For the chauffeur-driven folk, this sedan’s back seat is the place to be.
If there’s one reason, and one reason only to buy the Skoda Superb, it’s for the back seat. And that’s where I’ve been spending my time for the past few weeks. I can tell you with full conviction that no other back seat is as good for the money. Yes, the Camry Hybrid has a more sofa-like squab, but it doesn’t have the same amount of legroom and sense of space. It’s a more expensive car too.
In fact, the only car that beats the Superb in the back seat stakes is the Mercedes E-Class. It’s fair (and not derogatory) to say that the Superb is the poor man’s E-Class. In fact, this Skoda limo is more of a cheaper E-Class than an Audi A6, despite a fair bit of parts sharing between the VW Group siblings.
With all COVID-19 restrictions gone, traffic pack to absurd levels and parking non-existent, it’s been a chauffeur-driven existence for me on Mumbai streets. And in such an environment, the back seat of our long-term Superb is the place to be. Now, you don’t quite sink into the back seat but sit on it and, like most European cars, the cushioning is on the firmer side, but that’s not to say it’s uncomfortable. Quite the opposite, in fact. The seat holds you snugly in place and there’s an abundance of bolstering all round. Lower back support is great, as is the extended squab which supports your thighs. The back rest can be adjusted for the optimal angle and visibility from the rear is just brilliant.
NEAT SEAT: Controls for rear passengers to move front seat forward.
In fact, I’m not a great back seat traveller, but the cheery light beige interior and a front seat that sits far ahead of your face makes for an airy cabin that lets you instantly get comfortable in it. Air conditioning hasn’t been Skoda’s strength (the old Laura was notorious for its unreliable air con), but in the Superb it works brilliantly, chilling the voluminous cabin quite effectively.
When you’re not driving and just sitting at the back, you’re more sensitive to sounds and noises. The Superb is a pretty refined car, the engine, in particular, is quite hushed at the low rev band you operate in at city speeds. However, sharp edges and ruts are more audible than you would like and the Superb doesn’t muffle these thuds easily, which leads me to believe that the raised suspension has made the wheel wells a bit of an echo chamber.
SHARP EDGE: Thunks from ruts and sharp edges filter through.
On smooth roads, there’s no such problem and the Superb coasts quietly with the gait of a luxury limo. Yes, the Superb, like the Octavia we have reported on in this issue (see page 132), has an overly soft suspension, which isn’t great on the highway but is extremely comfortable in town, especially if you’re chauffeur driven.
Multiple trips to the airport for mostly domestic flights didn’t always test the massive boot of the Superb, where a small carry-on bag could get lost inside. Boot capacity was first tested when I picked up Renuka to catch our flight to Israel. Our collective bags for the week-long trip were easily swallowed by the Superb’s boot.
You’ll have to shift home to test the true capacity of the Superb’s enormous boot, which is really one of the biggest assets of this car. Not surprisingly for airport transfers, the Superb is our favourite.
Niggles? I wish the central screen in the instrument cluster would allow Google Maps to be displayed when I’m using Apple CarPlay. For turn-by-turn navigation or a map, you have to switch to the car’s on-board navigation system, which doesn’t give quite the same coverage as Google.
GOOGLE GOOGLY: Instrument cluster doesn’t display Google Maps.
Otherwise, the Superb has performed flawlessly and with just over 9,000km on the clock, it is just about broken in.