The new Skoda Superb has been getting… superb reviews (sorry, first and last one) from everyone, including journalists on this site. It should be a given then, that I would absolutely rave about it especially since it is my second Skoda Superb after owning a previous generation 118TSI Elegance for over four years.
When I was searching for an upgrade, my shortlist featured the Hyundai Genesis, BMW 328i (slightly older 2012 or 2013) and 162TSI Superb.
We still have two toddlers, so a lack of space and lack of active safety kit eliminated the BMW. I was about to take the plunge on a two-year-old Genesis when an old contact informed me about a Skoda/VW ex-company vehicle with a couple of small dents in it; approximate saving over a new vehicle of around $10k.
Two weeks later I picked up my 2016 Superb 162TSI with just under 5000km on the clock. A white, base model sedan with the only optional extras one dent on the driver’s door, one on the front fender and a particularly nasty one on the boot immediately under the Skoda badge.
My first stop was at a magician named Chris; $200 later and the car is PERFECT!
Without dents, the new generation Superb is a looker especially compared to the “rich-old-lady-that-made-the-wrong-surgery-decisions” of the previous generation.
Although it is the base model, and as such the cheapest car in the range, I think it is still a bargain. It has everything you need in a family car with an added bonus of using the same 162kW 2.0-litre petrol, four-cylinder engine and gearbox from a Golf GTI.
That figure of 162kW is good enough, but it is really the thick slab of mid-range torque available from 1500-4400rpm that defines this engine; all 350Nm of it.
I timed it at 6.76sec to 100km/h with a VBOX, so yes, it is a very quick car. Unfortunately, in most circumstances, you can’t use more than half throttle in first gear and even in second, wheel spin will occasionally be evident. In short, this is pretty much at the limit of how much torque you want to send to a FWD car.
The DSG remains a DSG. Sometimes it will be crawling in second gear when it should be in first and vice versa. Once on the move, it is (mostly) very good.
After completing an almost 3000km trip from Melbourne to Sydney and back I can report the following fuel consumption. Great on the open road, disappointing in and around town.
It comes with an ADR claim of 6.4L/100km. You can absolutely forget about that. On exactly the same 120km loop visiting family on Sundays, the Skoda consumes 0.2l/100km more than our other car, a Kia Sorento rated at 7.8L/100km.
This is a bit disappointing since one of my reasons not buying the Genesis was the huge potential fuel saving. In short, the real ADR rating should be about 8.0L/100km. On a side note; my previous 118TSI Superb was rated much higher at 7.3L/100km and was much more fuel efficient.
Ride and handling is good for a car of this size. I suspect the 18-inch wheels probably help to lessen transfer of bumps to the cabin. Comfort is the name of the game and when you dial the heat up to Peri-Peri level it falls apart slightly; rebound is just a bit too slow.
Noise is kept low most of the time when cruising, but coarse chip roads generate more intrusion than wanted. A set of comfort-oriented tyres in lieu of the Pirellis will fix this.
The interior is dominated by the sheer size of it. Space is not in short supply in this car; it is massive! You have limo-specced rear legroom and the boot is similar in size to most large SUVs.
The seats are covered is covered in a leather-Alcantara combination. I was disappointed by this but it turns out it is more comfortable than full leather seats which are almost always either too hot or cold when you get in the car.
It is very well specified for a base model car with radar-cruise, AEB, tri-zone climate control, Android/Apple, heated and folding door mirrors, auto dipping reverse mirror and the usual stuff like auto headlights, wipers, electric memory heated seats et cetera.
I must say, comparing with the previous model Superb, I think Skoda has been told to “pull their heads in” by VW head office. The previous Suberb’s interior quality (considering it was released in 2008) was excellent. Not everything was soft touch but it was solid as a rock. No rattles or squeaks and kicked the Passat of that same era’s butt (case in point, a soft-touch glovebox; name a car that has that). But, the new Superb feels a small step below the new Passat; it's almost as if Skoda was not allowed to make it nicer.
Now for the... but. My big issue with my first Superb was that the DSG clutch packs were replaced twice and the shudder started again when I sold it. I thought no way the new Superb, with the six-speed, wet clutch system would have the same issues. Imagine the pain when it started shuddering in reverse at only 18000km.
In addition, the engine started periodically misfiring/stuttering at full tilt acceleration; remember this is the same engine as a Golf GTI. The third, and last, straw for me was some clip-on chrome trim around the rear door which came loose and had to be stuck on with glue.
When a colleague was looking for a large car to cater for a new family member, I offered him the Superb; passing on my savings to him and getting most of my money back (yes, I did disclose the teething issues I’ve had but the car does have a five-year warranty until 2021).
I am now officially done with VW products (at least for the next couple of years). When I think of the VAG company in the future I will remember my trusty 2001 Audi A6 2.4 from more than decade ago, the only beacon of light amongst a sea of VW group turds I have owned.