Very sound Czech
No one else in your street will have a Superb. Their loss
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.
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.
Generally a sound choice and excellent value.