Skoda Superb 1.8 Ambition: wk 2
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By Paul Pottinger
Part 2 from Carsguide.com.au
Gee, it’s a good thing I read car reviews.
Otherwise a bloke might be in danger of forming his own opinion, based on something as spurious as his own experience.
For instance, I might have gone on thinking the Skoda Superb 1.8 TSI in which I'd just spent 860km was actually a really good thing.
See, I'd found that its lean and green 1.8-litre direct-injection turbo petrol engine was a beaut, an instantly responsive minor miracle that emulates a diesel's thrust through the mid-range.
I'd also found that this big, long liftback had readily and without apparent effort - via a seamless seven-speed DSG (twin-clutch) gearbox - achieved speeds that would make pedestrian advocate Harold Scruby go all squealy.
Yet, according to a glossy monthly magazine built on Brit bits, a little engine just can't cut it in a big car. Oh, well, guess that takes care of that...
And I'd pretty much decided that the road manners of the Czech-built Superb - hailing as it does from a nation where the highway surfaces approximate the lousiness of our own - was nigh on ideal out here, riding the rutted B-trails of the NSW central west like a native son.
Thankfully, my thinking about that was put right by a Sydney newspaper, which says the Superb is a bit jiggly. Oh. Hadn't sussed that. Nor had me old mum, who tends to notice - and care a bit more than me about this sort of thing. And compared to what? A Camry, maybe?
And the engine, which makes all its 250Nm available from as low as 1500rpm suffers 'turbo lag'. Apparently. And the 'automatic' transmission was a bit hesitant.
All of which proves, not so much that these lads couldn't tell the time of day if they'd each got a digital watch for Christmas, but that you see whatever you want. If an engine is turbo-charged, it'll have lag if you want to it to (even though it doesn't).
The throttle tip-in on a DSG won't be as smooth as that of a torque converter auto, but anyone would soon learn the correct pressure to apply off the line, and that using the left foot on the brake simultaneous to the right on the go pedal can interrupt the power.
They'd also be hip to the fact that the new-ish seven speed DSG is an appreciable advance on the now familiar six-speed; that the dual-clutch jobbie is always more economical than a conventional auto; and that it's so adroit that you seldom feel the need to engage manual mode.
That's only my opinion, of course, after driving the car for those 860km. But there's no personal bias in the facts of the fuel read-out, which stayed in the low to mid-sevens for much of that distance.
But then I'm just the silly sort of fellow who thinks, after an odyssey out to and around Mudgee, that the entry level Superb is the big car to buy at the moment.
From $42,990 the standard kit (including literally brilliant, directional bi-xenon lights and no less than nine - count 'em - airbags) and simply cavernous interior space puts it ahead of the slightly more exxy VW Passat (on which it's based).
My advice? Try one and form your own opinion.