Skoda Superb 2.0 TSI Laurin & Klement 140 kW Review
Simply Super Superb

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
30 Sep 2020
 

While the Superb looks more at home making appearances at black tie events, it also doubles up as a fine workhorse… in a black tie that is.

The Skoda band has long been associated with sensible cars, with very practical features. The award-winning Superb, their flagship sedan has just gone through a middle-of-life freshening up, and we must say that what the Czechs bring to the table is nothing short of impressive.

While the Superb and its cousin, the Volkswagen Passat share plenty in common, the Superb is a longer car, with about 12cm more added to its wheelbase.

The restyling sees some tidying up of its grille and bumpers, which lengthens the car by 8mm. At the rear, the Skoda has added more emphasis to its branding, with ‘ŠKODA’ lettering boldly spaced out on the bootlid. The design tweaks, which includes subtly reworked head and tail lights, do blend well with the car’s already authoritative stance, which on this higher-spec Laurin & Klement (L&K) model, includes a smart-looking set of 19” rims. We also like that Skoda has now included dynamic indicator lights, which were first seen on the group’s upmarket brand, Audi.

Inside

What truly makes the Superb special is Skoda’s thought process in designing their sedan. The infotainment unit features menu buttons on the side for ease of access. For the L&K model, you get a larger 9.2” Columbus system, which also offers navigation. The higher-spec car also receives the premium Canton sound system, which includes 11 speakers, and a subwoofer in the boot. Both the entry car’s ‘Bolero’ and L&K car’s premium ‘Columbus’ infotainment systems support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though they are non-wireless. The centre console also features large switchgear for ease of usage.

With the 2020 update, the L&K also receives a new Virtual Cockpit, which adds more flexibility, and allows for SatNav data to be displayed in-front of the driver. True to Skoda’s mantra of being sensible, there is no wood, or… faux wood. Instead, you do get glossy black plastic and slivers of chrome, which are pleasant to look at. Since we are on this ‘sensible mantra’, Skoda has also found space within the front door cards to sneak in a slot for your small folding umbrellas, and they have their very own drainage.

One of our favourite features in the L&K model is the inclusion of ventilation for the front powered seats, which adds even more comfort to your journey. Rear passengers also benefit from the added comfort of 3-zone Climatronic air-conditioning.

Compared to the Passat, the added length between the front and rear wheels translates to more legroom for those seated at the rear, and is nothing short of amazing. In fact, it easily puts some cars a class or two above to shame.

While the Superb looks more at home making appearances at black tie events, it also doubles up as a fine workhorse… in a black tie that is. Cargo space at 625 litres is by far class-leading, and easily outclasses the Honda Accord’s 570 litres and Toyota Camry’s 493 litres.

As a plus, the sides of the Superb’s boot cavity are flat for easier stowage, and they have hooks and nets for hanging and keeping your stuff secure. The liftback-style automated tailgate also makes loading and unloading the car easier. Fold the rear 40:60 rear seats, and the Superb is able to swallow up to 1,760 litres. Some small things that do bug me, there is a bit of a kerb the rear seats leave behind, and the seats do not fold flat.

The Drive

With the facelift, the Superb is now equipped with a new 2.0 turbocharged ‘B’ cycle engine, which was first seen in the Audi A4. The DSG transmission has also been upgraded, and is now a 7-speed unit.

The new 2.0 litre, which replaces the 1.8 litre variant makes 190hp and 320Nm, giving it a small 10hp bump in power. You also get 70Nm more in terms of torque. It is however less powerful than the previous 2.0 turbocharged engine.

Acceleration with the new engine is smooth, as you walk through the Superb’s seven gear ratios. The large sedan feels relaxed, but not lazy, when driven in its ‘Comfort’ drive setting - my personal favourite. With all of its torque available from between 1,500-4,180rpms, overtaking is effortless. One of the best features in the L&K model is the Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), which toggles the suspension damping to match the drive mode. From wafting around in sheer comfort, the Superb can be switched up to ‘Sports’ mode, with the matching stiffness needed for a spirited drive. However, do not expect the sharpest of cars here, since the Superb is built more for comfort, and would be less engaging than the shorter Passat.

Beyond pushing the Superb around the bends, the stylish Czech sedan is comfortable in doing the economy run. The new B Cycle engine averages a lab-tested 15.9km/l, slightly better than the previous 1.8 litre. We managed to average approximately 14km/l, which includes some driving through town. 

The two key features the Superb with the new engine brings (when operating on ‘Eco’ mode) is its ability to run on just 2 cylinders (cylinders one and four) when you’re cruising on the highway. Lifting off the throttle, also decouples the transmission, allowing you to coast along with the engine on idle to keep all the essential electricals alive. Even on its most frugal drive setting (with the annoying must-have auto start-stop shut off), there is enough grunt from the engine to keep pace in most normal traffic situations; and if you are not in a rush, you could drive comfortably all day in ‘Eco’ mode.

Safety-wise, the Skoda Superb now features their Front Assist collision alert system, which is fitted as standard on both models. The system includes their Predictive Pedestrian Protection, that acoustically warns drivers of a potential collision, and goes on to gently apply the brakes to slow the car down, or even bring it to a stop in the event of an emergency.

Skoda has also revised their Side Assist, which consists of radar sensors mounted at the rear to help check driver blind spots, with the system now being able to sense up to 70 meters rearward, giving you a heads-up much earlier. Parking the large sedan is also a breeze with Park Assist with Manoeuvre Assist, which automates both parallel and vertical parking operations.

Our Thoughts

The Skoda Superb is a car that seems to try to offer the owner almost everything. And while it may not be an outright driver’s car (though it is still engaging enough), it does offer you style, sensibility, comfort and economy. 

And if style, sensibility, comfort and economy are what you are looking for in a sedan which is very much at home at a black tie event, as it is equally at home when you are rolling up your sleeves to haul the kitchen sink. The Superb truly is Simply Super.

In Summary

We Like

New engine and transmission improves fuel economy. Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), offers occupants Executive Sedan-rivaling ride comfort. Space, and plenty of it. Superb-ly handsome.

We Don't

Rear seats do not fold flat. L&K flagship can be costly. Transmission is inherently mildly jerky at carpark speeds. Gearshift lever with very little detent can feel a little vague in 'D' position. No wireless charging pad.

Verdict

The Skoda Superb’s practicality means that it simply is a car that can do more than its peers. More than just an alternative for those who may choose traditional “Towkay” cars, it does look and feel younger too.

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1984cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 11.65:1
Bore x Stroke (82.5 92.8)mm
Power 188bhp @ 4200rpm
Torque 320Nm @ 1500rpm
Power to Weight 122.5 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 7.7s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 240 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 16.1 km/L
Drag Coefficient 0.272

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DSG
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4869 x 1864 x 1469) mm
Wheelbase 2841 mm
Turning Circle 11.1 metres
Kerb Weight 1535 kg
Boot Capacity 625 L
Boot Capacity (folded) 1760 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 66 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs