The new Skoda Superb at a glance
- Fourth generation of the Czech flagship
- Comes as a station wagon and again as a sedan
- New operating concept with “Smart Dials”
- Lots of Simply Clever details too
- Available as a petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid
- Will probably start at more than 43,000 euros in 2024
1.6 million Superbs have been sold since 2001
How the time flies. Wasn’t it just the day before yesterday when the Skoda Superb caused a stir in the car world? This mid-range car with the space of an S-Class and the price of a well-equipped compact car? In fact, the Superb has been around for over 20 years and no fleet can be imagined without it. Hordes of company car drivers ignored the Passat, and some politicians also switched from the five-series, E-class or A6 to the Superb. A lot of car for little money, this motto took the brand to the extreme with the new old flagship. When it comes to loading volume, the Combi (traditionally written with a C by the Czechs) topped the list of the best until the very end. Customers appreciated it: 1.6 million Superb cars have been sold worldwide since 2001, with an average of 20,000 units per year in Germany.
The fourth generation is now starting, again as a station wagon and sedan. This means that the notchback stands almost alone alongside the aging Mazda6: Ford Mondeo, Opel Insignia – many competitors in the mid-range sedan class fell victim to the SUV trend. How long it will stay is questionable and probably also depends on the price. The company from Mlada Boleslav is initially not revealing anything about this, but the new Superb is likely to start again in the range of around 43,000 euros. This means it continues to compete on an equal footing with the new Passat, which will only be available as a variant in 2024.
Petrol, diesel and a plug-in hybrid
Let’s take a look at the Superb’s drives (vehicle is not yet for sale, pending homologation)². Instead of electric, Skoda continues to rely on combustion engines for the Superb. In addition to the 150 hp basic engine, which is a 1.5-liter TSI mild hybrid, the Combi also has the option of a purely front-wheel drive plug-in hybrid. Here the old 1.4 liter TSI is being discontinued and is being replaced by the much fresher 1.5 TSI. The system output drops slightly to 204 hp, but the part-time electrician can now draw electricity with up to 50 kW from the DC charger. It should take around 25 minutes from zero to 80 percent.
There are also two further petrol engines with 204 and 265 hp and two diesel engines with 150 and 193 hp. Front-wheel drive or, for the more powerful models, all-wheel drive is offered; all engines are coupled with a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. Only the plug-in hybrid still makes do with a six-speed dual clutch transmission. A manual transmission is no longer available.
A design evolution, not a revolution
The Volkswagen subsidiary is not taking any risks when it comes to design either. Despite the new matrix headlights and LED taillights, it is only apparent at second glance that this is a completely newly developed car. The lines are the same, although the body has been slightly inflated in all directions. The car, which is now 4.90 meters long (previously 4.86 meters), appears a little more massive than before, also because the designers have avoided unnecessary folds and edges and have visually calmed the body. The increase in length also results in an even larger trunk. In the sedan it grows by 20 to 644 liters, the station wagon has 690 liters and with the backrest folded down it sets a new record at 1,920 liters. And the space available for passengers? As usual, royal in the back seat and very comfortable in the front.
As an extra, the Czechs offer a more developed adaptive chassis. DCC Plus now uses two independently controlled valves per shock absorber and regulates rebound and compression stages separately. This means the dampers should respond more quickly. In addition, the occupants should now feel the differences between sporty and comfortable suspension settings more clearly. Otherwise, the generation change is reflected in the form of a tidy cockpit with an optional 13-inch infotainment screen and a standard 10-inch driver display. For the first time, the Superb has a windowless head-up display.
Better service than the VW core brand?
The new operating concept is a pleasant mix of touchscreen and haptic switches. The automatic selector lever was moved to the steering wheel to create space in the center console. There is now a 5.5 liter deep compartment there. Below the central screen there are three chrome-plated rotary switches with small displays in the middle. Skoda calls these Smart Dials. The two outer buttons regulate the temperature; one press switches on seat heating or ventilation. The middle switch is responsible for the volume. Its print function can be freely assigned, as can the menu bars at the top and bottom of the screen. This means that all important functions can be accessed quickly.
And of course the brand’s usual “Simply Clever functions” should not be missing either. Little helpers that are intended to make handling easier. Many are familiar, such as the folding hooks in the trunk, the umbrella in the door or the ice scraper in the fuel filler flap. Others such as the USB port in the rearview mirror, the electrically powered cargo area cover or an adjustable cell phone holder in the rear center armrest were new.
New assistance systems round off the offering
In the event of an accident, up to ten airbags protect the occupants and new driving assistants bring the model back to a standard level in its class. The car warns of oncoming traffic when turning or automatically brakes if a pedestrian steps onto the road while reversing. And Travel Assist has also been further developed. When the cruise control is activated, the car automatically brakes for curves, intersections and roundabouts; in traffic jams, the car brakes and accelerates independently up to 60 km/h.
Market launch and prices
The debut already makes it clear: in terms of space, workmanship and operation, Superb number four will probably be at the forefront in the middle class. Even the upper segment (fives, E-Class) is not safe from him. We will see whether all of these virtues are enough for good sales figures from 2024 at the latest. Then Skoda will send the relative of its brother VW Passat into the race. And that is estimated at prices starting at 43,000 euros. (Text: tv, hb/sp-x | Images: manufacturer)