The Skoda Superb offers plentiful amounts of comfort, practicality and standard features, but is it enough to want one over an SUV?
The Skoda Superb is an interesting car in that it finds itself in the dwindling sedan marketplace here in Australia.
In 2022, the large sedan segment only covered 0.5 percent of new car sales in Australia, while SUVs conquered with 53.1 percent of overall sales. The midsize SUV segment alone sold 216,151 units during the year of 2022.
But what SUVs often don’t have in their favour is the sort of blend of on-road dynamics, practicality and premium build quality sometimes afforded by other vehicle types such as, say, a low-riding coupe or sedan.
The five-door liftback Skoda Superb just might tick all of those boxes.
The Superb we have on test is the Sportline 4×4 sedan model – the flagship variant of the range – and it’s currently priced from $68,990 driveaway. This five-door liftback sedan is also available in a more spacious and potentially more practical wagon form, which is an additional $2000 premium.
But what exactly is a Superb, if you haven’t heard of one before? Well, this large sedan is based on the same Volkswagen Group MQB platform as cars such as the Volkswagen’s Passat wagon and Arteon luxury sedan, but it comes in at a cheaper entry point than either of these cars.
For a Passat wagon, it’s currently priced from $74,468 driveaway and comes with the same 206TSI engine tune, but if you really want to step into an Arteon 206TSI, that’ll creep you even closer to the $80,000 mark ($79,324 driveaway, to be exact).
So the Superb has a relatively attractive outlay on its side, but what else makes this large all-wheel-drive sedan worth close to $70,000? Let’s find out.
For the $68,990 driveaway investment, the Superb Sportline 4×4 is very well appointed and includes as standard:
Along with these standard features, the Superb Sportline 4×4 we had on test was also fitted with $1900 perforated full leather trim, a $1700 electric glass sunroof and $300 black 19-inch alloy wheels as options.
So how does the Superb look in terms of value? The lack of options offered for this vehicle shows just how well specified it is straight from the showroom floor.
I didn’t feel at any time that I was wanting for more, or that Skoda had left things out that would have made the experience better and more well-rounded. All in all, I think this car is a good value proposition for the money.
As I will speak about in the interior section, the Superb feels premium and quality inside and out, which adds to value.
Let’s start off with suspension. Out on the road with the Skoda Superb, what becomes immediately clear is just how soft, supple and comfortable the ride quality is. This is a much softer vehicle when compared to its Skoda siblings, such as the Octavia.
In normal mode, while driving around town and even on the highway, you simply float across the surface without much fuss at all. Speed bumps, potholes and road irregularities didn’t seem to be a problem for the Superb – it soaked them up with ease.
But is the suspension a little too soft? I think it is. If you go across a speedbump, for instance, the Superb continues to bob up and down like a ship at sea even a few seconds after passing through.
It feels a little uncontrolled at times, but I can’t argue that this car is not comfortable. It certainly is, and most definitely has a premium feel to it. What is interesting is how much more disciplined – yet still comfortable – the Volkswagen Passat is by contrast.
When you do throw the car into sport mode and want to attack some corners, the adaptive dampers do firm up by some margin, but it’s not a huge change.
There is still noticeable body roll through the bends, and I found that I did float around across the leather seats – the bolstering is simply not designed for enthusiastic canyon carving.
The Superb Sportline 4×4 is fitted with a 206kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. It’s the same engine that Volkswagen fitted to its Mk7 Golf R hot hatch, but in this iteration it’s much quieter and more refined.
It’s mated in this configuration to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that powers all four wheels.
Generally, this pairing works really well. In normal mode, the engine is very quiet and chugs along without much noise at all as the six-speed transmission rows through the gears.
If you flick the engine and transmission into sport, the gears suddenly drop by some margin (and are held onto for longer), but the engine retains its polished attitude.
It’s only when you really ring the engine out that you can hear some noise, but again, this car isn’t designed for performance like an Octavia RS is, for example.
This 206TSI tune has plenty of punch for 90 percent of driving situations, making swift country-lane overtakes and highway on-ramps a breeze.
The only real downside I found with this engine was the doughy throttle response.
Even when putting the Superb into sport mode, the throttle just seemed a little too lazy for my liking and wasn’t crisp or responsive enough with small to medium levels of throttle input.
I feel that with a more responsive throttle, the Superb would be even better to drive.
All in all, the Superb offers a very comfortable ride, but fun can still be had if you want it.
You just have to remind yourself that this is no performance sedan and that it’s designed for one thing and one thing only – a comfortable, supple and easy driving experience.
Inside the Superb, there is a lot to talk about. It’s certainly a premium-feeling place to spend time in.
All the major touch areas are trimmed in leather or leatherette, while there is a mix of fake carbon-fibre-type trim and soft plastics elsewhere. On the door trim, there is what feels to be an Alcantara-like suede material, called Suedia, which I really liked.
While the interior does feel premium, I feel that it is already starting to age. Considering the Superb came out quite a long ago, back in 2016, it doesn’t have the most up-to-date cabin of the Skoda range.
Areas such as the cheap-looking chrome touchscreen surround make the Superb feel a little last generation.
However, ageing aside, the leather seats themselves are very comfortable and I spent hours behind the wheel of the Superb with no complaints in terms of long-term driving comfort.
The seats have electric adjustment and memory functions for both driver and front passenger.
In terms of technology, the Skoda Superb is fitted with a 9.2-inch centre touchscreen that runs both wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto. The system worked flawlessly.
The Skoda infotainment software is starting to look a little old-school, however, when compared to the 10.0-inch infotainment from the current Octavia.
Also standard for the Superb is a 10.25-inch ‘virtual cockpit’, or digital instrument cluster in other terms, which is fully customisable.
You can run navigation through the cluster, or a music player, or even read your fuel economy on the go. The system works a treat, though the steering wheel controls can be a little confusing for people new to the Skoda brand.
Other things you should know about the Superb’s interior include the appointment of both USB-A and USB-C charge ports, a really great sounding Canton eight-speaker sound system, and wireless charging – all of which are standard kit.
‘Our’ Skoda Superb had the optional glass sunroof fitted which was certainly a nice touch and really lights up the cabin to give a sense of greater interior space. Standard ambient lighting also gives the cabin a bit of a cruisy jazz club vibe at night.
In typical Skoda fashion, the company has added little convenience quirks to the Superb, such as tiny rubbish bins in the door pockets, pull-up sunshades, an umbrella hidden in the driver’s door, as well as plentiful cupholders and even card holders, too.
The back seat gains adjustable air-conditioning controls, air vents and a fold-down armrest with two cup holders for added convenience.
In terms of room and comfort for the back seat, I had plenty of knee, leg and toe room. Head room was a little tight due to the liftback design of the Superb. The backseat is very comfortable and is suited to occupants of all sizes, not just kids.
Around the back of the Superb, the boot can hold up to 625 litres of volume. The Superb comes with a space-saver spare wheel, a cargo net and cargo cover, too.
To summarise, the interior trim, features and practicalities are certainly some of the Superb’s really strong attributes.
In 2016, the Skoda Superb was awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating, however this rating has now expired (in January 2022).
When tested, the Superb scored 86 percent for adult occupant protection, 86 percent of child occupant protection, 71 percent for pedestrian protection and 76 percent for safety assist.
Standard safety features include:
The safety systems for the Skoda Superb work really well, with the best part being you can switch them off – and they will stay off – when you turn off the car. Some manufacturers don’t offer this feature, but I think it’s a must-have inclusion.
Every Skoda product now has a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. To service the Superb, both five-year and seven-year service plans are available, which cost $2600 and $3400 respectively.
Skoda claims that the Superb Sportline 206TSI has a combined fuel consumption of 8.0L/100km, however, throughout our week of testing, the Superb managed to do a little better than its claim with a tested figure of 7.8L/100km.
However, to note, with more enthusiastic driving inputs, the fuel economy figure will easily get into the high nines.
You should theoretically get around 850km to a single tank, as the Superb has a 66-litre fuel tank fitted.
So what’s my honest opinion on the Superb Sportline 206TSI? Well, for the most part, this is arguably the most comfortable and practical large premium sedan that Australians can buy for just under $70,000.
It’s stacked with standard features, is very pleasant to drive around town or on the highway, it’s safe and it looks pretty smart on the styling front, too.
But is this my favourite Skoda product? I don’t think so. That award would easily go to the excellent Octavia sedan or wagon. But the Superb does a lot of the same things right.
It just falls that little bit short of being the perfect premium sedan, with lazy and doughy throttle response, and although it’s comfortable and softly sprung most of the time, the Superb’s adaptive suspension setup could be a little bit more tied down and controlled.
All in all, the Superb is, well, pretty superb at a lot of the things it does. It’s a fantastic example of a great premium sedan that would suit a family well.
If you’re after a comfortable daily driver that is also practical and very well equipped, there aren’t a lot of large sedans that will do it as well as the Skoda Superb.
It makes me beg the question: who says you need an SUV, anyway?
Variant tested SPORTLINE 206TSI (4x4)
Key specs (as tested)
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