Very sound Czech

No one else in your street will have a Su­perb. Their loss

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

NEW

By the time Skoda got its Su­perb here in 2008 the maker was work­ing hard to build up its po­si­tion. Volk­swa­gen’s Czech off­shoot had be­come in ef­fect a one-car com­pany— the Oc­tavia was the only model do­ing any busi­ness to speak of — and was go­ing nowhere fast.

The Su­perb was the first of a range of new and updated mod­els aimed at get­ting some traf­fic into its deal­er­ships. Based on a stretched Oc­tavia/ Pas­sat plat­form but no wider than the smaller mod­els, it looked a lit­tle like a stretch limo, too long for its width.

At launch there was just the one body style avail­able, with a wagon added to the range later. That first body style was un­usual in that it could be de­scribed as a sedan or a hatch.

The trick was its TwinDoor boot lid-cum-tail­gate, which could be a sedan-style boot or, at the flick of a switch, a full tail­gate as in a hatch. The large boot could be ex­panded by fold­ing the rear seats. There was am­ple room up front with comfy ac­com­mo­da­tion for five adults in a quiet, re­fined cabin.

Engine op­tions were a 1.8-litre turbo petrol four (118kW/250Nm), a 2.0-litre turbo diesel (125kW/350Nm) and the range-top­ping 3.6-litre petrol V6 (191kW/350Nm), in El­e­gance trim only.

The 1.8 and the diesel were hooked up to a six-speed du­al­clutch gear­box, with fi­nal drive through the front wheels. Fit­ted with a seven-speed DSG, the V6 had all-wheel drive. All mod­els were well equipped, par­tic­u­larly the El­e­gance, which had the lot.

NOW

DSG— three let­ters that should spell cau­tion when look­ing at a Su­perb. Road testers raved about the in­no­va­tive new gear­box when VW rolled it out, but they only had to live with it for a few days, a week at most— not years.

We’ve been in­un­dated with re­ports from an­gry own­ers about the DSGs— though from VW own­ers not Skoda own­ers, yet the gear­boxes are the same. There’s no ques­tion the gear­box is a great thing when it’s work­ing as it should but if it plays up it be­comes a night­mare.

Er­ratic shift­ing, choos­ing the wrong gear and find­ing neu­tral at the most in­ap­pro­pri­ate mo­ments are among the is­sues re­ported to Cars­guide. If the trans­mis­sion does give trou­ble it can be ex­pen­sive to re­pair and deal­ers usu­ally opt for re­place­ment.

Thor­oughly test a Su­perb in all types of driv­ing con­di­tions and look for any hard gear changes, shud­der­ing on take-off, re­luc­tance to change gears, in­di­ca­tions it has se­lected the wrong gear and cer­tainly any time it se­lects neu­tral.

An­other in­no­va­tion was a so-called rain brak­ing sys­tem that dried the brake ro­tors by bring­ing the pads into contact with the ro­tors for three sec­onds at in­ter­vals of 3km. That’s a recipe for brake wear if ever there was one, so be pre­pared for more fre­quent brake re­place­ments.

As al­ways, check for reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing, go over the body check­ing for dodgy panel gaps, poor paint fin­ish, etc, that might be tell-tale signs of crash re­pairs. The Su­perb is packed with electrics and elec­tron­ics, other ar­eas that of­ten give trou­ble in to­day’s cars, so check all sys­tems and make sure ev­ery­thing is work­ing.

SMITHY SAYS

Gen­er­ally a sound choice and ex­cel­lent value.

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