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Car reviews - Skoda - Superb - 5-dr sedan range

The Car

16 Jul 2009

SKODA Group Australia has released its third and most ambitious model to date in the flagship Superb sedan, which transforms itself into a five-door liftback like its midsize Octavia stablemate at the touch of a button.

Priced from $42,990 and pitched directly at large sedans including the homegrown Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon and Toyota Aurion, the Superb is available now in two equipment grades and with three engine choices – including the Volkswagen Group’s latest turbocharged petrol and diesel powerplants.

A 3.6-litre petrol V6-powered all-wheel drive version tops the range at $56,990 – the same price as the smaller-engined Volkswagen Passat 3.2 V6 4Motion.

The Superb also comes with the Passat’s 125kW 2.0-litre TDI engine, priced from $45,990 in entry-level Ambition specification, making it the only large sedan available with diesel power in Australia for under $50,000, apart from Hyundai’s Grandeur 2.2 CRDi ($41,990).

Based on a stretched version of the VW Group’s PQ46 modular platform, which underpins everything from the Golf to the Octavia and Passat, the second-generation Superb revives a 1930s Skoda model name that predates even Volkswagen, which bought the Czech brand in 1990.

Hence, it offers enough rear legroom (157mm) to rival the long-wheelbase Statesman and a huge 565-litre boot that eclipses even the Falcon’s, extending to a wagon-like 1670 litres with the rear seats folded.

The cavernous cargo area can be accessed via both the split/folding rear seat and a traditional sedan-style bootlid that, thanks to Skoda’s clever patented TwinDoor tailgate design, doubles as a large rear liftback to make un/loading easier while retaining all of the refinement benefits of a sedan.

Opening the all-automatic Superb range is the 1.8 TSI Ambition at just under $43,000 – the same price as the less powerful Passat 2.0 103TDI sedan, which puts the least expensive Superb in the same ballpark as the Berlina V6 and Falcon G6, but makes it pricier than large Japanese sedans such as Honda’s Accord and the Nissan Maxima.

The 1611kg Superb range-starter is motivated by VW’s 118kW/250Nm 1.8-litre turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine, mated to VW’s latest seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual (DSG) transmission.

Running on recommended 98 RON premium unleaded, the least expensive Superb sprints to 100km/h in a claimed 8.5 seconds, consumes an ADR 81/02 combined average of 8.4 litres of fuel per 100km, emits 200gm of carbon dioxide per kilometre and has stated top speed of 220km/h.

With a six-speed DSG transmission, the $3000 more expensive Superb 2.0 TDI ($45,990) delivers more power (125kW) and torque (350Nm), slightly slower acceleration (0-100km/h in 8.8 seconds), the same 220km/h top speed and better fuel economy (6.9L/100km) and CO2 emissions (182g/km). It has a tare weight of 1655kg and comes with a particulate filter.

Both front-drive four-cylinder Superb variants are available in base Ambition specification guise and, for an extra $3000, top-shelf Elegance form, bringing the top-spec 1.8 TSI to the same $45,990 price as the 2.0 TDI Ambition, and the 2.0 TDI Elegance to $48,990.

All Superbs come standard with a total of nine airbags, including twin front, front-side, rear-side, side curtain and a driver’s knee airbag, plus ESP electronic stability control including ABS brakes and a hill-holder, front foglights with cornering function, tyre pressure monitoring, five adjustable head restraints, five three-point seatbelts, rear parking sensors and remote central locking.

There is also standard dual-zone climate-control with B-pillar outlet, a four-spoke leather-clad steering wheel with audio controls, an eight-speaker ‘Bolero’ six-CD/MP3 sound system, trip computer, cruise control, power windows, power-folding/heated mirrors, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, heated and height-adjustable front seats, automatic wipers and headlights, and an umbrella stored Rolls-Royce-style within the left-rear door.

The Elegance specification level, however, adds an alarm system with interior monitoring, 17x7.5-inch ‘Trifid’ alloy wheels (with 225/45 tyres) instead of the Ambition’s 16x7.0-inch ‘Spectrum’ alloys (with 205/55 tyres), powered front seats with memory, chromed side rub strips, a 400-Watt/10-speaker premium sound system, rear footwell illumination, bi-Xenon headlights with four-way Adaptive Frontlight System and headlight washers, rear window blind and cup-holders in the standard rear armrest.

In addition, the flagship Superb Elegance 4x4 V6 FSI offers a rear bootlid spoiler, leather trim and 18x7.5-inch ‘Themisto’ alloys with 225/40 tyres, but instead of the 16-inch steel spare wheel in four-cylinder variants, the V6 AWD flagship comes with a space-saving temporary spare because an 18-inch wheel won’t fit in the spare wheel well.

The flagship Superb’s 3.6-litre direct-injection petrol V6 produces a benchmark 191kW and the same 350Nm of torque as the diesel – between 2500 and 5000rpm, rather than 1750-2500rpm. It’s enough to propel the 1805kg range-topper to 100km/h in a claimed 6.5 seconds and on to a 250km/h top speed, but sees the only AWD version consume 10.2L/100km of 98 RON PULP and emit 243g/km of CO2.

Like the 2.0 TDI, the 3.6 FSI drives through a six-speed DSG transmission, and in this case a Haldex centre coupling that directs torque to the rear wheels when required. All three DOHC engines are transverse-mounted, meet the Euro IV emission standard and can tow 750kg (1500kg with a braked trailer).

The Superb measures a Commodore-like 4838mm long, 1817mm wide and 1462mm high, and rides on a 2761mm wheelbase. Four-cylinder models have an aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.30Cd, while the V6 is slightly less slippery at 0.31Cd.

Superb options include leather trim for non-V6 versions, a powered driver’s seat with memory for the base 1.8 TSI, front parking sensors, an electric sunroof with solar cells that ventilate the cabin when parked like the new Prius I-Tech does, the Park Assist parallel parking assistance system, DVD-based ‘Columbus’ satellite-navigation with 30GB hard-drive, rear-side window blinds TDI and V6 only), a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with DSG shift paddles and metallic paint.

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Did you know?

The Superb is 4838mm long, 1817mm wide and 1462mm high, making it some 50mm longer and 10mm lower but about the same width as the current-generation Volkswagen Passat on which it is based.

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