2018 Skoda Superb Range Review

Skoda Superb Sportline

Overall Rating

0

4.5 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
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Safety, value & features

5 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

5 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

4 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

3 out of 5 stars

Technology

5 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProVast passenger and luggage space, excellent performance and economy, value for money.

  2. ConPatchy regular suspension tune, lack of traction on front-drive models, mediocre front seats.

  3. The Pick: 2018 Skoda Superb 206 TSI (4x4) 4D Sedan

What stands out?

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The Skoda Superb is all about the amount of room it manages to squeeze into an upper-medium-sized car for an everyday medium-car price. All versions come with automatic emergency braking.

What might bug me?

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Trying to fit large items under the boot lid in tight or low-roofed parking spaces. While Skoda calls the ‘notchback’ Superb a sedan, it’s actually a ‘liftback’, meaning it has a tailgate that incorporates the boot section and rear window into a single unit, which isn’t as easy to lift as a normal boot.

Having to rotate the wheels often to prevent the extra wear on the front tyres fitted to the front-wheel-drive 162TSI turbo-petrol and 140TDI turbo-diesel models. While they offer strong performance, it can be all too much for the front tyres, especially when accelerating hard over bumps or on slippery surfaces.

Feeling uncomfortable in the front seats on long drives, especially if you have broad shoulders. For such a spacious vehicle, the standard front seats are rather narrow. Anyone with a larger frame may find they lack sufficient support for proper long-distance comfort.

What body styles are there?

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A four-door ‘liftback’ sedan and a five-door wagon.

The Skoda Superb is either front- or all-wheel drive and is classed as a medium-sized car.

What features do all versions have?

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Adaptive cruise control, which automatically maintains a safe distance from vehicles ahead on the highway. It also works at slow speeds including when stopping and starting in traffic jams.

In-car entertainment and technology includes an 9.2-inch colour touchscreen with satellite navigation, plus Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.

A reversing camera, and rear parking sensors (which help you judge how far the bumpers are from obstacles).

Advanced driver assistance including automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert and driver fatigue detection.

Emergency Assist which stops the car and flashes the hazard lights if it senses the driver is unresponsive.

A hill-holder, which operates the brakes automatically to make uphill starts easier.

Three-zone climate control, so that the driver, front and rear passengers can have different temperatures. Rear air vents.

Part leather height-adjustable front seats, leather-rimmed steering wheel, chilled glovebox and front storage compartment to help keep food and drinks fresh, footrests for rear-seat passengers, removable rubbish bins in the front door pockets and even built-in, mould-resistant umbrellas in each front door.

Rain-sensing wipers with heated washer jets, electrically adjustable and heated side mirrors, heat-insulating tinted glass and remote central locking.

Daytime running lights, illuminated by extremely long-lived LEDs, dusk-sensing headlights, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Wheels made from an alloy of aluminium, which are lighter than steel wheels and don’t need plastic trim caps. A tyre pressure monitor, which warns you if a tyre has lost air (this can give you extra time to get a slow puncture seen to).

An idle-stop system (often called ‘stop/start’) switches the engine off automatically when stopped in traffic or at lights, depending on the gradient of the road and the demands of the air-conditioner.

Nine airbags. Anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control – which helps you control a skidding car. (For the placement of airbags, and more on Superb safety systems, please open the Safety section below.)

Every Skoda Superb carries a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

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The Australian Skoda range has three 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine choices including the 140 TDI turbo-diesel, and 162TSI and 206TSI turbo petrols. The 140TDI is the most economical, with an official fuel consumption rate of just 4.8 litres/100km.

The 162TSI and 206TSI are also reasonably frugal considering their power output –6.4 litres/100km and 7.3 litres/100km respectively.

The front-wheel-drive 140TDI diesel and 162TSI petrol are slightly different propositions, with the diesel afeeling a little lacklustre compared to the petrol engine.

The Superb 206TSI 4x4 offers excellent performance and its four-wheel-drive setup ensures all that power is transferred to the road, unlike the 162TSI and, to a lesser extent, the 140TDI, which have issues with maintaining traction through the front wheels only.
All three engines are coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission.

What key features do I get if I spend more?

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The least costly 162 TSI, and the 140TDI models differ by their engines, with the turbo diesel engine costing around $4000 extra. Both feature 18-inch alloy wheels and eight-speaker sound system.

Another additional cost is between the sedan and wagon body shapes, with the latter attracting a $1700 premium.

Upgrading to the Superb 206TSI brings all-wheel drive and a more powerful 206kW version of the base model’s 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, as well as standard 19-inch alloy wheels, LED interior ambient lighting and keyless entry and start.

The drive is enhanced too, with Driving Mode Selection (offering Comfort, Normal and Sport settings for the transmission, steering and accelerator tuning), steering-wheel gearshift paddles and sports suspension (that lowers the Superb’s ride height by 15mm).

The 206TSI Sportline has all that plus has more athletic exterior trim, including rear spoiler, chrome exhaust and black grille.

Handling is also improved with adaptive chassis control (which adjusts suspension and steering settings to suit different driving conditions), sports seats, flat-bottomed leather sports steering wheel with silver stitching, foot-swipe boot opener, premium Canton 12-speaker sound system, automatic park assist, power-adjusted passenger seats and heated rear seats.

The Sportline has a unique colour option called Dragon Skin – a distinctive gold metallic – which attracts a $1700 premium.

‘Image’, ‘Tech’ and ‘Comfort’ option packages give the 162TSI and 140TDI some of the handling and comfort enhancements featured in the 206 TSI models. Other options are available across the range including electric sunroof and premium paint.

How comfortable is it?

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If you’re riding in the back seat of a Superb, then very much so. It’s enormous. A stadium-like view over the front buckets combines with superior cushion and shoulder support, and separate rear-seat temperature control, to make the back row the best seat(s) in the house. No wonder the Superb has been put into service the world over as an executive carry-all.

Thing is, unless you’ve ticked the Tech Pack option, thereby gaining Adaptive Chassis Control, the Superb’s rough-road ride quality isn’t up to the limousine-like ambience of its rear seat. It’s all a bit patchy and not quite in sync, with persistent tyre noise on coarse surfaces. There are more comfortable and controlled rides on offer in the Superb’s price class.

And when you move to the front row, it takes another step down the ladder. While the Superb’s Alcantara-trimmed front seats look great, they offer significantly inferior comfort to those fitted to the closely related Volkswagen Passat. Firmly padded, with short cushions and a lack of back support, the standard front buckets are at odds with the Superb’s otherwise beautifully presented interior.

Best tick the Comfort Pack option box if you’re a princess-and-the-pea type.

What about safety?

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All Superb models boast a very high level of safety, including automatic emergency braking which became standard equipment across the range for the 2018 model year along with lane keeping assist, side blind spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert.

As well as a nine airbags and an anti-skid braking system, the Superb will sound audible and visible warning that the car in front is too close. It can also bring the car to a complete stop if it thinks an accident is about to occur. That said, if the driver applies steering direction and accelerates, the system responds to the commands and will release the brakes.

If the car detects the driver is unresponsive, Emergency Assist brings a car to a stop and flashes the hazard lights.

This ‘City EB’ function also has some clever behind-the-scenes features. When the Front Assist detects that a vehicle is quickly approaching, the brake pads are brought into with the brake discs and the sensitivity of the Brake Assist function is increased. This ‘primes’ the braking system for a possible emergency stop. Emergency Assist also brings a car to a stop and flashes the hazard lights if the car detects the driver is unresponsive,

The rear camera makes reversing and parking much safer, and there are audible sensors front and rear.

Superb’s chief driver safety aid is called ‘Multi Collision Brake’, a system that automatically initiates braking if the car has had an accident in an attempt to prevent a subsequent collision.

There are nine airbags: two directly ahead of the front-seat occupants, a driver’s knee airbag, two to protect front occupants against side impacts, two for the rear occupants, and a curtain airbag down each side to guard all occupants against head injuries.

Every Superb has electronic stability control, which can help maintain control if the car loses grip on a slippery surface. All new cars must have this feature.

(To see a list of the safety features on any model, select the car and look under the features tab. Safety-related features are listed in red.)

The European New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) awarded the Superb its maximum five stars for crash safety. The front-wheel-drive models received a five-star ANCAP rating in March 2016 (the four-wheel-drive models are yet to be tested).

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

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If you head straight to the top, then very much so – the Superb 206TSI 4x4 is a real wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing, using its elegantly handsome shape to disguise the 206kW engine and all-wheel-drive system borrowed from Volkswagen’s high-performance Golf R.

And it gets even better if you tick the Tech Pack option, seeing it includes Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) for superior suspension suppleness and sophistication. With ACC, you can select Comfort for motorway cruising or Sport for tenacious handling on smooth, twisty roads.

The front-drive 162TSI petrol and 140TDI diesel are slightly different propositions. The decidedly muscular petrol – the same engine, incidentally, as featured in a VW Golf GTI – offers breathtaking performance for the price, but without the traction of its more-powerful all-wheel drive sibling, it often struggles to transfer its power to the road. And it isn’t as well-sorted in terms of ride and handling either – neither of which can match the highs of its engine and transmission.

The diesel also has its occasional traction issues, but its lazier personality better suits the front-drive Superb’s suspension tune. It’s an effortless mile-eater and is exceptionally economical. That said, that also applies to both petrol models.

How is life in the rear seats?

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The Superb is a more comfortable car in the rear than it is at the front. It’s very spacious, with a great view over the front seats and the rear seat has excellent cushion and shoulder support.

Back seat passengers also get their own separate temperature control with separate air vents.

How is it for carrying stuff?

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The best there is. Skoda claims a cavernous luggage capacity of 625 litres for the boot in the ‘liftback’ sedan (with a 16-inch space-saver spare wheel beneath), which is better than anything even vaguely similar in size, and a gargantuan 1760 litres with the rear backrests folded.

The handsome wagon elevates this cargo-carrying canniness to an even greater level, with 660 litres below the luggage cover, and 1950 litres with the rear seat folded flat.

The rear-seat backrest in both bodystyles is split 60:40, so it’s quite adaptable for all sorts of longer loads while still carrying three or four people. Each load area offers shopping-bag hooks, load restraint hooks, and luggage net and a 12-volt outlet.

Where is it made?

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At Skoda’s Kvasiny plant in the Czech Republic.

Are there any rivals I should consider?

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Depending what you’re after, the Superb has several key competitors in the medium and large car categories.

Key sedan and rivals include its Volkswagen Passat cousin, Holden Commodore, Mazda 6, Ford Mondeo and Subaru Outback.

I like this car, but I can't choose which version. Can you help?

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Our reviewers like the Superb 206TSI sedan with the more powerful petrol engine. It has Volkswagen Golf R power, excellent four-wheel-drive grip and handling qualities and a lot of equipment.

The wagon is also a good choice if you’re after that additional practicality.

Are there plans to update this model soon?

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The third-generation Skoda Superb was launched in 2015 and arrived in Australia in March 2016.

The 206TSI Sportline model was added to the range in February 2017. It featured additional equipment and sporty exterior trim, but no extra performance over the standard 206TSI model.

In September 2017 the Superb range received additional equipment for the 2018 model year, including automatic emergency braking as standard.

A mid-life facelift isn’t expected until at least 2020.