After owning a Skoda Octavia RS and five years of faultless ownership, it was natural to consider another Skoda product. Owner reviews of the Skoda Superb tended to be glowing and I liked the used price point.
I was checking out a Ford 2016 FG XR6 and spotted the spotless used Superb wagon on the lot. I drove both and the Skoda felt much more nimble in handling and more responsive low in the rev range. The Skoda Superb was also quieter and rode better. My wife was incredulous about the price and green-lighted the purchase.
The turn-in and nimbleness are delightful, precise, and placement in corners is so easy. Tyre pressure is critical on poor surfaces, and to get some reasonable compliance requires running 29–30psi in the rear (unladen) and 32psi in the front. Driven sensibly and with care, 6.15L/100km driving on the open road is entirely doable (without a headwind). I am using around 6.8L/100km on a day to day basis, 70 per cent highway use.
This version is a bit fussy about oil, and the factory-spec 5W30 tended to be used a little faster than ideal. A swap to 5W40 VAG-spec oil almost completely normalised oil consumption.
The luggage anchoring belt, adjustable cross bar and sliding anchoring points are very useful and storage ability is just huge. I have occasionally slept in the car on a double airbed when staying overnight at friends' parties. The GPS is accessible on the move, unlike Toyota products, and saves frustration.
The leather-trimmed seats are very comfortable and you can program the settings for mirrors and the driver's seat to each driver's key. The adjusting starts as soon as you open the driver's door – a nice touch. The stereo is quite reasonable and compares favourably to a 2013 Camry Atara SL.
Tyre choice is critical to road noise on coarse-chip surfaces. The fitted Kumho Optima tyres are hard-wearing and great handlers, but intrusive on coarse-chip bitumen.
The refinement of the petrol is turbine-like compared to the 2013 Camry SL 2.5-litre, and especially so when compared to the prior Skoda Octavia RS 125 diesel. The dry clutch seven-speed DSG has been faultless and very nicely geared. The DSG ’box always keeps the engine in the maximum torque zone at all times (above 1500rpm).
You just idle away from the lights as there is no need to rev it – the 250Nm is so accessible and responsive. The performance is akin to running a 2.5-litre Camry at 4400rpm at all times, except the Skoda produces more torque at 1500rpm. The torque curve is such that the best performance is below 5000rpm, so there's no point in manually holding gears, the DSG is always in the right gear, and several downshifts are milliseconds away from a throttle application.
The car has a presence and bearing that defy its price point, with plenty of interest received from car enthusiasts. My wife much prefers the larger petrol Superb to the Diesel Octavia for ease of driving and visibility. The adaptive headlights are a pleasure and their range of functions is amazing. The auto window closing when it rains is handy, and auto wipers are nifty.
Reliability has been flawless, but I am a proactive owner. The lack of local suspension development is clear on very poor, chopped-up undulating road surfaces when having a brisk drive – 95 per cent of the time this aspect is unnoticed (underdamped).
The lighting package of courtesy external mirror lights and a plethora of internal LED lights is yet another surprise and delightful feature. The umbrella in the door and removable rechargeable load-area torch are yet more surprises and delightful features.
In summary, the Skoda Superb is engaging and responsive to drive, rewards driver input up to seven-tenths, and is a smooth, spacious conveyance that I really look forward to driving every time.