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The superb Czech

The Skoda Superb is superb in terms of size and comfort. The new luxury car from Skoda is all set to challenge established rivals and take some sales away from them.

autos Updated: Mar 25, 2009 18:17 IST

The Skoda Superb, it seems, is aptly named — it is also superb in terms of size and comfort. The new luxury car from Skoda is all set to challenge established rivals and take some sales away from them. At least that’s the plan. The new Superb is striking to look at, if anything. Unlike the old car, the new one has a more appealing style quotient.

The face comes with attractive-looking wraparound headlamps, which have a sharp edge and an upward sweep to them. The cuts and details on the nose section catch your eye too. The ‘Superb’ etched on the lens is a classy touch.

The Superb’s rival, the Honda Accord, has a longer wheelbase and overall length. But that’s no cause for concern. Step back and you’ll notice that the new Superb is a hatchback and a saloon. You can open the bootlid alone or open the entire tailgate. And at 565 litres, there’s plenty of space here.

Skoda has also come up with a lighting system that varies its beam pattern according to your speed and driving style. It also includes cornering lights and has settings to reduce reflection when driving in the rain or — don’t laugh now — snow.

Interiors
Step into the cabin and you could easily mistake the Superb for an Audi or a Mercedes. Skoda seems to have achieved the impossible with the Superb’s cabin. It has increased cabin space (as if it needed more) in a shorter wheelbase. Boot space is impressive too.

The stylish steering wheel is exceptional; it’s really comfortable to hold and the chrome ‘smile’ and Skoda badge make it look special.

Another feature we love is the iPhone-like central touchscreen that controls everything from the radio and in-dash CD-changer to the phone and navigation system. It’s much easier to use than BMW’s iDrive or Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) which call for more complex actions like rotating and clicking a dial.

But the Superb really bowls you over with its seats. It isn’t likely to get more comfortable than this. Both the front and rear seats offer brilliant comfort levels with acres of space. Other niceties include electrically retractable rear sun blinds, footrests for rear passengers and a built-in umbrella plus drainage system in the rear door on the left.

Engine
The 1.8-litre petrol is a turbo-charged direct-injection motor, which delivers 160 bhp. This engine is mated to a seven-speed direct shift double-clutch automatic gearbox (DSG). Performance is brilliant to say the least. It accelerates from zero to 100 kph in 9.1 seconds and carries on to 150 kph in under 20 seconds. That’s faster than the manual 2.4-litre Accord.

Ride
Skoda has stiffened the Superb’s suspension and as a result the ride is quite firm. But the Superb is agile enough to make a mockery of its size. In terms of fuel economy the Superb betters the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry as well. It delivers 8.3 kpl in the city and 12.5 kpl on the highway.

Verdict
At a cost of close to Rs 19 lakh, the Skoda Superb doesn’t come cheap, but when you consider the sheer quality and comfort it offers along with the generous equipment and refined engine it’s hard to build a case against the Superb.
This is car comes with a sensible price-tag. What remains to be seen is the resale value, which historically has not been good for Skoda petrols. The diesel Superb will definitely have a better residual value.