Big on space value and
Just how far can these modular platforms be stretched? It’s hard to fathom that cars from micro minis to large family wagons could spring from a single chassis concept, but it’s true. Well, sort of. VW’s MQB platform is really one clever construction concept that saves money and build time thanks to its commonality across the most complex part of the chassis, that being the bits up front. Common to all MQB cars is the relationship between the axle line, engine placement and pedal box, but the rest can be fairly variable. It replaces three previous platform concepts and currently the largest car built off it is the new Superb. But still it’s hard to comprehend that something this big could in any way be related to the Golf. Also difficult to digest is the weight savings of the MQB build strategy; this big Superb is remarkably light on its rubber feet, weighing just under 1500kg. And that helps deliver more of the good stuff in performance and economy terms, and also the sub-$50k price of this well specified TSI 132 entry model.
Some weren’t too kind about the styling of the new Superb. ‘You should have seen the old one,’ I said, but we reckon the big Skoda is much improved, with reduced overhangs, a stronger character line, and a tidier nose. Overall, new Superb is only a little longer, but there’s some 80mm added between the wheels to benefit mainly luggage space, something you can never have enough of in a wagon. The cargo hold now measures 619L under the cover, and even more if you jam everything up to the roofline. The space is long, deep and wide but the load bay covers are bulky, and best removed if piling lots of stuff in. While the seat folds 60/40, a 40/20/40 arrangement would have been preferable, and one that folded completely flat too. There’s still oodles of leg stretching space in the rear. The new car is 50mm wider too, which gives everyone a little more elbow room.
Cabin finishing is first rate, with a wealth of soft plastics, piano black detailing (though it tends to highlight fingerprints) and suede and leather trim. The touch screen infotainment system is easily navigable, quick to respond and, paired with a useful trip computer, they provide everything you really need. For those doing plenty of miles, the seat comfort and support are about right, with just enough adjustment (electric too) to help find a good driving position.
Also making it more agreeable is the Superb’s genuinely downy ride quality which is great for main road cruising. However, it’s too slow in the rebound and so it can get floaty on bumpy back roads. The steering, other than being somewhat light, directs the front around smartly and while the Superb is not exactly nimble it doesn’t mind switching directions, though there’s a fair degree of accompanying roll. But on the main highway, with the cruise set, this eats up miles in a very relaxed fashion. And it’s quiet too with minimal road noise and hardly a peep from the engine.
While we couldn’t meet the claims for the Superb, a sub nine-second run to 100km/h is acceptable, especially given it returned 7.0L/100km on a trip fully laden from the big