Skoda has revealed the new Superb at the Geneva Motor Show, set to arrive in the UK in summer. We were granted an early viewing of the car and drove prototype mules in December, but now Skoda has bared all for the crowds at Geneva.
Styled by Skoda design chief Josef Kaban, the new Superb follows other new models like the Fabia by showing off a more confident, image-led look. From the front, it borrows key design themes from the bold Vision C concept car revealed at Geneva last year.
The Skoda corporate grille sits prominently and is flanked by angular headlights; short front overhangs and a low nose, as on its VW Passat big brother, give a sporty profile, and gone is the old Superb’s slightly dumpy rear three-quarter look – in its place is a coupé-like roofline and flared, muscular shoulders.
Inside, it’s a sober affair with the dash featuring the brand’s familiar, but conventional style. Skoda wants the Superb to be top of the pile for tech and there’s a whole host of clever gizmos.
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Depending on spec, front and rear passengers can control the infotainment system via iPad, there’s Apple CarPlay and, from 2016, there’ll be wireless smartphone charging. Skoda hasn’t forgotten the neat touches, either, as there’s a small umbrella located in each front door, loads of boot space (625 litres when the seats are up and 1,760 litres when they’re down) and masses of rear legroom – the brand claims it’s double that of the Vauxhall Insignia. Owners can also specify ‘Virtual Pedal’ – this sees the boot open when the driver waves their foot under the rear bumper.
Skoda predicts 70 per cent of Superb sales in the UK will be to fleet buyers. Prices will kick from a highly competitive £18,640 for the 148bhp 1.4-litre TSI petrol, and it'll appear in our dealerships in September.
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Skoda has revealed the first official image of the Superb's cabin ahead of the wraps coming off at Geneva. It doesn't reveal any great surprises, but it's easy to see the firm has improved quality and functionality ahead of forcing any innovation.
The design conventional and predictably sober but felt superbly put together in our prototype. Skoda also claims rear legroom is double that available in the Insignia. There’s a bigger boot, too, at 625 litres (with the seats up) and 1,760 (seats down), and the current Superb’s nifty (but heavy) hatch/saloon tailgate has been ditched for a more traditional hatchback format. Gone is the one big umbrella slotted into the rear door, too, replaced by two smaller items, one in each of the front doors. Owners can also specify ‘Virtual Pedal’ – this sees the boot open when the driver waves their foot under the rear bumper.
The tech is improved as well. Front and rear passengers can control the infotainment system via iPad, it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay, and, from 2016, there’ll be wireless smartphone charging.
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Petrol engine options for the Superb in the UK will comprise a 148bhp 1.4 and a high-performance engine from the SEAT Leon Cupra 280 – a 2.0-litre turbo with 276bhp, four-wheel drive and a dual-clutch DSG gearbox. Diesel fans will get a choice of 148bhp and 187bhp 2.0-litre TDI engines with six-speed manual or DSG boxes, plus a super-frugal 1.6-litre GreenLine emitting just 96g/km of CO2. This will arrive in 2016 along with the Superb Estate; a plug-in hybrid like the VW Passat GTE still hasn’t been ruled out.
Some UK spec details have been revealed, and there will be five trim levels. S models will get 16-inch wheels, city emergency braking, Bluetooth and DAB, while SE versions add 17-inch wheels, sat-nav and phone mirroring. Topping the range will be SE-L and posh Laurin & Klement models, while the GreenLine will have its own spec reflecting its eco credentials.
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Our news editor James Batchelor got an exclusive preview of the firm's flagship Superb in Portugal late last year – and got behind the wheel of a prototype undergoing final testing phases.
The new Superb is one of the most important cars for Skoda. Since the first-generation Superb entered the fray in 2001, the firm has sold more than 700,000 worldwide over two model incarnations. But Skoda chairman Prof Dr Winfried Vahland wants the newcomer to exceed 700,000 in its lifetime.
“We want to be the best in the class – at the very top,” he told us, while sitting in the passenger seat during our drive. “We’re not talking about beating the Passat here – that’s moved up a class – but we want the new Superb to sit above cars like the Vauxhall Insignia. We want to be the most technological model you can buy in this class.”
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At the launch of the new Skoda Octavia Scout, a Skoda insider revealed that the next-gen Superb will feature the same 154bhp 1.4-litre TSI engine and 107bhp electric motor from the new Passat – but since then, the firm has not confirmed this. Should it get the green light, the hybrid model could arrive in 2016.
Now read our driving impressions of the Skoda Superb prototype. Don't forget to let us know what you think of the new Skoda Superb in the comments section below...