twelvebears

Skoda Superb - Don't laugh until you've tried one.....

46 posts in this topic

OK, OK, even though I've actually parted with some hard-earned for one of these, I DO still find the name funny, especially as it's preceded by the word Skoda, but stick with me.

So first of, 2011 marks the 20th year of Skoda being part of the Volkswagon-Audi Group (so should that now be the Volkswagon-Audi-Skoda Group?) and from my experience, VW and Audi should be keeping a close eye on the 'poor relation' if they don't want to get shown up/

My TOTALLY reliable but uninspiring Citreon C4 1.6TDI has had a busy 3 years and just over 60k miles of commuting milage, so it's time for a change. I do lots of motorway miles, spending about 2hrs a day in the car. Combine that with the fact I'm 6'3" and have in-laws in their 70s, and I needed something with a bit of space, so started off looking at the obvious mid-range contenders:

Ford Mondeo

Vauxhall Insignia

VW Passat

Having driven the first two several times as work hire cars, I already had plenty of experience of them following various round-trips to Sheffield:

Mondeo - Great drivers car, fantastic on motorways, loads of space but spolit by the fact there are SOOOO many of them EVERYWHERE! Oh and some naff materials used in the interior.... Sorry, but I just couldn't bring myself to be another Mondeo Man.

Insignia - Pretty good attempt from Vauxhall, certainly feels nice inside, though not as roomy as you might expect. Negatives were the (IMO) ugly front grill, over complicated console design and the fact Vauxhall use a 'traditional' auto-box rather than a DSG-type system, meaning fuel economy and responsiveness are a bit below par.

This prompted me to investigate and test drive the Passat, a a car I really WANTED to like but just didn't. I thought the VW dealers were snooty and the Passat (despite the excellent 2.0 CR TDI engine and DSG transmission) was uninspiring to drive and really didn't feel very special to be in. A particular gripe being that parking sensors are a £420 option even on the top-spec Sport model.

This left me unsure about what to do. Frankly I wasn't motivated to part with cash for any of these three and found myself constantly flicking through the brochures of all three as if expecting to find inspiration.....

As luck would have it, inspiration did come when by chance I happened across a Fifth Gear Web TV report of the Superb estate on Youtube. Feel free to go and have a look yourself, but the short version is that they had pretty much nothing but good things to say about it. They even compared it with an E-Class Merc which cost £50k and STILL hardly had anything to complain about!

I sorted a test drive and the Superb was a revelation. In the metal it's a hansom car, the saloon/hatch (more on that shortly) is a touch awkward from the rear- three-quarter view, but still individual and stylish in a kind of Russian Mafia kind of way. Sit inside and immediately it blows anything else at this price point away for comfort, quality of fit and finish and level of equipment. I couldn't get over just how much better it is than the Passat. In fact the inside feels more on a par with the likes of Merc and BMW.

While it does compromise the rear visibility, the twin-door boot/hatch system is fantastically useful and something I'm never going to get bored with. To drive it's as quite and comfortable as I could ever want, and the TDI engine and DSG gearbox are really responsive. I'll admit it's not as agile as the Mondeo when things get twisty, but for the driving I do it's perfect. Oh and I forgot to mention that I can sit behind the drivers seat with it in my driving position (i.e. all the way back) and still have knee-room.....

Literally the ONLY down-side to this car is the name. It is slightly funny, and I do still feel like I'm apologising when I tell people I have a Skoda, but that only lasts until the first time I give them a lift. Honestly the Superb is a genuinely fantastic car and at least the name's not ironic and does show that someone at Skoda has a sense of humour.

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I like them a lot, especially the estate. As you mentioned in your review, the rear of the saloon is slightly unresolved imo.

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I don't see the need for the tin helmet attitude to the Skoda name...they've been winning awards for years and years now....good basic cars, but I don't agree about the quality. The superb is well trimmed, but not IMO, as well built as a merc/audi/bmw. My 'tap' test (try giving the radiator grille surround a good slap for example) reveals far more flimsy materials than you will find in the top marques. Ok, you pay for these, but there is no magic formula for skoda or anyone else for that matter....quality costs and Skoda/Ford/Renault simply disguise it well by making what you see look good, but underneath???

Still. it's quiet, comfy cruiser with a ton of space and a nice line in textured plastics, so...:)

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A friend bought one a few months back and it is remarkably nice.

He is a cabby & clocked up 300K miles on his previous Skoda Octavia 1.9 TDI. Be interesting to see how his new one fairs after the miles.

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Yes, the Skoda Superb is one of the best all-rounders out there. Even Top Gear (well, Clarkson) raves constantly about how good the Yeti is.

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Another happy Superb owner, the 2.0 CR diesel with DSG and upmarket Elegance interior. It's a good all-rounder with huge interior and boot space. Wonderful for our elderly relative transport as it has one of the easiest back-seat entry and egress around, and does 50mpg on motorways. Its main competitors in our search were the Audi A6 estate and volvo V70 estates, but the Skoda was bigger, better to drive and more economical (due to its relatively light weight).

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I reckon they keep their value as well as most now,cetrainly Ford/Vauxhall etc.

My father-in-law bought a Superb 170 diesel saloon after my recommendation.He loves it.Quiet,comfortable,good performance with 50mpg a doddle to achieve.The badge is irrelevant nowadays,it's an Audi underneath anyway.

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I personally think the Superb estate is one of the best looking estates on the road at the moment. I'll certainly consider one a few years down the line when they're worth pennies.

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Skodas:

On the one hand it's a VW for a bit less money.

On the other hand it'll depreciate faster and further and so will cost you more in the end.

So why not just buy the VW version and have done with? :dunno:

Because the Skoda "versions" are often nicer to drive and have more space than their VW equivalents and do not depreciate more these days. I compare the interior of the Superb to the Audi and Volvo, not the Passat in quality and ambience.

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Skodas:

On the one hand it's a VW for a bit less money.

On the other hand it'll depreciate faster and further and so will cost you more in the end.

So why not just buy the VW version and have done with? :dunno:

Because the Skodas are better.

Have you driven a Passat recently. Honestly mate, they are shit and have been for a long time.

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Well not that recently recently, but my prior experience with hire/pool Passats was surprisingly strong dislike: just felt very Rong, and combined that with quite extraordinary dullness and a fit/finish nowise commensurate with price, and I speak as a very recently-former Vauxshed owner :shock:

If the more recent cars are on a par with the Golf 6 I suspect they're a Lot better now mind...

Just can't see why the Skodas will be much better, aside, I agree, from looking better. Smacks of reverse-snobbery to me... :dunno:

Reverse snobbery is part of it, i am sure. I haven't driven the Superb, but have been in one and it seemed a lot nicer than any passat I have ever been in. Your passat experience matches mine. Dull, Rong, Boring.. bit shit.

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I bought a Passat estate today. Didn't want to really. What I wanted was a Superb Estate but they are too new and I didn't want to spend on an A6. I think the Superb Estate is a far better looking car than the saloon particularly, as others have said, from the rear. My next beast is likely to be a Superb Estate. Why buy Skoda? Better equipment levels, same VAG running gear, the Superb is roomier inside than a Passat (built on a Passat+) floor pan, cheaper servicing.

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Your passat experience matches mine. Dull, Rong, Boring.. bit shit.

What about the one with the 4 litre W8 engine? I bet that's not dull....:P

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