New Skoda Superb recently launched is enjoying the most of shares in the market, as the Honda Accord and Volkswagen Passat have faded away from the shores with Hyundai Sonata making no exceptional reminiscence. It emerges clear winner of its segment, but as per to a law of management “the monopoly doesn’t exists” Skoda too has to see competition from another sect of market, i.e. the used car segment. The contender to new Superb is the big on wheels Mercedes-Benz E-Class (E 350 CDI) of past generation, the one which was available for as low as Rs 50 lakh in the showrooms, but due to the launch of a new E-Class the old ones had been spiced out, and are available in abundance at the used car dealers with the approx 2 and a half million INR price tag. (depending upon the condition and market availability). The top-end tag of the Superb is going to take on head to head with one of the best-in-class seller E-Class of times. So the competition here is who will be having the best in class title, the luxury v/s the layman’s niche. Find out…
Starting from the cosmetics on front, both of them hail from different category; Mercedes-Benz clearly speaks of its elegance with royal looks that has no restrictions in saying ‘overwhelming’ every time. Otherwise, if perceived from the viewpoint of layman, Skoda has all the pinning right to compel the every footfall on knees in showrooms. Though, we are a big fan of Benz and believe in living the King Size, so does E 350 CDI seems attracting us lot, and honestly speaking, if given a sum of that said amount of money, I would vouch for the Merc be seen in my garage as a next buy. But surely, there’s maintenance factor on forefront when the talk is of buying used. The German Star is already quite old on the roads, wafting to be taken care of every now and then. Hope so, a bit of hampering for the buyers would happen when they will face any maintenance issues. Comparatively, there aren’t huge differences in cost of ownership between the Mercedes and Skoda, relieved that much, only a “slightly” bigger hole would be created in the pocket at service intervals when bought a used niche, as compared to Skoda in India.
Interiors plays important role for a car. And whatever it may take, people always delight to sit inside the cabin of Mercedes. Here the Mercedes E 350 CDI of past generation has a good built quality. They seems to have been made to last. Anything out there on interiors doesn’t looks like a fuss, except that cluster of small buttons on central console which feels a bit confusing, but will get used to when driven daily. The overall design gesture is simple (yet we mean German) and are given detailed attention even to the minute chunks and knobs. After spending number of years on road, the Merc doesn’t leads in oodles of vibrations and rattles despite being powered by a diesel and ran for years on roads. The cabin feels a silent place to rest in, and not attributing a lot was the small amount of rattles that were sneaking in at times due to the age factor of car. On gadgets front, the Command screen is operational with only a single knob to scroll through menus. Hence, the hassle of juggling over buttons is reduced.
On comparison, the Skoda too has taken the challenge uphill to compete the Merc. Designers of Skoda seem to have designed the new Superb keeping in mind the upmarket saloons. Hence, the outcome can be clearly witnessed inside the cabin. Ranging from the seats to small buttons and knobs, everything feels well-crafted and composed. The beige theme inside the cabin is eye-soothing, and relaxing as what one would definitely ask from a car of Skoda in India. Front seat has ample of legroom, and if the buyers want more, they can jump into the rear. The rear seat of new Superb feels so big that even a seven-footer will not complain either. Genuinely, we find the space in this car is like no other car in the country, nor even Mercedes, BMW or Audi would deliver such measurement in their products of same category. It feels envying all three of them, and that’s where the Czech based carmaker is cashing upon in India to a larger extent. And coming to the boot, the tailgate is comprised of rear windshield like a BMW GT, lending a good amount of ozone to seep in the luggage. On the E 350 CDI, boot opening is a conventional one, and probably feels shorter in measurement.
Now, under the hoods, Skoda Superb is powered by a 2.0L diesel producing 140bhp and 32.6kgm of healthy torque. The power revs at early stoke of accelerations, with no delays in leaning the speedometer tip northwards. It has power distributed in a linear pattern, which feels always meaty in every section of gear. This too makes the drives to less use the tip-tronic. Thanks to its dual clutch, the not so aggressive dab on pedal takes the car to fierce. Its tall sixth gear also aides to maintain the hunger of adrenaline even at a higher range. Being frank, the speed numbers starts to less progressive pace after the mark of 170kph, but that’s understood when you can fire strong rounds till that mark with every driving pattern, either on turns or on straight roads, with no negative feedbacks.
Moving to the Germans once again, the bay under bonnet is a hideout of a beasty V6 that makes almost no sound at all. It silently sits underneath and beat others with its unmatched power of 231bhp and 55kgm of torque. Obviously, its top speed and pulling power is more than the Skoda, likewise to a performance car. A gentle dab on pedal is enough to push you forward in a zest, that too in a typical sophisticated Mercedes style. The various driving modes cheers up the mood every time. Even in the traffic, it doesn’t implicate a heavy load being tied to a steering. E-Class and other Mercedes as well are better known for the driving pleasure. This one doesn’t make an exception to the said.
Overall, as we had said, the war is between a niche and a layman, both of them has locked their horns and it was impeccable to say the layman’s car (Skoda Superb) has competed courageously taking the lead right in the niche context up to the last. It broke down only when we opened its bonnet, and found that shying moment ruling such a good car with a 2.0L diesel engine. Otherwise, the remaining aspects of new Superb are worth looking forward to. But wait, we hadn’t ruled out the possibility of Mercedes not winning the fight. In India, we give a lot of importance to the German’s three-pointed star logo over others. And sitting in the alp of niche is altogether a different experience. Mercedes-Benz E 350 CDI of past generation may fall heavy on the pocket in maintenance and ownership cost, but that much overshadow of expenses are understood when give to drive an attractive Merc saloon. So, both of them have something or the else to win over the other. On the fair context, Skoda Superb ranks best as the most equipped car, the Mercedes-Benz E 350 CDI on the best in driving note. Ultimately, the choice is yours!
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