Skoda Superb

Debut: 2008
Maker: Skoda
Predecessor: Superb (2002)

New Superb is no longer a stretched version of VW Passat...

While Western European car makers emphasize on style and sporty handling, Skoda of Czech Republic chooses another route: comfort, practicality and value. The rough roads in its home country dictate its comfort-biased suspension tuning. Lack of a strong brand means it is better to sell practicality (more space and more features) than style or sophistication. In addition to the lower production costs in Czech, Skoda can assure excellent value for money.

But Skoda is not just all about comfort, practicality and value. Its products are also well engineered and built, thanks to the solid engineering from mother company Volkswagen AG. Take the old Skoda Superb for example, it was virtually a stretched version of contemporary Volkswagen Passat. No wonder its build quality and engineering excellence shocked many Western rivals. However, because of the same reason the original Superb lacked its own identity – in fact, it was not dissimilar to the long-wheelbase Passat produced and sold in China. People still saw them as localized and badge-engineered version of Volkswagen Passat.


The most special feature is its boot, doubled as sedan and hatchback...

For the second generation Superb, Skoda distinguishes it further apart from the current generation Volkswagen Passat. From outside, there is completely no traces of Volkswagen, which is a relieve to Wolfsburg as it will no longer be criticized for asking higher price for virtually the same car. The exterior styling of this Skoda is conservative, unquestionably. With solid build quality and some elegant details, it may appeal to older customers, but young drivers will find its profile too boxy. Unlike the sporty profile of Ford Mondeo, Citroen C5, Mazda 6 or Honda Accord (Euro), the Skoda has a long and flat roof line, narrow shoulders and near vertical side windows to maximize interior space.

The sacrifice in style pays off in cabin room. Although the new Superb runs a shorter wheelbase than its predecessor (2761mm vs 2803mm), its rear passengers got 2 cm of extra legroom. That makes a spacious interior even more spacious. Among its rivals only Ford Mondeo could match it, but remember the Mondeo needs some 2850mm of wheelbase. Apart from space, the cabin of Superb is also very well made, with soft plastics covering the upper half of dashboard, neat layout of controls and a solid feel of assembly like typical Volkswagen products.

However, the most special feature is its boot. There is an electric lock at the top edge of the boot lid which could lock the boot lid together with the rear window so that they become a tailgate. Press one button will open the boot lid only, like a conventional sedan. Press another button will open the tailgate, like a hatchback. So the Superb is a sedan and a hatchback simultaneously. That said, how useful of this double-characters remains to be seen.

Conservative looks supplemented by German solidity appeals to older customers...

Skoda said the new Superb is built on an independent platform, but no one actually believes. Volkswagen group has been an expert of platform sharing since the days of Ferdinand Piech, so how come the new Skoda not share platform with other models of the group ? In fact, this car still utilizes a lot of components from the current Passat, such as suspensions, steering and powertrains. This ensure high standard of quality and performance and save unnecessary investment. The Superb is also said to employ many components from Octavia, which lifts percentage of local components to save purchasing costs. However, don’t forget that Octavia is built on the PQ35 platform of Volkswagen Golf, which is also shared with Passat. There is no such thing called “independent platform” in Volkswagen group.

Thanks to the platform sharing, Superb is available with some of the best engines in the mass production world, such as the 125hp 1.4-liter direct injection turbo (1.4 TSI), 160hp 1.8-liter direct injection turbo (1.8 TSI) and 170hp 2.0-liter common-rail turbo diesel. As you might have heard already about their excellence in other AutoZine reports, I am not going to repeat here. Other competitive, if not the best-in-class engines include 105hp 1.9-liter 8V pump-injection turbo diesel and 140hp 2.0-liter 16V pump-injection turbo diesel. Oddly, the range-topping 260hp 3.6-liter narrow-angle V6 is actually the most disappointing. This is partly because its naturally aspirated torque curve is not as flat as the smaller turbocharged engines, partly because it carries much more weight due to its compulsory Haldex 4WD system. This mean in urban area it shows little advantage over the 1.8 TSI or 2.0 TDI engine. Anyway, few people will spend so much money on a Skoda.

What makes it appealing are still comfort, practicality and value for money...

On the road, the Superb is more about comfort and refinement than excitement. You will be pleased with its absorbent ride, low noise level and excellent cruising refinement. If you regularly drive on poor country roads, you may prefer it to the stiffly-sprung German saloons. However, when you up the pace in mountain roads, you will find it clearly lacks the agility of Ford Mondeo. Body control and steering are only average. Admittedly, its handling is more capable than its bulky looks suggested, but it never feels sporty, and it doesn't engage its driver very much.

What makes it appealing are still comfort, practicality and value for money. These have silently become the core values of Skoda.
The above report was last updated on 20 May 2008. All Rights Reserved.


General remarks

Superb 1.8TSI
Superb 2.0TDI
Superb 3.6 V6 4x4
Front-engined, FWD
Front-engined, FWD Front-engined, 4WD
Steel monocoque
Steel monocoque Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
Mainly steel Mainly steel
Length / width / height 4838 / 1783 / 1461 mm 4838 / 1783 / 1461 mm 4838 / 1783 / 1461 mm
Wheelbase 2761 mm 2761 mm 2761 mm
Inline-4, diesel
V6, 10.6-degree
1798 cc
1968 cc 3598 cc
Valve gears
DOHC 16 valves, VVT
DOHC 16 valves
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
VTG turbo
Other engine features
Max power
160 hp / 5000 rpm
170 hp / 4200 rpm
260 hp / 6000 rpm
Max torque
184 lbft / 1500-4200 rpm
258 lbft / 1750-2500 rpm
258 lbft / 2500-5000 rpm
6-speed manual
6-speed manual 6-speed twin-clutch (DSG)
Suspension layout
F: strut
R: multi-link
F: strut
R: multi-link
F: strut
R: multi-link
Suspension features
- -
Tyres front/rear
225/45R17 225/45R17
Kerb weight
1454 kg
1498 kg
1665 kg
Top speed
137 mph (c)
137 mph (c)
155 mph (limited)
0-60 mph (sec)
8.2 (c)
8.0 (c)
6.2 (c)
0-100 mph (sec)
Performance tested by: -

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