There are many cars on the Indian roads and as an automobile afficionado, I always try to remember the name of a car whenever it passes by. Sometimes, it so happens that the very car passes by me and then slows down. It gives me time to actually read the whole name and the variant, then guess what all features it may have. It was my childhood play thing wherein me and my friends used to just guess the name of a bike by hearing its exhaust melancholy. Most of the times, I would be the only one to guess it correctly. Later on that transformed to guessing a car from a distance by its rear end. The reason I am telling you all this is because I just failed to guess which car it was. The only thing that I could guess was it has got its roots entrenched somewhere deep in Germany. The car in question turned out to be a Skoda Superb. Yes, the very own Skoda Superb in India. Irrestible as it was, I couldn’t wait to review it and as luck would have it, got my request approved as well. As they say, “Beggars can’t be choosers”, I had to make do with the mid of the line 1.8 TSI variant. Not a bad thing, eh! Lets get down to the show, baby.
Skoda Superb Looks
The new Skoda Superb in India is actually the second generation one and now features the corporate look of the company. It has chrome embellishments adorning its grille. The quadrangular head lamps flanking the grille house one of the most powerful lights in its catergory and may be one above. They also carry head lamp washers, heated or cold whichever way you want it. There is a provision for day time running lamps inside the head lamp shroud however for India, those have been disconnected from the battery relay. The single piece bumper gets big fog lamps as well as big, vertical air dam slats. If you would remove the grille and place two kidney mimics and a BMW badge, then this car can be easily mistaken for the 5 series. No doubt in that. The bonnet is a creased unit featuring three creases.
The Skoda Superb 1.8 TSI gets 16 inch multi spoke alloy wheels whereas the top of the line V6 model gets different alloy pattern and 17 inch wheels. The turn indicators are mounted on the outside rear view mirrors. The door handles are body colored and the door sills have a chrome outline.
Starting back to my point of obsession, it seems that it has been inspired from somewhere and then I realize it, its parent company Volkswagen, the Volkswagen Phaeton and off late, the Audi A4. Not a bad idea though. The tail lamp is split by the boot. Ahem! two exhausts for the Skoda Superb in India. I think there would be 4 for the V6 engine.
Skoda Superb Interiors
Apart from the looks, the best thing that I look forward to in a German car is the interiors. They are well executed and speaking of Skoda, they make one of the best interiors in India with the Skoda Superb in India been no exception. This face lifted model features beige interiors as opposed to the dark that we have been getting from Skoda Auto India so far. The cabin is a mix and match of wood trim with classy materials. If given a chance, I would have spent an entire life in the cabin of this car. The fronts seats are at a considerable distance from the steering wheel that the small ones in stature would probably face a big problem handling the car. Not for me though. However I found that the seats are 12 way adjustable and they adjust for height and lumbar support. Well, the seats even have memory functions in them. The 4 spoke steering wheel is shared with all the other Skoda Auto India cars however, this one has steering mounted audio controls. The instrument panel is slightly different from other Skodas however not by much. It features a trip meter, odometer, fuel gauge, all the warning lights, tyre pressure monitor, seat belt warning lights and many more. Actually speaking, I am confused about the features in this cabin since there are so many like the multi information function display, 12 CD audio changer system with aux and USB input, electrically adjustable rear view mirrors, leaving home lights etc.
The front seats, even though most of the Skoda Superb owners in India would be chauffeured, are very good. Infact so much so that most of the owners would be tempted to fire the chauffer and drive it themselves. The automatic climate control system works perfectly and there is a provision for even the rear seat passengers. The rear bench is perfectly executed and has enough space for three plus a kid. I did try seating three of my colleagues in office and then Radhika, she been of a short stature, was easily the fourth passenger. Believe me, each one of them was comfortable. The only grouse was the non adjustable rear head rests. There is a provision for even placing an umbrella. The boot space is also amazing at 545 liters. There are also 60:40 split rear seats which add to the convenience point. The boot loading lip is low and is a totally flat board which makes easing luggage on it, a easy chore. It is electrically operated as well.
Skoda Superb Handling and ride quality
`The Skoda Superb is built on the same platform as the Volkswagen Passat. Now, I didn’t get the opportunity to drive the Volkswagen Passat however have heard high praises about it from my colleagues. The Skoda Superb in India didn’t disappoint me. It has very good handling characteristics. I know for sure that the V6 engined beast gets 4 wheel drive system but the one I have now is only front wheel drive. The hydraulically powered steering wheel is a joy to use. Dare I say it was as communicative as BMWs unit. It provided for the right kind of feedback however it was a bit heavy in parking speeds. It weighted up nicely while on twisties or on highways. The chassis is also well sorted out but then the car is a bit reluctant to turn in the corners. It doesn’t seem to support enthusiastic driving. It seems more tuned for giving that all important ride quality that buyers in this segment expect.
Speaking of ride quality, small bumps do upset this big car however not overtly. Once the speeds build up, this car smothers everything in its path. The suspension is very quiet and goes about its duty very unobtrusively. The cabin is also very quiet and there is no wind or road noise save for some tyre noise.
Skoda Superb Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency
Now, the Skoda Superb in India is offered with three engine options. There is an all important 2.0 liter Tdi diesel engine which makes 140 Bhp and also 320 Nm of torque. It gets a 6 speed DSG automatic gearbox. The second trim is the 1.8 TSI petrol motor which I have at my disposal now. It produces 160 Bhp of power and about 256 Nm of torque. More on this engine later. The third variant is the range topping 3.6 FSI petrol which pumps out 260 Bhp and 376 Nm of torque, enough to have got bragging rights at the local club. It is mated to a 6 speed automatic DSG gearbox.
Now, concentrating on the 1.8 liter TSI engine that we have now, it is one hell of a power house. It gets a 6 speed manual as well as automatic transmission option. Skoda Auto India have actually percolated all their knowhow into their flagship model in India. The one I have is the automatic one with paddle shifts into it. Never once did I feel stressed out while driving it. The engine is one eager beaver and if the TSI motor is such, I can’t wait to get my hands, atleast, on the 3.6 FSI motor. The gear shift is too smooth and barely perceptible. The down shifts are also very quick and the paddle shifts make it all the more enjoyable to use. The motor makes enough torque all along its rev range to satisfy the miser and the enthusiast. It goes from 0-100 kmph in just 9.8 seconds. The top speed that it maxxed out is 210 kmph.
Halting this 1765 kgs beast are ventilated disc brakes at the front and solid discs at the rear. They are assisted by a host of electronic nannies like ABS, ESP, EBD, hydraulic brake assistant, mechanical brake assistant, traction control and also anti slip regulation. With all these electronic aids assisting me, I didn’t have to worry about the stopping prowess of this car. Safety is also well tended for with 4 air bags, adaptive cornering head lamps, parking sensors, acoustic warning signal for overrun speed, 3 point SRS seat belts with anti whiplash and pretensioning properties. There are many other features to stop theft of this vehicle like vehicle motion sensor, engine immobilizer with floating code system, tilt sensor and also remote controlled alarm.
Fuel efficiency isn’t a forte of TSI motors as we know from the Skoda Laura however still this car returned 9.1 kmpl in the city and 13.4 kmpl on the highway. These were the figures recorded with the air conditioner on at all the time and also with a heavy right foot. As discussed earlier, the TSI motor cannot be driven with a light foot since this car just loves speed. If you do manage to keep your right foot light, then you can definitely achieve double digit economy figures.
The Skoda Superb in India is one status symbol. Elsewhere in the midlands of Germany or Czech Republic, it is used as a fleet vehicle. Skoda Auto India have established a good name for themselves as an affordable luxury car maker in India and the Skoda Superb just amplifies it. It is their flag ship vehicle and does make sense in respect to its more expensive cousin namely the Volkswagen Passat. Its other established competitors are the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and the Nissan Teana. It has got more space than all the competition and is more luxurious than all of these combined. It only loses out on the Skoda brand image which is associated with poor after sales service. It has comparable fuel economy with the others in its class and offers 3 engine options whereas the others offer only one or at the most two options. It has got a wide array of features bin and looks the part of a status symbol. If only Skoda Auto India could improve the service aspect, they can double their sales for this SUPERB car. The Skoda Superb price in India starts from Rs 18,28,563 for the base Skoda Superb 1.8 TFSI MT and goes up to Rs 26,38,282 for the top end Skoda Superb 3.6 TFSI. This is at par with the competition if not lower than them. Skoda Auto India should also up the number of dealerships it currently has in India. As for me, I am still waiting to see if Skoda would provide me with a 3.6 TFSI Superb.
Technical specifications of the Skoda Superb 1.8 TSI AT
Engine Type: In-Line Engine
Engine Details: 1798 cc 4 cylinder DOHC with turbo stratified injection
Maximum Power: 160 Bhp @ 4,200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 256 Nm @ 1,750 rpm
Turbo Charger: Yes
Transmission: Type Dual clutch Automatic
Gear box: 7 Speed
Drive Type: Front wheel drive
Clutch Type: Hydraulic Clutch
Rear Suspension: McPherson suspension with lower triangular links & torsion stabiliser
Front Suspension: Multi-element axle, one longitudinal, three transverse links, torsion stab.
Steering Type: Hydraulic Power Assisted Rack & Pinion
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Disc
Rear Brake Type: Solid Disc
Mileage-City (kmpl): 9.1
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 13.4
Fuel Type: Petrol
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 63
Emission Norm Compliance: Euro IV
Tyre Size: 205/55 R 16
Wheel Size: 16 x 7J
Kerb weight: 1765 kgs
Seating Capacity: 5
No of Doors: 4
Cargo Volume: 545 Litres