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Skoda Superb facelift

Introduction

The Skoda Superb is probably the best example of (VFM) value-for-money cars ever – it is not a tightly packaged entry-level hatchback from the Pacific Rim that gets applause for the price tag. In fact, it is European and of such generous size that even the mightiest of Scandinavians won’t grimace at the prospect of using this for daily commute. In size it is almost on par with the Mercedes E-Class or BMW 5 Series – of course it does not offer all the gizmos, but then costs a fraction of the money that not only lets you put the rest to better use but also allows you to slip under the radar if you don’t like unnecessary attention – say from the income tax department!

This is ‘the’ reason that the Superb has been so successful in India, but that has not kept Skoda from upgrading the sedan, probably making it even more difficult for the competition to catch up.

Looks

The new 2014 Superb is a facelift and styling is what differentiates it from its predecessor. The silhouette is unmistakably Superb, the slightly sloping bonnet and flat boot with a thick C-pillar make it simple to identify this car. However, there are enough changes, so even the most naïve won’t mistake it for the older version.

The most obvious change to the façade is the new chrome-laden ‘butterfly’ grille that was first seen on the new Octavia. The new two-toned logo sits just above it and below the re-profiled bonnet. The headlamp console has been changed and keeping with the times gets bi-xenon lamps and LED daytime running lights. Like the DRLs, the C-shaped turn-blinkers are also made of LEDs and look very upmarket. The fog lamps front bumper has also been refreshed, the bumper also houses the headlamp washers in the Elegance trim.

The rear of the Superb is now a lot Audish; turn on the tail lights and part-LED lamps will further strengthen this belief. The spoiler, bumper and boot lid have sharper features and the number plate has moved up from the bumper to sit on the boot lid. While the lights ‘on’ the tail of the new Superb looks elegant, but in general I am not very happy about the new shape. It looks too similar to the tailgates of the Volkswagens and Audis. The side profile hasn’t changed much apart from new 10-spoke Helix alloys that add to the overall character of the car.

Interiors & Engine

Changes to the interiors of the 2014 Superb are limited. There is a three-spoke steering wheel with new logo and the ‘Bolero’ music system with CD changer is standard across all variants.

The mechanicals haven’t changed either. This petrol version gets the 1.8-litre TSI unit with the option of six-speed manual and seven-speed DSG gearbox delivering 158bhp to the front wheels. The diesel variants also get the same 140bhp 2.0-ltre TDI mill with an option of  a six-speed manual or DSG AT gearbox.

There are no changes to the mechanicals of the new car and the ride and handling of the Superb is as impeccable as before. Despite the size, the Superb does not feel heavy at high speeds and is quite capable of taking corners at high speed. The steering is light but precise and the cabin is very well insulated. 

Verdict

I repeat, the Superb is the most VFM premium car in India. It has no direct completion, the Volkswagen Passat is more expensive and the rest of the sedans in the segment don’t have a diesel option. Nothing has changed in the Superb – all that this facelift does is make the car appear more up to date. The exteriors now look modern and yet retain Skoda’s simplicity. The cabin is spacious and the best place to be is the rear bench. Talking specifically of the  sub Rs 25 lakh price point, this is the best car and also the reason that none of the auto journalists have taken a shot at Skoda for naming it the ‘Superb’. 

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