I’ll go back to the past a little bit again. I was already at the presentation of the modernization of the first generation Škoda Superb in 2006, and younger colleagues from the editorial office mock me for it. Of course, I couldn’t miss the first drives with the second generation two years later, I saw the third Superb for the first time in the studio in Strahov in 2015 and it was a complete surprise. Until then, we didn’t have the slightest idea what the new biggest Škoda would look like, no spy photos leaked at the time.
And I must say it was a shock at the time. In the best sense of the word. I really liked Superb from the first moment. And in fact, it still is. I recently tested a green station wagon with a more powerful two-liter diesel, and in the headline I asked, with a bit of exaggeration, why other cars are actually made. The third generation Superb not only still looks great, but also drives very decently, the car is also extremely practical. There really aren’t many objective reasons to buy anything other than a mid-range station wagon with a powerful, fuel-efficient engine. And all-wheel drive if you need it.
Behind the door is…
Now I stand again in front of the studio door in Mnichov Hradiště and, just like a few weeks ago in the case of Kodiaq, I have only a vague idea of what awaits me inside. Skoda did release photos of camouflaged prototypes, but they only contributed to that vague idea. In the interior, thanks to the photos of the serial version, we were sure, here the Škoda showed off to the front. Even before the premiere itself.
So again I was very curious. It’s really, even after all these years in the industry, still a nice exciting feeling when I take the door, behind which stands a brand new automotive novelty, which until now I’ve only seen under layers of camouflage.
And this time it was a double surprise, because for the first photo shoot in Mnichov Hradiště, the Superb arrived in both body versions – i.e. as a liftback (remember the double-opening fifth door of the second generation Superb?) and a station wagon. “We tried to simplify the design, a lot of it can be seen, for example, on the side parts of the body. It is cleaner, more elegant,” Jiří Hadaščok, the exterior designer, with whom I already talked about the new Kodiaq, welcomed me to the Superb. Maybe because of the aforementioned simplification, I didn’t get quite the same wow effect as recently with the Kodiaq. He made a stronger impression on me from the first sight. I find Superb more moderate, less expressive. And quite similar to the latest Passat, in the past the concern’s siblings were certainly more different. The recording of the press conference can be seen by colleagues at SZ Byznys.
And I probably like more the liftback with a more dynamic silhouette, while it is twelve millimeters higher than its predecessor (it now reaches 1,481 mm). “We tried to make it slightly reminiscent of a coupe. This is also helped by less sheet metal under the rear window in the fifth door,” reveals Hadaščok. And adds one more point of interest. Well done if you noticed. So it didn’t really hit me at first, but both body variants have exactly the same rear group lamps. “It wasn’t entirely easy, but in the end we managed to unify the design of the rear lamps. It’s an advantageous solution mainly due to production,” explains the Škoda designer.
The interior is perhaps even more luxurious
I was already excited about the interior of the Kodiaq, but I like the Superb even more. Although the dashboards of the new Kodiaq and Superb are quite similar, I also had practically identical color variants at my disposal, but I would rank the Superb slightly above the Kodiaq. And all it took was a single decorative element – a strip stretching across the entire instrument panel. It may not be such a prominent element from the photos, but in reality it is very effective. In addition, with a great detail in the form of hidden ventilation outlets. They are behind the decorative ribbing, the wheel affects the amount and direction of the air flow, but the slats themselves are hidden. It looks really cool.
There are also other differences against the Kodiaq. The center console of the Superb can wirelessly charge only one smartphone, the Kodiaq can charge two (active cooling is common to both models). The Superb’s digital instrument panel with a diagonal of ten inches is equipped with a shield, unlike the same solution in the Kodiaq. At the same time, even the Superb would not need it… “Due to the position of the instrument panel in the Superb, you would be looking directly into the bowels of the head-up display. In short, there would be a hole in front of you,” explains Jan Dědek, who is responsible for the interior design.
The Superb also received different door panels than the Kodiaq, in this respect it is mainly a huge difference compared to its predecessor. “We could have won more with the shaping of the fillings, they are much more articulated, the previous Superb was quite flat in these places. In addition, we used only softened materials in the exposed areas,” Dědek points out.
And then we have other common features – the 13-inch infotainment display, whose graphics and resolution look very promising. Hopefully, movement in the menu will be smooth and the software will not crash. And then the amazing so-called Smart Dials, i.e. the already well-known trio of rotary controls with an integrated tiny display (diameter 32 millimeters). The two outer controls are used for ventilation (they can also be used to activate seat heating/ventilation), the middle one is multifunctional. Through it you can for example influence the volume, zoom out of the map, change the direction and amount of air flow… I will wait until I spend some time with the Superb (and thus the Kodiaq), but for now I would see Smart Dials as a very functional and successful solution. And a more than welcome departure from full touch controls.
Space will not be a problem
Of course, it is difficult to assume that the Superb would disappoint in terms of space and practicality, when it has always excelled in these areas. The fact that nothing will fundamentally change is already indicated by the dimensions, which have shifted only minimally – the station wagon and liftback have been lengthened by approximately 40 mm, the liftback has increased in height by twelve millimeters, the station wagon by a negligible five, and both have decreased in width by fifteen millimeters. We still have cars around 4.9 meters long in front of us, the unchanged wheelbase of 2,841 mm then greatly benefits the space on the back seats. This is already such a classic that even I, who am 181 cm tall, can comfortably cross my leg in the back. I was curious about the space above the head in the liftback, if by chance the coupe silhouette had a negative effect. Unnecessary worries, even in the back I could easily straighten up on the model.
|Dimensions (compared to the current model)||Liftback||Combi|
|Length||4,912 mm (+43)||4,902 mm (+40)|
|Width||1,849mm (-15)||1,849mm (-15)|
|Height||1,481 mm (+12)||1,482 mm (+5)|
|Wheelbase||2,841 mm||2,841 mm|
|Volume of the luggage compartment||645 l (+20)||690 l (+30)|
Škoda is also talking about increasing the luggage space, it’s a bit of a numbers game here. Newly, the volume is calculated up to the edge of the seats (as with the competition) and not up to the plateau – the liftback thus improved to 645 liters (plus twenty), the station wagon then grew to 690 liters (thirty to the good). Honestly, they are still giant black holes and if twenty or thirty liters have been added/lost… I don’t think it really matters. More important to me is the electric blind, which moves automatically when the fifth door closes. Very clever thing.
I had forgotten that when Honza Dědek presented me with all the new features of the instrument panel on the front seats, Jiří Hadaščok informed us of an interesting Simply Clever element from the second row – the central armrest can have an integrated holder for a tablet/mobile phone. However, it does not have induction charging, as it would be in such a position that it could endanger passengers with pacemakers, as Honza Dědek explained to us.
One more quick petrol
I would also like to remind you of the new feature that I already mentioned about the Kodiaq – you can no longer buy any of the large Škoda cars with a manual transmission, while the selector for the automatic transmission has moved under the steering wheel. This brings us nicely to the range of engines, which, with one exception, copies the Kodiaq. Unlike it, the Superb will get an even more powerful version of the two-liter TSI petrol with an output of 195 kW, which is a weaker version with 150 kW (the Kodiaq already has this). And then it’s exactly the same song as for a large SUV – i.e. the base in the form of a mild-hybrid 15-litre petrol engine with a power of 110 kW, the two-litre TSI I already mentioned, I’ll just add that the more powerful comes with all-wheel drive. The diesel is represented by a traditional two-liter diesel in two power versions (110 and 142 kW, more powerful again with all-wheel drive), and the range of engines is rounded off by a plug-in hybrid with an output of 150 kW (based on a gasoline fifteen-cylinder), which should handle over a hundred purely electric kilometers.
|1.5 TSI mHEV||110 kW/150 hp||7th DSG||4×2|
|2.0 TSI||150 kW/204 hp||7th DSG||4×2|
|2.0 TSI||195 kW/265 hp||7th DSG||4×4|
|2.0 TDI||110 kW/150 hp||7th DSG||4×2|
|2.0 TDI||142 kW/193 hp||7th DSG||4×4|
|1.5 TSI iV||150 kW/204 hp||6 st. DSG||4×2|
Now we just have to find out if it all works in practice. Although, as indicated by Martin Jánský in driving impressions with still-disguised prototypes, no major surprises await us in this direction either. The Superb is still, first and foremost, comfortable, and with the basic 15-litre petrol, it is also exceptionally quiet. So I would plead for a slightly harder characteristic of the adaptive shock absorbers, with the outgoing Superb I always drove in the most sporty setting, any other seemed excessively swayed. So we’ll see!
Skoda could publish the first prices of the new Superb as early as next week, and the cars will reach customers in the second quarter of next year.
How do you like the new Škoda Superb?
I liked the last Superb better.
I like the new Kodiaq better.
A total of 133 readers voted.