New Superb aims to drive Skoda to sales success

Skoda’s new flagship model has arrived in Irish showrooms with a promise to lure new buyers to the brand

 

Skoda plans to achieve a market share of over 7 per cent - and a top five position - in the coming years. That’s according to its brand director in Ireland John Donegan, who claims the new Superb - launched in dealerships in the last few days - will account for 25 per cent of the firm’s Irish sales.

The third generation Superb starts on the Irish market at €26,795 for the entry-level 1.4-litre petrol version and boasts a look and finish that firmly pushes the brand into the upper mainstream market.

Skoda’s flagship model is also offered with two diesl engines: a 1.6-litre TDI diesel with 120hp (from €27,795) and a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine with 150hp (from €32,195) and 190hp (from €33,595) power outputs. The key seller for Skoda Ireland will undoubtedly be the 120hp 1.6-litre unit.

Based on the award winning platform developed by its parent Volkswagen Group it offers an increased wheelbase of 80 millimetres over its predecessor, and the cavernous boot sees an increase too, with an additional 30 litres of luggage space, to increase the total boot capacity to 625 litres.

We drove both the 1.6-litre TDI Superb and the 2.0-litre TDI with 150hp on Irish roads.

The 2.0-litre TDI test car featured Skoda’s dynamic chassis control, this allows you to choose from five drive modes, Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Individual. Comfort is too soft as the car wallows over speed bumps, the throttle requires a firm press from your right foot to get any response. The car is best left in normal or sport mode for the vast majority of drives.

The 1.6-litre TDI Superb we drove was pleasantly surprising with its power delivery. Despite having 30hp less over its 2.0-litre sibling, it offers satisfactory performance on the road. Skoda claims that this new 1.6 TDI produces 14 per cent more power with a 13 per cent improvement in fuel economy over the outward-bound engine. The six speed manual transmission is as expected from the Volkswagen family, a slick unit.

Our preference however would be to opt for the seven-speed DSG automatic transmission as this takes all the strain out of driving, allowing you to relax in comfort and enjoy the drive.

Customers can choose from three levels of trim in the 1.6-litre TDI offering, Active, Ambition and Style.

Just some of the standard equipment includes dual zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, front assist, seven airbags and an electric handbrake with auto hold. The 2.0-litre TDI Superb is available across Ambition, Style and L&K grades. The premium Laurin & Klement (L&K) model boasts premium features including a Canton sound system, 19-inch alloy wheels and adaptive suspension, priced from €39,745. This L&K model takes its name from the original founders of Skoda Václav Laurin and Václav Klement in the Czech Republic some 120 years ago.

The model I would select is the 1.6-litre TDI in Ambition trim with the DSG transmission costing €32,295.

The interior has an abundance of space, especially for rear seat passengers who experience limousine-style legroom. There is quality plastics used for the dash and door cards, but it’s here where the Volkswagen Passat rewards the additional spend with a plush interior.

For the first six months of 2015 Skoda Ireland has registered 5,110 vehicles with a 6.21 per cent market share. With the arrival of an all-new Superb, Skoda Ireland’s Brand Director John Donegan is confident that they will increase their market share to 6.5 or 6.6 per cent by the year end and finish in sixth place overall.

Donegan aims to lead the brand into a top five position with over seven per cent market share in the near future, despite facing ever-increasing competition from the likes of Hyundai, who with their vast range of products are steadily increasing their market share.

Skoda too have new products on the way, and Donegan says he is excited about the upcoming introduction of Skoda’s first seven-seat SUV offering, due late 2016.

The Superb has historically accounted for 22 per cent of the mix with Octavia taking 45 per cent, in 2016 John expects the Superb to increase over 25 per cent. The makeup of Superb sales will most likely be split with 70 per cent saloon and 30 per cent Combi (estate) variants. Donegan predicts sales of 2,100 new Superbs in Ireland in 2016, based on a total market of 130,000 new registrations.