litre petrol got a 7-speed DSG unit. Final drive was through the front wheels with the four-cylinder and turbo-diesel engines, but the V6 had all-wheel drive. All models were well equipped, particularly the Elegance, which had the lot.

NOW

DSG: three letters that should spell caution when looking at a Superb. Road testers raved about the innovative new gearbox when VW rolled it out across its range, but they only had to live with it for a few days, a week at most. They didn't have to live with it for years as an owner has had to. We've been inundated with reports from angry owners about the DSG gearbox in their cars.

Not from Skoda owners, from VW owners, and the gearboxes are the same. There's no question that the gearbox is a great thing when it's working as it should, but too often that doesn't happen, and when it plays up it becomes a nightmare. Erratic shifting, choosing the wrong gear, finding neutral at the most inappropriate moments are a couple of the issues that have been reported to us here at Carsguide.

If the transmission does give trouble it can be an expensive unit to repair, and dealers usually opt for replacing the transmission instead of repairing it, and that's an even more expensive outcome.

So, the bottom line for anyone contemplating buying a Skoda Superb is to thoroughly test drive it in all types of driving conditions and put the gearbox through its paces, observing for any hard changes, and shuddering on take-off of gear shifting, any reluctance to change gears, indication it has selected the wrong gear, and certainly any time it selects neutral.

If you have any doubts about checking it, have it checking by an independent mechanic experienced in picking problems with autos. Another innovation was a so-called rain braking system that dried the brake rotors by bringing the pads into contact with the rotors every three kays for three seconds. A recipe for brake wear if ever there was one, so be prepared for more frequent brake replacements.

As always check your potential purchase for regular servicing, go over the body checking for dodgy panel gaps, poor paint finish etc that might be a giveaway to a crash. The Superb is packed with electrics and electronics, other areas that often give trouble in today's cars, so check all systems and make sure everything is working as it should.

SMITHY SAYS

Generally a sound choice, but be wary of DSG gearbox, which is a known problem area on VW products.

Skoda Superb - 2009-2010
Price new: $42,990 to $56,990
Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cylinder petrol, 118 kW/ 250 Nm; 2.0-litre 4-  cylinder turbo-diesel, 125 kW/350 Nm; 3.6-litre V6 petrol, 191 kW/250 Nm.
Transmission: 6-speed DSG, 7-speed DSG, FWD (1.8, TD), AWD (V6)
Economy: 8.4 L/100 km (1.8), 6.9 L/100 km (TD), 10.2 L/100 km (V6)
Body: 4-door sedan
Variants: Ambition, Elegance
Safety: 5-star ANCAP

COMING UP

Do you own a Ford Fiesta? If so tell us what you think of it by sending your comments to Graham Smith at grah.smith@bigpond.com or Carsguide, PO Box 4245, Sydney, NSW, 2010.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2010 $6,200 $17,490
2009 $7,700 $15,620

View all Skoda Superb pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

$11,660
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$7,700
Highest Price
$15,620

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
1.8 TSI Ambition 1.8L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $7,700 – 11,990 2009 Skoda Superb 2009 1.8 TSI Ambition Pricing and Specs
1.8 TSI Elegance 1.8L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $9,000 – 13,530 2009 Skoda Superb 2009 1.8 TSI Elegance Pricing and Specs
2.0 TDI Ambition 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP $8,400 – 12,980 2009 Skoda Superb 2009 2.0 TDI Ambition Pricing and Specs
2.0 TDI Elegance 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP $9,600 – 14,410 2009 Skoda Superb 2009 2.0 TDI Elegance Pricing and Specs
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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