The Skoda Superb gets a well-deserved facelift to keep up with the competition.
Nearly two years ago, we compared the then newly-launched Hyundai Sonata with Skoda’s most premium product in India – and the one thing that went against the Superb was its aging design. It’s been five years since the Superb was first launched in India, and time was ripe for Skoda to come out with a refreshed version of their high-end sedan – a change that was undoubtedly needed. Skoda had a fairly quiet 2013, until they showcased the very attractive Octavia – which is our current favourite in its segment – and following that new design direction, the updated Skoda Superb hopes to achieve a similar status in its own segment.
The refreshed Skoda Superb, however, is not an entirely new model – instead, it’s only undergone some significant exterior design changes and very minor interior modifications. Everything else remains the same, from the engine and transmission, to the chassis and other components. The first thing that you notice is that the new Superb’s design consists of sharper lines that give it a more modern look. Starting from the front, you can make out the larger grille and the nice niche carved out for the new (and quite attractive) Skoda logo. The headlamps now feature an adaptive Bi-Xenon system, with cornering lamps and LED daytime running lights. The front fenders have also been redesigned, and so has the front bumper – while the hood looks more dramatic, with sharp creases running through it. The rear section also receives a redesigned bumper, and there’s a small boot spoiler – which is functional, and not only for cosmetic reasons. Additionally, the taillights are now LEDs, and the 16-inch alloy wheels are a new design.
Styling wise, however, the mid-section of the car doesn’t look proportionate with the rest of the machine – mainly because of the elongated rear door of the Skoda Superb. Yes, of course, the extended wheelbase allows for a humongous amount of room in the rear seat, but it doesn’t do much for the proportions of the car. But, at least the Superb now looks more up to speed with the edgy design philosophy that seems to be the norm nowadays.
While the changes to the cabin are rather limited, the most obvious one is the steering wheel – which has been replaced with a three-spoke, multi-function wheel with gearshift paddles. The Skoda Superb still steers much the same as before – which is to say quite well indeed – but this new steering wheel (which also sports the new logo) adds a nice, sporty feel to the car. The touch-screen audio system has also been upgraded, and now features Bluetooth connectivity. While it retains an SD card slot, what it doesn’t have – even now – is a USB input.
There are also some important safety equipment updates, such as the fitment of eight airbags – which now include rear side airbags as well. The Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) can be turned on and off with help of a button on the centre console, and there’s Hill Hold Control as well – which stops the car from rolling down a hill while stationary on an incline. Additionally, the Superb is now fitted with a keyless-go system and an electronic start-stop button.
We drove the 1.8TSI with the 7-speed DSG. And, when it comes to the engine and transmission, everything is exactly as it was in the older car. The engine is very refined and the power output remains the same, at 158bhp with 250Nm of torque. The DSG transmission is a delight, and, in regular drive mode, the changes are quick and imperceptible. In sport mode, you get instantaneous throttle response and the transmission holds revs in a much more eager fashion – a happy consequence of which are the exciting sounds that come from the engine bay as the motor buzzes towards the redline.
Of course, you can always switch to manual mode and use the steering-mounted paddles for a more controlled driving experience. Overall, the automatic gearbox is still fantastic, and easily the benchmark in its segment. The suspension setup – slightly on the stiffer side, but still comfortable enough for our roads – has not been tampered with and does the job well. The steering is a little too light for my liking, but it’s very accurate and responsive. And while the setup is quite firm, I must say that the Skoda Superb offers the best ride-and-handling balance in its segment.
In conclusion, the Superb has been – and still is – a fantastic product. The interior space is, by far, the best in its segment, and it offers excellent features and plenty of equipment. Thankfully, with its new design language, it is now that little bit more appealing than before – and it should, in all likelihood, continue its ‘Superb’ track record in our market.
- Skoda Superb
Transmission: 7-Speed DSG With Tiptronic
Power: 158BHP @ 4500-6200
Torque: 250NM @ 1500-4500
Price: 21.97 Lakh (Ex-Showroom, Delhi)