Skoda's Superb has hardly put a wheel wrong since its launch in Australia. Now it has the style to match the substance, while still retaining all the solid points that make it such an impressive large sedan.
The 2016 Skoda Superb 162TSI is indeed Superb, even more so considering it sits in the largely unloved large sedan segment. While Skoda is only starting to gain the traction the brand so richly deserves, there’s absolutely no doubt that on face value, the 162TSI sedan represent incredible value for money.
The question is, just how good is the Superb? Let’s delve a little deeper to find out.
As Mike noted in his local launch drive, the Superb is indeed the thinking buyer’s Euro option, with specification that belies its price, more room and comfort than the competition, and a premium sense to everything you interact with. It’s why we find ourselves recommending Skoda options so often when readers ask for advice.
The same three models are available across sedan and wagon body styles, with the 162TSI as tested here starting from $39,990 for the sedan and $41,690 for the wagon – plus on-road costs. The next step up the ladder is the 140TDI model, which starts from $43,990 for the sedan and $45,690 for the wagon, while the range-topping 206TSI 4X4 model, starts from $50,990 for the sedan and $52,690 for the wagon.
While it’s classed as a sedan, the vehicle we’re testing here is actually a ‘liftback’ in the classic sense, with a whopping hatch door opening up to a cavernous luggage space. The hatch design offers more space that is easier to access than a conventional boot you’d find in a sedan.
While there are more appealing models that sit above this 162TSI model then, we reckon this model grade is the sweet spot of the range, offering plenty of standard kit, and more than enough grunt for daily driving duties from a hard to believe starting price below 40 grand. It’s impressive stuff, no matter which way you slice it.
On the subject of grunt, the 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder engine is the same as the powerplant that sits beneath the bonnet of the Golf GTI, so it’s performance credentials are strong to say the least. The turbocharged unit generates 162kW – hence the nomenclature – and 350Nm. Peak power is available between 4500-6200rpm, while the whack of torque is available between a low 1500-4400rpm – perfect for the daily grind then. Those numbers translate into a real world sprint from 0-100km/h of 7.0 seconds. Our 162TSI test vehicle uses a six-speed DSG.
We could wax lyrical about the standard features list for way too long, but highlights include: Alcantara seat trim, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, privacy glass, 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, reverse view camera, adaptive cruise control, tri-zone climate control, nine airbags and umbrellas inside both front doors.
The only option pack we’d urge potential buyers to consider is the Tech pack, which is priced between $3400 and $4700 and adds adaptive dampers, lane assist, blind spot monitoring, a hands-free tailgate and reverse traffic alert. As you’d expect, it’s the safety kit that comes with that pack that we most like the look of.
So first then, the engine. Does it feel as punchy under the bonnet of the slightly more portly Superb as it does a Golf GTI? If it’s not as punchy, it’s pretty damn close, yes. The Superb weighs 1463kg in this specification, compared to a Golf GTI, which weighs 1324kg with the DSG, so the difference isn’t as vast as you might have thought. An exceptional engine is an exceptional engine though, regardless of the platform and that’s very true of this powerful 2.0-litre.
It propels the Superb off the mark rapidly, and continues to throw punches right up to redline. Like many modern turbocharged powerplants, this VW Group engine strikes a near perfect chord between power and torque, and the delivery of both. While the initial surge is obviously pleasing, it’s the unrelenting thump through the midrange that is the most alluring feature of this engine, and it means you’ll absolutely love using it in the bump and grind of peak hour. The Superb is a practical daily drive for more than interior space alone.
While we’re the first to assess the DSG as not the smoothest of transmission options, it is however, one of the better applications here behind the Superb’s four-cylinder. There’s some slight hesitation at low speeds crawling through traffic, but under most circumstances, there’s nothing that will irk most buyers. The general pairing is a solid partnership in this large wagon platform then.
Against an ADR claim of 6.4 litres/100km on the combined cycle, we used an indicated 10.0L/100km over the duration of our test. Keep in mind that the Superb requires 95RON as a minimum as well. A 66-litre fuel tank ensures you won’t be stopping every few days to fill up either.
While the Superb isn’t right at the head of the class in outright handling terms, it can still deliver an engaging drive. If the Passat and the Mazda 6 are the class leaders, the Superb is slightly behind in handling terms, but right up there in terms of ride. We reckon the 18-inch wheels – standard here – help the bump absorption properties of the excellent chassis and suspension system.
Mike reported at launch that the 19-inch wheels and tyres (as well as the sports suspension) stiffened things up a little, as well as impacting the Superb’s composure and that’s another reason we reckon the 18-inch package here is the perfect balance.
Some premium vehicles can’t provide a premium ride to match the expectation, but the Superb does an excellent job of soaking up Sydney’s urban road network. Hit the highway, and it continues to glide along effortlessly with low wind and road noise evident. We loved the fact that you could manhandle the Superb pretty rapidly through twisty country roads, without it ever feeling slovenly or hefty.
Perhaps the Superb’s strongest point is its cavernous interior. There’s huge luggage space available, even with the second row seats in use. 625 litres with the seats in play expands to a whopping 1760 litres when they are folded down. The Superb will easily carry a full-sized road bicycle for example, meaning you don’t have to remove wheels to transport them. The broad liftback door makes loading and unloading easy too. With the kids in the second row, there’s more than enough room for the luggage required for a family holiday.
Front and rear seats are comfortable, and there’s plenty of legroom for four adults too. The heated front seats are excellent, and the quality Alcantara trim means they never feel cold, even in winter.
On the subject of family road trips, the Superb caters beautifully to the kids in the second row. There are air vents with temperature control, clever integrated sun shades, jacket hooks, and a clever iPad mount within the centre armrest.
There’s a solid, carved-from-stone feeling to every aspect of the Superb’s interior that once again makes its sub 40k starting price appear even more impressive. The integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a bonus too, making the infotainment system even easier to use. We never had an issue with CarPlay during our week behind the wheel, and the voice control aspect worked flawlessly as well.
The Skoda Superb is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, while there is an optional pre-paid servicing plan that costs $2650 over five years or 75,000km.
So, with an 8.0 overall rating at launch, we’re bumping our pick of the Superb range up to a 9 overall. There’s nothing that can truly compete with the Superb’s all-round ability and value, making it a compelling option for any smart buyer. The Superb has never been as stylish as it is now either. It easily lives up to its grandiose moniker.
Listen to the CarAdvice team talk to an owner of the 2017 Skoda Superb below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.
Click on the photos tab for more images by Sam Venn.