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2016 Skoda Superb Diesel India Review, First Drive

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The last generation Superb was already a segment leader in sales and was critically acclaimed as well, the new model cements even itself even harder than before

Enchanting –

  • Extremely well crafted design
  • Superlative chassis, brakes, engines
  • Dynamic and comfortable at the same time
  • Luxury and space beyond segment benchmark

Unsatisfying –

  • No Navigation Offered
  • No base variant in diesel trim
  • After sales quality hit or a miss

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Skoda brand in the Indian market is known for a few things. One of them is good and one them is bad. The cars that it makes are really good. Started with the Octavia than came the Laura and then came Octavia again. Superb was the second that came to the market. All of this was going fine, but multiple reports of after sales disaster shook the brand completely and the news can be heard even from a layman even today. Skoda says that since then it has tried real hard to make sure that anything like that does not happen. It assures us that higher standards of after sales and service will be offered to customers. Why is it been trying hard to do so? Because it want to sell cars to one of the most important markets in the country today.

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A market where everything has its place. The best part of this story is that Skoda did not exactly lose its customer base by a big margin. The cars being so good in ever regard, it is hard to let go. There are positives stories of how these cars are safe, reliable in most aspects and tough work horses (for the rich of-course) and the performance has been its plus point too. To take all of this good stories, Skoda is all set to make even more superior cars than ever before. Superb is one such example and this time Skoda just went full banana and launched third generation Superb in the country this year. We finally got our hands on the diesel unit and tried to squeeze as much as we could in this first ride.

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Design

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The moment when we saw the first unveil at a special screening just before the Geneva Motor Show display, we were completely awe struck. Taken back. Wide eyes and jaw drop and many more expression can be said here. It is not professional enough to say this way, but we can’t help it. There isn’t a single flaw with the design in our eyes. The front has the new grille that is in line with the modern Skoda design philosophy. The simple split bumper at the front along with a chrome slat running along with it makes it look a sophisticated vehicle from the front with good detailing, but not enough to spoil it.

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The headlights are one of the most different items that the car poses. The flat glass area with a hint of edge with the overall edgy design language of the car is just right. The subtle wheel arches, the super strong shoulder line, the massive C-Pillar, which rakes down so smoothly that it reminds us the side profile of an Italian saloon that we also like very much. The large tail-lamps, which are sharp on the outside and there are sharp elements on the inside too and despite that there is the C-motive, which Skoda always had, but this time not one, but three.

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The turbine like alloy wheels spoke design keep the wheel arch gap also to an minimum, which makes the overall profile of the car stand out. Even the ground clearance is easily visible as it is very constant from the start till the end if you notice below the door. The small crease that runs in the lower part of the door, the well matched door size to window size profile, with the kink in the rear window makes it look sharp. Major head turning reason were the Audi ‘esque’ DRL at the front for the masses. Overall, the edgy profile over the previous curvy profile makes the car look truly futuristic and grabs attention like no other.

Interior

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Interior is the place where the Superb wow’s you to a whole new level. High quality interiors set includes, soft touch dashboard, soft plastics on door-pads, lining inside door pockets and everything looks and feels plush thanks to beige and black combo. You have a 6.5-inch touch screen, which showcases everything. Driving data, Mirror link, Apple Car Play, Android Auto, voice command and CD player in the glove box. Bluetooth, aux and USB are also present. There is a huge storage area under the armrest to store all the things you need too. There are driving modes to choose from.

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Parking sensors front and rear with a reversing camera, these work precisely too. 12V socket, steering mounted controls also has a main button, which allows to toggle what do you want to see between the meters screen. Telephony, Music, driving data and much more to choose from. Scroller button on the steering for the audio is as always a neat touch. 12 way electric seats for passenger and driver with memory function make its way to the Superb. 8-speaker system does sound good, but we think it could have been better in terms of bass.

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Sunroof is also an addition to the package. Roll-up sun visors for rear windows and rear screen are luxury features that are standard on the top-end. Fully electric IRVM and ORVM with auto dimming, Three zone climate control, with A/C vents at the rear, which allow you to set your temperature. One touch up and down window feature on all four windows. Keyless entry and start-stop button, (which is at the perfect place) is also on offer.Electric tail-gate along with Virtual Boot Lid Release Pedal, and cruise control are here.

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Space is one of the key highlights of this car and it trumps its rival from two segment above space. Acres of legroom, shoulder and headroom in the cabin, along with a virtually flat center area allowing it to be a proper five seater with enough for all and making it an ideal family car. Let’s not forget the large 600 litre plus boot, which can take an entire family of 5’s luggage for a road trip! Safety kit includes 8 airbags, ABS, EBD, MBA (Mechanical Brake Assistant), HBA, MKB (Multi collision brake), Prefill (hydraulic braking system readiness), ASR (Anti Slip Regulation), TCS, ESC, EDS (Electronic Differential Lock) and much more.

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Engine and Gearboxes

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What makes the case strong with Superb as always is the diesel engines that it offers with an automatic DSG gearbox. This time the tune runs at 190 PS and 350 Nm of torque. There is quite a bit of lag under 2000 RPM and it does hesitate a bit in traffic when you want quick overtaking. To solve that either smash the throttle to the carpet and get a downshift or else gradually increase the throttle and wait for the turbo to kick in the same gear for maximum thrust. Once the turbo kicks in post that, on an open road, it just keeps on accelerating and reaches speeds of 200 km/hr in just no time. We got 11 km/l exactly in our testing with the tank to tank method.

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Engine while doing that barely sends an engine noises in the cabin. Road and wind noises are very well dampened. The engine is to be the most smoothest of the 2.0 litre we have witnessed till date from the VW group and it is a stellar part of the entire package that the Superb offers. 6-speed DSG also works really well as it offer quick shifts at any speeds and offers efficiency and power at the same time without the enthusiast being disappointed. All of this comes courtesy of 1565 kgs of wet weight, which is 400-500 kgs less than its premium car rivals.

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Dynamics
Ride and handling is another aspect where the Superb this time just makes thing crisper than ever before. The car feels nimble in the city and closing gaps and taking turns it doesn’t make you realize you have a 4.8 meter car with you. In the corners it feels light and agile and turns-in well enough. Long wheelbase is clear, but that provides stability at high speeds and the car is rock solid at any given speeds. Steering is light and precise in normal and eco mode, sport mode makes it artificially heavy, which is a hit or a miss.

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Grip from the tyres is good, there is a minute amount of body roll to be dealt with and it mask’s the size and weight that it carries. Ride quality is the right balance between stiff and comfortable. It can glide over worst of broken patches, but bigger bumps sends a thud into the cabin, which doesn’t translate into fatigue though. The suspension hence allows fast drives on broken highways plush enough and the car doesn’t break composure. Brakes have enough stopping power and the pedal bite is good enough.

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2016 Skoda Superb Diesel India Review, Verdict

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Can we just use a cliché saying that the car lives up to the name? Superb? Yes, also, allow us to say that the Superb this time redefines the segment. Something, which forced its Japanese rivals to take notice and make decisions that they were not so willing to do. Honda bought in the Accord and Toyota revamped the facelift Camry. Both companies have made available their very best packages in front of the audience and its prime competitor and segment leader, the Superb.

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This already says a lot. Superb offers everything best in class and everything what the Europeans can offer at this price point. Right from ride and handling to engine options and of course ‘affordable luxury’ to the market, Superb brings a lot to the table. Clearly, Superb is superb in every way and we can’t wait to put it head to head against its rivals.

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Priced As Tested Rs. 38,45,391

On-road Mumbai

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