First Drive – 2014 Skoda Superb facelift
Tarun Tripathy, Tarun has competed in the Raid De Himalayas, holds a national record for endurance driving and trained in the advance levels of the Mercedes AMG driving academy.
I remember driving the Superb a few years ago in Chennai. It had only recently come out and was a good alternative to the more expensive German rivals, and it still is. I liked the car. I liked how it drove, handled, and understood executive luxury.
I think my liking also had to do with the 3.6 litre V6 option that Skoda provided. I never got the chance to drive it, but admired the strategic thought behind it. Sadly, the V6 got discontinued recently.
Skoda previewed the Superb facelift internationally in 2013 and since the car was always assembled in India, it was only a matter of time before the facelift appeared in India too. That time has come.
Here are the things that the 2014 Superb gets:
- Bi-Xenon Headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights
- LED Taillamps
- Keyless Entry with Start Stop Button
- Three Spoke Steering Wheel with Audio/Phone/Display Controls + DSG Paddle Shifters
- Redesigned Front Bumper + Grille + Engine Hood
- Redesigned Rear Bumper + Boot Lid
- Bluetooth Connectivity
- New 16″ Alloy Wheel Design
At the front, the Bi-Xenon’s look great along with the DRL’s that form sort of a ripple effect at the edge of the headlamps. The design has gotten sharper with the Superb now sporting the new Skoda logo and family grille that you earlier saw on the new Octavia.
The design heads at Skoda have left the side profile untouched with the only changes coming to the alloy wheel design. At the rear is where you see the big changes. I say “big”, because it is a generation improvement on the earlier design, which quite honestly looked dull and boring from day one. A lot of people will now mistake it for an Audi A4 from the rear as it is heavily inspired from its sister brand. But it works for the Superb and the segment it plays in.
Overall, the Superb has gotten a lot more smarter and sharper in design with no changes going into its mechanicals. You should however note that the new features such as the Bi-Xenons with DRLs, Keyless Entry with Start-Stop Button, and Bluetooth Connectivity are limited to the Elegance variant. The Superb comes in Ambition (base) and Elegance (top) variants.
Skoda will continue to offer the 1.8 turbo petrol and the 2.0 turbo diesel on the Superb. Why fix something that isn’t broken, right? You have the option of either going in for a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG with the 1.8 petrol motor. The diesel power plant will only come mated to a 6-speed DSG.
Driving dynamics of the Superb continue to be the same as before: well planted, comfortable, and sharp. No matter what the speed. The dual clutch DSG does a fantastic job of handling gears within fractional seconds, irrespective of whether you are wanting to shift up or down. The manual too is a charm to use with short and precise shifting capabilities.
That said, the Superb is one large well accomplished sedan targeting a very SUV centric Indian automotive segment. Amongst its sedan-ic rivals, such as the Toyota Camry and the Hyundai Sonata, the Superb clearly stands out as the better choice.
The Hyundai is an insanely comfortable car to be in but it is for that very reason that it doesn’t inspire any high speed confidence. The Camry drives very well, but demands an unusually high price tag for the equipment on offer. Skoda combines the best of both worlds in the Superb making it the best choice in the segment. But this really isn’t the actual competition, is it?
The 20-30 lakh segment has been long dominated by SUVs such as the Fortuner.
India’s love for these massive machines is probably a derivative of our poor road conditions and the need for dominating presence. But keep these two aspects aside, and you will be able to see just how much more these technology-laden, fast, and luxurious sedans have to offer in this segment. They are doing a lot of things right, but somewhere somehow automakers have failed to connect their products (luxury sedans) with the minds of prospective customers in this transitional segment.
The SUVs are the cricket-playing- world-cup-winning personalities that are getting all the attention here, while sedans like the Superb are the hockey champions that deserve more attention but aren’t getting it now.
It would be immensely interesting to see which sedan-building-automaker would take the first step in starting the war on SUVs in this high profile segment. Until that time arrives, the Superb is your machine of choice whether you want to be in the front seat doing a hundred-and-eighty-kilometers-per-hour without batting a sweat, or you want to be in the opulence of the rear, signing million dollar deals or simply enjoying the view.
Either that, or if there comes along an all new sedan in the segment that is better than the Superb. What do you think? Let us know below.