Skoda Superb Wagon
THE SKODA SUPERB range has been bolstered by the addition of the new 2010 Skoda Superb Wagon, and from our first experience it offers an even more compelling package than the sedan.
It’s certainly easier on the eyes than the sedan. The sedan, while not exactly unattractive, suffered a little by having a rear end that looked too heavy and a bootlid that was disproportionately short.
The Superb Wagon doesn’t have the same problem, and although the transition from sedan to wagon has resulted in the loss of Skoda’s intriguing TwinDoor hatch/bootlid, the overall design is now more cohesive and aesthetically pleasing.
The Superb’s substantial rear legroom is still there, all powertrains that are available in the sedan are also available in the wagon and equipment levels haven’t changed either.
It’s a more useful cabin as well. Not only has rear headroom been improved by 30mm, but the rear seat squab now flips forward to allow the rear seatback to fold flatter.
For reasons unknown, the rear seat squab of the sedan is fixed in place.
The load area is obviously the primary drawcard of the wagon, and it doesn’t disappoint. A grand total of 1865 litres of space is available with the rear seat folded, while the seats-up capacity is a generous 633 litres.
A false floor is an option, and it brings the height of the boot floor up to the same level as the loading lip. The loading lip itself is nice and low, and the rake of the tailgate means you can lean in without the risk of knocking your head against the frame.
Compared to the Volvo V70 the Superb has a slightly narrower load area, but a larger tailgate opening. The lip height is lower too, making it easier to load heavy objects.
A pair of alloy rails carry a pair of luggage restraints as well as four movable tie-down points, and are very sturdy. There are plenty of shopping bag hooks too, while another nice touch is a removable (and magnetised), self-charging LED torch.
A pair of aluminium roof racks brings further load-carrying options, particularly for outsize loads like bikes and skis.
The driving experience doesn’t suffer for the bodywork changes; the Superb Wagon drives just as well as its sedan sibling.
Over a drive route that encompassed more than 200km of Victorian country backroads, the Superb Wagon proved itself to be an eminently comfortable cruiser.
Besides a few stretches of the highway, road quality over much of the test route was far from good, but the Skoda’s long wheel travel and soft-ish damping ironed out bumpy and broken tarmac with consummate ease.
The diesel-powered 125TDI and the petrol-engined 118TSI ride more softly than the range-topping V6, which – aside from its Haldex AWD system - has a slightly harder ride thanks to its low-profile tyres and 18-inch alloys.
One of the V6 models we drove at the launch was fitted with the optional sports suspension package, which made it firmer still.
The diesel feels slightly nose-heavy compared to the other models, with the extra weight of its iron-blocked turbocharged engine making the front end a touch floatier over undulating roads.
The diesel engine is a pearler though, and with 350Nm of torque (the same amount as the V6) it’s certainly capable of being hustled along.
Skoda Australia says that the diesel accounts for the vast majority of Superb sedan sales, and it expects the oiler will be just as popular in the wagon. The 118 TSI isn’t to be discounted entirely though, as it’s surprisingly responsive for such a small-engined car.
The 118TSI also benefits from a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, whereas the extra torque of the 125TDI and V6 restrict them to the stronger six-speed DSG auto. The 188TSI's extra ratio improves economy, and helps keep the petrol four operating in the thick of its powerband.
As it is in the sedan, the 191kW V6 is an outstanding engine in the wagon. Being naturally-aspirated, it boasts excellent throttle response, and it has a wider torque band than the diesel.
Thanks to the extra weight of its AWD system the V6 is the heaviest model in the line-up, weighing in at 1777kg empty. Although heftier than the 118TSI and 125TDI by between 150-200kg, the V6 is plenty quick – it’ll sprint from 0-100km/h in 6.6 seconds.
As fast as the V6 may be, the 125TDI is the most fuel-efficient with a combined consumption figure of 6.6 l/100km. On the mostly rural drive route we saw an average fuel economy figure in the low fives.
Cabin refinement is good, and there’s little in the way of the eardrum-hammering boom that sometimes plagues wagons. The tyres do transmit a lot of road noise on coarse asphalt, but that trait is shared with the sedan.
First Drive Verdict
From our first drive it’s clear that the Superb wagon has kept all of the positive virtues of the sedan – high build quality, exceptional value and generous equipment lists – while adding improved utility and a more visually-pleasing rear end.
It’s a definite winner, and delivers one of the nicest drives in the wagon segment. Keen pricing that starts at $42,990 for the 118TSI Ambition and tops out at $57,990 for the V6 Elegance makes the Superb Wagon an enticing prospect for buyers.
On pricing and specification it offers a solid alternative to the Audi A4 Avant, Holden Sportwagon, Citroen C5 Wagon, Renault Laguna Estate, Saab 9-5 wagon and Volvo V50.
Our first impression of the Superb Wagon was a good one, but a full road test will reveal more about what it’s like to live with. Stay tuned.