We took delivery of our MY17 Skoda Superb 162TSI wagon with optioned Tech Pack about six weeks ago. Until this point we have only ever owned Toyota Corollas, so the step up in class was immediate and apparent.
I should add, I’m not a car enthusiast by any means, and have previously only viewed cars as a necessity for getting from A to B (hence the Corollas), so please excuse any technical inaccuracies in this review.
Whilst the dealer would not move a great deal on the advertised drive away price, we did manage a slight reduction and also got three years of scheduled servicing included. I was concerned about Skoda’s resale value, but by agreeing to use Skoda finance we have also locked in an agreed future value of the car after four years. Whether we got a good deal in the end or not is debatable, but now it’s done and dusted so let’s focus on the car.
We wanted a traditional 'Aussie' family wagon for our growing family, and quickly found our choices were limited to boring SUV, boring SUV or another SUV.
I spent a LOT of time on CarAdvice reading reviews of wagons and SUVs (shameless plug). Not being a car enthusiast, I didn’t have a firm idea of what would suit us best.
I am only around 6'0 but have a long torso, and found my head hit the roof in the Mazda 6 wagon, the Ford Mondeo wagon, and the Hyundai i40 wagon, even with the seats set at their lowest setting. I like the seatback quite upright when I'm driving, so wasn't prepared to compromise by tilting it back for better headroom. We also test drove the Hyundai Tuscon, but compared to the others it just seemed, well, shabby.
Our choice came down to the Subaru Outback and the Skoda Superb. The BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi equivalents were out of our price range, and we thought the Skoda represented better value than the VW Passat, which we didn’t test drive. In the end the Superb won as it was cheaper to service, offered better fuel economy, and was slightly more spacious than the Outback. I also found that the positioning of the Outback’s ‘Eyesight’ camera’s meant that you couldn’t put the driver sun visor fully flat against the windscreen, this then resulted in the visor obscuring my vision and having to duck to see under it on long drives wasn’t ideal.
The Superb has so much space it is ridiculous. I can’t even reach the kids in the back seat from the front (which also means they can’t kick the seats). On a recent trip to Costco, I fitted two boxes of nappies, eight rolls of kitchen towel, three cases of bottled water, two cases of beer and various other purchases in the boot with ample room to spare.
The storage solutions that come standard in the boot are incredibly thoughtful. My favourites are the Velcro 90-degree angle brackets that stick to the carpet to stop boxes sliding around. There are also four bag hooks, and two cargo nets that come standard to assist in securing cargo in the back. The boot light doubles as a LED torch that may come in useful for finding small items in the cavernous space.
Have I mentioned the driver and passenger side umbrellas in the door?
Driving-wise, this is the first time we have ever driven or owned a car with 19-inch tyres, so the ride quality took some getting used to. I find the DSG fine, and haven’t experienced any issues in the first 1000kms, but I have been driving like Grandad Bob to get used to the larger and more powerful car. If there was a manual option for this car that would have been my preference, personally I find them more engaging to drive; the DSG is just a bit, well, boring.
The auto boot opening that comes with the Tech Pack is great for when you have a small child under one arm and shopping in the other.
The one thing that truly irritates me is the auto stop-start. Yes, you can turn it off, and it’s fine when stopped at traffic lights, but when you have to stop at a roundabout or give way sign it is just that little bit too slow to get going again to be fully confident about making gaps in traffic. I have started toggling it on and off depending on the intersection I am approaching.
The 162kW engine has more than enough power for our style of driving, and we’re looking forward to taking it on a highway run at some stage in the near future to give the cruise control a good workout.
All of the safety features are still a novelty to us, including the rear-view camera, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning. We are still not sick of the ‘ping’ telling us we are approaching an immoveable object.
The kids love the in-built sun visors that pull up from the bottom of the rear windows.
The Superb also comes with a chilled glovebox and centre console for keeping those drinks cool on hot days. However, we have realised the bottle holders in the centre console are not wide enough to fit a standard 750ml drink bottle, these have to be stored in the door pockets. The centre holders are best suited to takeaway coffee cups or 600ml PET bottles.
This car is very long, and with the 19 inch rims, very low. This has led to some concerns when reversing down even not-so-steep driveways, and also approaching gutters when parking. The park assist sensors go in to overdrive quite often.
I was quite shocked when my first tank of 98RON fuel cost $106. I realised I wasn’t driving a Corolla anymore. We got around 720km out of the first tank, and that was all city and suburban driving. I’d be hopeful of somewhere approaching 1000kms for a full tank on the highway.
I think when you buy a Skoda, you buy a certain sense of ‘smug’. This is certainly true of our purchase, for the first time I feel like my car has a definite sense of identity. Especially whenever I pass yet another one of those boring as bat guano CX-5s.