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Skoda Superb
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Customer Rating
: N/A
Expert Rating
: 9/10
Warranty
: 4 Yrs / Unlimited kms (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
Delhi
 help (Rs.Lakhs)
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23.97 Lakhs-30.82 Lakhs

Strong Areas

  • Stylish Demeanour
  • High Safety Equipment 
  • Powerful Diesel Performance
  • Superior Dynamics

Weak Areas

  • No Manual Diesel
  • Average Boot
  • Small Rear Space
  • Low Mileage
Skoda Superb
 
 

One Match Two Sixes

 It’s difficult to rationalize top quality cars Accord and Superb especially when both have four-cylinder and are fairly interesting to drive. So here we bring you our expert review.


Author

By

ecardlr.com National

ONE MATCH, TWO SIXES

The Accord and Superb are the latest protagonists in the luxury car war. Both cars now come with V6 motors too win the hearts of power-seeking customers. We decide which one comes out on top.

The Superb has taken the RS 20 lakh luxury market by storm. Skoda can’t make enough of its flagship and there’s a long waiting list that stretches back to the Czech Republic. Why then excite punters by launching another, even more powerful version of the Superb? It’s about image (this is the ultimate saloon Skoda has ever made) and a bit to do with its arch rival, The Honda Accord. Once the king of its class, the Accord has been toppled from its throne. This Czech upstart has outsold the Japanese saloon in the last few months. Honda upped the ante by plonking a lusty 3.5 V6 motor to enchance the Accord’s appeal but Skoda has quickly hit back with its own V6. Both these cars are seriously quick but seriously expensive too. So, does the extra bangs justify the extra bucks? Or is the merely a game of one-upmanship?

SIX APPEAL

Both the Accord and Superb come with v6 motors but their specs differ. Displacing 3.5 litres, the Honda engine is marginally smaller than the Skoda’s 3.6, yet has 11bhp more power. The Accord V6’s superior bhp/litre figure is not surprising. Honda is the champ when it comes to extracting every ounce of power from a naturally aspirated engine and this V6 unit is no exception. The Superb’s V6 relies on VW’s much-celebrated FSI or direct-injection technology, but without forced induction it can’t match the Accord’s specific power output. Like most Hondas, the Accord V6 is a rev-happy unit with a particularly strong top-end. However, the Superb V6 hits back with a meatier spread of torque which, as we found out, is more important in the real world.

Reacquainting ourselves with the Honda V6 reminded us of its velvet-smooth character and the linear manner in which it delivers all those 271 horses. The Accord’s throttle response is incredible and the massive Honda lunges forward in a way that contradicts its size. In fact, the Honda engine is so responsive that it takes a while to modulate the throttle and drive smoothly. But once you learn to control the throttle by flexing your right foot in millimetric steps, you will relish the immediacy with which the Accord reacts, especially in traffic. As expected, performance is terrific and the Accord gathers pace in a very rapid, seamless way. 100kph is dispatched in 8.6 seconds and it blasts past the 200kph mark without breaking into a sweat. The Accord’s gearing is incredibly tall and this means you can really wind the engine, which just never seems to run out of revs. But with such tall gearing and widely spaced ratios, you need lots of road to extract the most out of the Honda engine. Second gear itself takes you past 110kph and third is good for nearly 180kph. Fourth and fifth gear take you past 200kph and you are nowhere close to the redline. In fact, fourth and fifth ratios are rarely used, especially if you are driving the Accord even somewhat enthusiastically. That feels like such a waste, particularly as revving this motor is hugely addictive and great fun. However, when it comes to highway duty, the long-legged Accord feels totally relaxed and at a legal 80kph, the engine turns over at a lazy 1750rpm in fifth gear. Even at its max speed on the other side of 200kph, the V6 motor feel utterly unstressed and like it could carry on for days. Adding to the sense of calm is the astonishing refinement of this V6, which feels incredibly smooth throughout its rev range.

The Superb V6 is a different animal altogether. It doesn’t impress immediately and for normal driving it is nowhere near as responsive as the Accord. That’s partly because of the extra weight of the 4X4 system, which adds 183kg to the scales, and partly because of the DSG gearbox (a six-speed and not seven like in the 1.8 Superb). Surprisingly, the double-clutch transmission has an infuriating delay when you floor the throttle and doesn’t offer the instantaneous response of the Accord. Hence, the Superb isn’t as easy to punt around in point-and-shoot traffic conditions but you quickly learn to factor that initial lag in the transmission. However, if you are looking for flat-out performance, it’s a different story. Unlike the Accord’s linear flow of power, the Superb’s Power delivery is more abrupt to the point of being brutal. Floor the throttle and aftet that initial hesitation, the Super simply takes off. You get a solid kick in contrast to the consistent and gentler shove in the Accord. The DSG now feels at home, offering rapid-fire gearshifts which can barely be felt. The way the tacho needles dance up and down in between shifts gives some indication of the speed only a DSG ‘box can offer.

Despite a significantly unfavorable power-to-weight ratio, the Superb is much quicker off the line thanks to better traction from the 4X4 system and overall gearing that is much lower than the Accord’s. Astonishingly, the Superb beats the Accord to 100kph by exactly one second. It is only near max speed that the Honda closes in a bit. It’s the same story with out in-gear timings-the Superb is significantly quicker especially in the 20-80kph dash. The Skoda 3.6 V6’s punchy mid-range is its strength and this is what eventually makes it more potent.

Mention must be made of the 97 octane fuel we used for the test. Unlike the Accord, which happily runs on 91 octane, the Superb V6 can’t take lower than 95 octane. The high octane fuel is sure to have given the Superb an advantage the Honda didn’t have. Like most V6s, both engines are strong on refinement but it is the Honda that has the clear edge, sounding sweet and unfussed throughout its rev range. The Superb’s V6 gets a bit vocal beyond 5000rpm and you are aware that the engine is working hard as it nears the redline.

One might assume that fuel consumption isn’t really relevant here as buyers of these cars will want performance over economy. In reality though, fuel efficiency is an obsession that cuts through segments and price points. The Accord with its high-tech cylinder deactivation system, which shuts off three cylinders at low engine loads, pays dividends when it’s time to fill up. The Accord gave 6.7kpl in the city and 12.2kpl on the highway, substantially better than the Superb’s 6.1kpl and 11kpl respectively. The Superb’s weight and lower gearing penalise efficiency and frequent visits to the pump are further compounded by the small 60-litre tank which limits range-not good when a pump with 97 octane fuel is not just around the corner.

MASS MANAGEMENT

To harness all the power and torque these big engine churn out, you need a competent chassis and this is where the Accord can’t hold a candle to the Superb. At moderate speeds, the Accord’s suspension does the job and copes well with uneven surfaces. It is only sharper disturbances like ruts and potholes that can be felt, but that is more due to the low profile of the tyres.

Up the pace and the Accord clearly feels like a car that has more power than its chassis can handle. With over 270bhp channeled through the front wheel, the traction control light constantly flashes as the electronics cut in to quell the understeer. At high speeds and on an undulating surface, the Accord floats a bit, the nose gently bobbing up and down. Making amends is the steering which has decent feel and weights up in a linear way. However, at the speeds the Accord is capable of, we would have certainly liked a more planted feel. The hitch is the relatively soft suspension, which is tuned for smooth and straight American roads where the Accord I hugely popular. The Soft set-up is good for comfort but it undermines the sportiness such a powerful V6 saloon is supposed to have.

The Superb feel rock-solid at any speed. Its poise and composure are unflappable and through fast, sweeping bends where you have to back off in the Accord, you simply don’t hesitate in the Superb. The big Skoda, with its light and responsive steering, turns into corners more eagerly but where it really scores is when it powers out of them. The Honda Scrabbles for grip, exiting tight bends while the Superb digs its claws in. Credit goes to the newest, fourth-generation Haldex all-wheel-drive hardware which gives the Superb unmatched traction, especially on a wet surface. In fact, our tests conducted in peak monsoon highlighted the effectiveness of the Superb’s 4X4 system. The Skoda felt better under hard braking as well, stopping in a shorter distance than the Accord which dived onto its front wheels during out brakes tests.

The Superb’s impeccable high-speed manners come at the expense of low-speed ride. It is an obvious trade-off and the lack of compliance can be felt over every expansion joint The Accord feels much more cushioned in comparison and hence is more comfortable to ride in.

Both cars being pretty huge are not easy to thread through traffic. The Honda’s huge dimensions call for good judgment, while the Skoda’s length can be deceptive.

EXECUTIVE CLASS

For sheer comfort, the Accord with its plush and generous seats has a slight edge. The front seats are huge with extra-long squabs to suite large frames. Rear passenger are pampered as well with generous legroom and sufficient width for three large-sized adults. The interiors are practical too with decent-sized door pockets as well as a good amount of storage in the centre console.

The Superb has its strength as well. Legroom for rear passengers is a class apart and you can really stretch out at the back. Lots of glass area and light-coloured materials give the cabin an airy feel. The seats, though supportive, are on the firm side and you don’t sink into them. However, they are brilliantly contoured and the fully powered driver’s seat comes with memory. Where the Skoda scores is in the detailing of its interiors. There’s an ambience of quality the Accord can’t match and lots of neat touches like the pillar-mounted rear vents, the footrest under the front seats and the touchscreen which adds to the class. A class act is the twin-door boot which opens as either a saloon or a hatch. It’s a bit gimmicky but superbly engineered and the amount of luggage space available is far greater than the Accord. Both the V6s come with the same equipment as the lesser four-cylinder variants.

AUTOCAR VERDICT

Skoda Superb
Honda Accord

The Superb and Accord V6s are priced at Rs 29.25 lakh and Rs 29.55 lakh respectively, which is whopping Rs 8 lakh more than the base models. In both cases, It’s hard to justify such a premium especially since the four-cylinder Accord and Superb are pretty entertaining to drive as well. The V6s only make sense if all you ultimately want is performance and money is no object. The Accord’s V6 motor with its responsiveness, free-revving nature and silky refinement is clearly the better of the two and its superior fuel economy drives home Honda’s expertise with petrol engines. However, the Superb with its direct-injection motor coupled to the DSG ‘box is quicker and delivers power in a more raw way. The Supber’s dynamics, aided by the 4X4 system, is what takes it ahead of the Accord. Also, the Skoda is the more luxurious, exciting and entertaining of the two cars and that’s exactly what owners buying a performance luxury saloon will want.

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