Skoda Superb: A deal worth its name

Written by Roudra Bhattacharya | Updated: Jan 25 2014, 21:07pm hrs
SokdaThough an 80-year-old brand in Europe, the Skoda Superb has been around in India for many years as well
Though an 80-year-old brand in Europe, the Skoda Superb has been around in India for many years as well. One thing, however, that has remained constant across model generations is its value proposition, of an aggressively-priced premium saloon with luxury features. Skoda has now decided to re-skin its flagship model to give it a few more years in the market, before an all-new Superb is launched in 2016. Expected to be unveiled at the Auto Expo next month, the Superb facelift gets the sharper new Skoda design philosophy that made its debut with the new Octavia sedan in October last year. However, mechanicals and interiors largely stay the same.

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What makes the Superb a deal worth its name is largely the fact that it is now the only diesel premium sedan in the market. A major facelift should thus help the saloonwhich is already the market leaderstay afloat in a highly competitive scenario. Other Superb USPs also stay the same, which include best-in-class rear space, a great automatic transmission and German (Czech, really!) build quality.

The only change on the inside is a new four-spoke steering wheel similar to the Octavia. It is the outside that has really gone under the knifegone are the bulky, beefy looks, Skoda has forced the Superb to get a gym membership to sharpen its edges out. On the back, the number plate has moved to the boot lid from the rear bumper, while tail-lights have been redesigned with LEDs for a more premium look akin to the rest of the Volkswagen family sedans. At the front, the bi-xenon headlights now incorporate daytime running LEDs. There is also the all-new Skoda logo that has ditched the green in favour of black and silver, and new alloys for the wheels.

The Superb remains a comfortable ride with good road manners and, in a way, it is a good thing that the suspension has not been tinkered with. Engines remain the same as well, the range starts with a 1.8-litre petrol TSI engine putting out 160PS and available with both automatic and manual transmissions. There is also a 2-litre diesel TDI engine putting out 140PS.

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While the refresh does give the second-generation Superb a new lease of life, a few more upgrades, especially in the interiors, would have been great. Considering that the Superb is Skodas flagship model, premium features are very important for buyers.

For one, an inbuilt GPS navigation integrated with the audio system, which is almost the norm in premium cars today, should definitely have been offered, at least in the top trim level. But what left me most surprised was that Skoda also decided not to offer USB connectivity for the audio system. Another mistake is not offering audio controls for rear seat passengers, which is significant since most cars in this segment are chauffeur-driven. On the outside, a rear parking camera is also missedthis would have been very useful for a such a long car, and is even offered by cars such as Hyundai Verna which cost half as much.

Overall, the Superb remains a great deal in the segment, though half of the reason is because of a lack of any real competition. Both the Volkswagen Passat and Honda Accord have reportedly been phased out of the market until the new models come in, while both the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata are only available in petrol. If its great value and luxury you are after, look no further than the Superb.