The Skoda Superb just continues to get better, and its latest incarnation, especially in 4x4 guise, puts it on top of its game, writes John Oxley.
When I first saw the test car I was picking up, I was a bit stunned. The Skoda Superb has always been a good-looking car, but in glossy black it just looks that much more impressive. Its clean-cut lines flow beautifully from front to rear, it has a “proper” grille – but not overstated – and as a wagon it’s business like without being bulky.
Our test vehicle was the top-of-the line diesel, the 140kW/400Nm rip-snorter that packs a lot of punch while only tickling the edges of the fuel consumption meter.
At the same time the interior is well put-together and smart, without being over-flash, and it’s just packed with the sort of equipment you pay a lot extra for if you’re buying the comparable car from parent company Volkswagen.
Having said that, there are still some option boxes you can tick, but those are just aimed at making the car more suited to your personal tastes. The Rough Road Package, for instance, is a $400 option (not a bad choice if you travel a lot on gravel roads), while Park Assist with parallel park button costs an extra $950. And you’ll pay a whacking $2,500 extra for Dynamic Chassis Control which includes Driving Mode Select, and the $950 for adaptive cruise control. Our test car had both, and well worth the extra cost
And the space! If you’re looking to move out of a six-cylinder Aussie car into something MUCH more economical, but don’t want to lose out on the interior room, the carrying capacity, or the driving oomph, then this could be what you are looking for.
Although it’s only two-litre compared to the much bigger engines we are used to, the VW-derived TDI turbo-diesel is lacking nothing when it comes to the punch department, with a huge surge of torque available from as low as 1,750 and up to 3,250rpm, while the torque curve is wonderfully managed by the six-speed DSG gearbox.
It gives almost lineal acceleration for quick and easy overtaking, with manual mode and paddle shifters if you want to swap cogs yourself.
Talking of modes, the Driving Mode Select button transforms the ride from smooth and comfortable to taut and superbly balanced, the latter offering great chassis control, which, coupled with all-wheel drive, means this big wagon sticks to the road like the proverbial, but with no signs of the understeer you might expect.
Steering is crisp and turn-in, well, sweet.
As mentioned, standard equipment levels are high, and the Superb comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone projection as standard, tri-zone climate control, a leather-rimmed multi-function steering wheel, driver and front passenger’s electric seats which are heated and have a memory function on the driver’s side, an electric opening tailgate, Drive Mode Select, front and rear parking sensors with a backing camera, fog lights with a cornering function, 19-inch alloy wheels, lane assist and blind spot detection, keyless entry and start, and autonomous city braking.
There’s full leather interior, an eight-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, Bluetooth and voice control, and most useful, a storage box with a cover in the luggage compartment, plus Skoda’s removable Unibag.
Add in a truly massive amount of boot space, and one wonders why so many people feel the need to have to climb up into a top-heavy SUV when they can swoop along in low body-roll comfort!
Body type Five-door wagon
Drive All-wheel drive
Engine type Inline four-cyl. diesel
Engine capacity 1,968cc
Max power 140kW/3,500rpm
Max torque 400Nm/1,750rpm
Fuel consumption 5.1L/100km
C02 emissions 133g/km
0-100km/h 7.7 seconds
Front suspension MacPherson strut
Rear suspension Multi-link
Roof rack No
ABS brakes Yes
Stability programme Yes
Air conditioning Tri-zone climate
Lap/diagonal belts Five
Satellite navigation Yes
Electric seats Yes
Burglar alarm Yes
Boot release Yes
Cargo cover Yes
Boot capacity 660/1,950 litres
Wheel type 19-inch alloy
Spare tyre Inflator kit
ANCAP rating Five stars