The Škoda Superb Combi 2.0 TDI 4×4 at a glance
An alternative to the SUV boom?
When it appeared in 2015, the SUV boom was already in full swing. Nevertheless, the third generation of the Škoda Superb still has a few aces up its sleeve against the in-house competitors Kodiaq and Enyaq. Especially when it comes to the most powerful diesel, the 2.0 TDI 4×4 (combined fuel consumption: 6.1 l/100km; combined CO2 emissions: 159 g/km)² with 200 hp. But where there is light, there is also shadow. And so our test has to clarify the question of whether the future can still belong to a traditional station wagon with a conventional diesel engine.
Calm styling with high-quality accents
A esteemed colleague once wrote that at some point we will be as fed up with SUVs as we are with assholes and holes in jeans. Only then will we appreciate the calmness of the classic station wagon again. And until then, the Škoda Superb Combi should hold out. Because for practical reasons alone, with its almost 2,000 liters maximum loading volume, the gigantic space in the rear or the countless practical, well thought-out details for everyday driving, it would be a real loss. And that even after almost seven years of construction. The subtle facelift a good three years ago did him good, but the recent update of the infotainment to the current generation of the modular infotainment kit also caused some frustration.
Wolfsburg cuckoo egg: Infotainment with a mixed concept
Above all, it is the failures that occur regularly. Sometimes an app crashes, sometimes there is a problem when switching between Smartlink + and Škoda’s own infotainment. In general, the computing power seems to have a comfortable speed limit. However, one can hardly blame the Czechs for this deficiency, because the entire Volkswagen Group is currently nibbling on this problem. It then remains the only criticism in the interior. The rest offers the usual qualities – and plenty of them.
It doesn’t always have to be leather seats
The ergonomics are right and that without the extra charge for massage seats and expensive leather upholstery. The fabric seats offer very good comfort, especially in terms of comfort even in wintry cold outside temperatures. The seat heating, but above all the steering wheel heating, do the rest for high thermal comfort. However, the auxiliary heater has to work really hard in the starting phase in order to temper the air volume in the interior. In view of the gigantic size of the rear and trunk, the heating output is absolutely fine. By the way: The fine fabric covers have not been given a hip vegan label or animal-free label by marketing, but are simply listed as “Interior black” in the price list. That’s how easy it can be.
The true talents of the Škoda Superb Combi show themselves when driving
However, an essential characteristic of the large Superb Combi only becomes apparent when you have really driven it extensively. The pieces of the puzzle such as space, workmanship, ergonomics and equipment only come together to form the finished picture after a real long haul. And here the Czech continues to deliver in a way that hardly any other car in its class can. The driving comfort is impressive, especially with the highly recommended optional chassis with DCC damping. Anyone who is toying with the idea of choosing a long-legged SUV instead of the Superb should definitely try it. Because the elegance and sovereignty of the large station wagon cannot keep up with the pseudo SUVs, especially in terms of ride comfort and general handling, the Škoda Superb Combi 2.0 TDI 4×4 shows in every situation that a lower center of gravity and a clever combination of soft damping and large tire sidewalls can ensure a driving comfort that was thought to have been almost forgotten.
EU6d diesel in combination with DSG and all-wheel drive means high complexity
The 200 hp diesel engine also plays a key role in this experience. Especially in the mid-range, in a range above the 2,000 mark, despite the long overall ratio of the 7-speed DSG gearbox, it pushes forward with a vehemence that ensures real driving pleasure. Of course not in the sprint sense, but above all in intermediate sprints and accelerating out of motorway construction sites or similar situations. The Škoda Superb Combi 2.0 TDI can also shine with its consumption on fast long-distance journeys. The on-board computer was quickly pushed to a value close to 6.0 l/100 km, and the five in front of the decimal point made it easy for really defensive drivers. The counter only runs up a bit again when you really go full throttle or in city traffic.
Another peculiarity also comes to light in low-speed operation: the high complexity of the drive train. A supercharged and yet very clean diesel, a complex double-clutch transmission and a variable Haldex all-wheel drive – three systems that mesh perfectly and have to be extremely cleanly coordinated. And although they have decades of experience with exactly this combination not only in Mlada Boleslav, but above all in Wolfsburg, the latest development, especially of the hybrid and electric models, shows how easy it can be. Their seamless and almost effortless acceleration from a standing start, the silent and direct progress makes the big Czechs seem a bit sluggish in city traffic. And it also shows how quickly the better of the good is the enemy.
The Škoda Superb Combi 2.0 TDI 4×4 is the best calling card for the classic station wagon. It not only takes care of day-to-day work in the field and with the family, but also the longest holiday trip with heavy luggage. The powerful 200 hp diesel always puts a smile on your face. But he also shows that time does not stand still and that in some areas he is no longer necessarily up to date. However, the model change is also approaching in big steps. One can therefore hope that his talents will live on in the new, more modern generation. (Text and image: Fabian Mechtel)