It’s been 4 long years since we last reviewed the Skoda Superb. Rob Clubley came away extremely impressed, giving the car a full 5-Chevron rating.

There was an update for the Superb for 2020, and an all-new model introduced: the Scout. With the popularity of the Octavia Scout, Skoda decided it was worthwhile to develop the Superb Scout too, lifting the car by 15mm, adding some protective plating underneath the car, putting plastic wheel arch mouldings and side scuff plates in for good measure. There’s some other Scout items too, like the front seats that have ‘Scout’ embroidered into them.

Can the Superb be even better than it was in 2016, and can the Scout increase its market share? Skoda NZ sent us a Scout for a full review.

The Range

The Scout comes pretty well equipped for its $64,990 price tag. Standard equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and start, an electric tailgate (with Skoda’s ‘Virtual Pedal’ hands-free opening), power and heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, automatic parking, adaptive cruise control, lane assist, side assist, automatic LED headlights, automatic wipers, Rest Assistant, LED taillights, LED front fog lights, LED DRLs, electric side mirrors (with auto dimming, heating, and auto dip), Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, dual-zone climate AC, LED interior lighting, Alcantara/Suede seating, 8” central touchscreen display, and 18” BRAGA polished alloy wheels.

When you buy the Scout, that means a few changes. This includes a Rough-Road package providing 15mm more ground clearance and all-wheel drive. New front and rear bumpers with aluminium-effect underbody protection as well as plastic trims for the wheel arches, side sills and the lower part of the door to protect the bodywork. The radiator grille features black double slats framed by a chrome trim, while the roof rails and window frames are also chrome-plated. There are special Scout badges on the wings and it features an exclusive paint colour of ‘Tangerine Orange’.

 You can read more about the Scout on Skoda New Zealand’s website.

First Impressions

For 2020, there’s little update in the look for the Superb. Adaptive LED headlights, an updated grille and bumpers, adaptive cruise, some other changes, and the launch of the Scout model.

It’s a sharp looking car, and our test car got a lot of positive comments, especially with our test car in Race Blue Metallic. When parked among so many grey and silver cars, the Scout stands out from a distance. The front looks quite aggressive with those new LED headlights, but in a good way. That design means business, and with 200kW of power, it’s not all for looks.

The length of the car will surprise some – this is a full-size station wagon, and it shows. With some sporty alloys and privacy rear glass, it’s a great looking wagon. The rear has a couple of faux exhaust outlets, which would be very cool if they were exhaust tips, but they are just for design’s sake.

Being the Scout model, that means plastic adorns the wheel arches, sills and the lower part of the doors, but it looks tasteful and purposeful, rather than simply being added for the hell of it.

The Interior

For a change, I’m going to start in the boot, because it’s one of the Superb’s highlights. Opening up the electric tailgate, you see the huge 660 litres of storage. Not only do you have that much space available (and then 1950 litres with the rear seat folded down), there are large bins at each side of the boot as well. The boot is simply massive.

Of course being a Skoda, there’s lots of other nice tricks in the boot. There’s the rechargeable/removable torch, all sorts of hooks and places to tie things down, some smaller storage around the space-saver spare tyre too. The Scout also has the net system for the boot, so you can put a net up with the rear seats up (net connects to the middle of the car) or rear seats down (net connects behind the front seats). It’s a great system for keeping animals at bay, or just to stop your stuff flying up front in hard braking.

Moving forward, you get to those long rear doors that open wide. And there it is, feature number two of the Superb; rear legroom. It’s bordering on unbelievable, and could put a limousine to shame. If your rear passengers are complaining about legroom, there’s something wrong with them.

Opening the front doors sees an umbrella in each front door with its own parking spot, very handy at this time of year.

The seats are a nice suede/leather mix, and look great. I see that Skoda have gone the Hyundai Santa Fe route, and have seat controls for the front passenger on the centre console side of the seat, so rear seat passengers can adjust the front seat. I’m still not sure this is a good idea, there are kids out there that would love to drive a parent crazy, adjusting the seat back and forward or up and down while they are sitting in it. I can see the benefits, but I can see the downside as well. Mind you, with that much legroom it’d be a child with monkey-like arms to reach the buttons from the rear seat.

Up front there’s a single USB and a single 12-volt socket, then another single USB port in the centre console cubby. This cubby is also air conditioned via an adjustable outlet, so your chocolates don’t melt. The glovebox, which is very average in size, is also air conditioned. Rear seat passengers have a single 12-volt outlet for charging phones.

I’m happy to say the doors have felt lining for the storage at the bottom. I hope everyone eventually does this – it stops items rattling around when driving. I took a bottle of wine in the front door water bottle holder, and there it sat without a noise for the entire trip. Thank you, Skoda.

For the driver, there’s another small cubby to the right hand side of the steering wheel. You could get a wallet in here, and there’s also two credit card or fuel card slots available. Handy!

There’s yet another highlight to the Scout’s interior: the materials. There’s almost no hard plastic, and certainly wherever your hand falls, it won’t be to some cheap piece of plastic. Everything looks expensive and well made, and the fit and finish is excellent. But again, it’s the quality of materials that’s a stand out. After jumping out of a Hyundai Ioniq, the Scout was in another world for quality.

Keeping things a little sporty, there’s alloy pedals, and contrasting stitching in the seats and doors. Great to see a beige colour used on the headlining and pillars – they help lighten up the interior. It doesn’t really need it, as with big side windows and reasonably sized pillars, visibility is top notch.

The Drive

Getting into the Scout, the cabin feels very wide. It may be the design of the interior helping here, with a few lines of trim running completely across the dash, but it’s spacious all the same. I doubt anyone will feel cramped in any of the seats.

In the driver’s seat, my first impression was that the steering wheel was off a bus. It looks huge, but after a day or two I didn’t notice. It is quite chunky though, adding to the too-big feeling. Still, the leather wheel feels fantastic, and there’s the standard Skoda controls on it, which work perfectly. It doesn’t take much before you aren’t looking down to see what button you are pressing. I absolutely love that Skoda is one of those brands that uses thumbwheels on the steering wheel to control audio volume and cruise control speed – it’s so much easier and more efficient than using buttons.

Speaking of the steering wheel, it’s heated and that’s something I always like. It’s the old story here – tell someone you like a heated steering wheel, and if they roll their eyes then they haven’t driven a car with one. Once you do, it’s hard to go back. A bonus with the Scout is that there are three heat settings for the steering wheel alone, which was awesome. I’d not seen this before, but appreciated it. You can only access these settings by pressing the driver’s seat heater button. This isn’t the end of the world, but it did mean you were actually changing the seat heat setting to get to the steering wheel heat settings (which would come up on the display), and then you could turn the seat heater back up again. A little bit of a strange way of doing it, but it still works.

Steering itself is nicely weighted. Around town, you can feel the ease to turn, but on the open road, it firms up nicely, with a perfect amount of steering feel. I couldn’t fault it.

The dash is also Skoda’s standard display, with no active settings etc. But the gauges are perfectly clear, and there are lots of options

With 200kW of power on tap and all-wheel-drive (AWD), I was expecting an exciting but safe drive. I wasn’t disappointed. Not only can the Scout get the power down on full throttle with almost no wheel spin in dry or wet conditions, when you hit 4,000rpm or so you and you are rewarded with a delicious growl that can only come from a highly-tuned euro turbo motor, right out to the 6,000rpm redline. It sounds excellent. 0-100km/h is finished in 5.7 seconds. The Scout is no slouch.

And that’s not even mentioning the torque. With 350Nm available at 2,000rpm, torque is king, and the Scout is one of those cars that can easily cope with running around in Eco mode, and still have so much torque on hand you don’t even notice. A shame the car doesn’t remember what drive mode you last had it in, so you have to select it every time.

Something has to be said about the smoothness of that turbo four. It’s incredibly smooth all the time, at any revs. Quiet too, unless you floor it. It’s a gem, this motor, and I loved every day with it. While the engine can be very quiet most of the time, road and tyre noise do make an appearance. Naturally it’s worse on coarse chip seal, but even on asphalt there was always some tyre noise coming through to the cabin.

You get 5 drive modes in the Scout; Eco, Normal, Sport, Individual, and Offroad. According to Skoda, Offroad mode is designed to make the driver’s life easier on difficult-to-negotiate roads and to adjust the characteristics of the engine, electronic assistants and stability control systems. Depending on driving situations, the Off-Road mode assistants can be divided into the following groups:

  • Pull-away, traction and uphill start assist (Drive-Off Assist, ASR Off-road, EDS Off-road)
  • ASR Off-road system controls (increases) the driven wheels´ slip in the off-road mode to facilitate off-road starts and driving.
  • EDS Off-road system (electronic differential lock) will intervene on surfaces where each of the drive wheels has different grip characteristics and/or to cope with road irregularities. The slipping wheels are braked earlier and harder than by the standard EDS system.
  • Braking support (ESC Off-road, ABS Off-road)
  • ESC Off-road will intervene in cases of moderate understeer and oversteer to facilitate driving on unpaved tracks and enhance the car´s off-road capability.
  • ABS Off-road facilitates braking on unpaved surfaces (gravel, snow, etc.). By locking the wheels in a controlled manner, the system creates a “wedge” from the surface material cumulated in front of the braked wheels, thus reducing the braking distance.
  • Steep downhill support (Hill descent control) – On steep off-road descents, this function regulates the vehicle’s speed – depending on the situation – using the braking system and the engine braking torque, thereby ensuring that the vehicle does not begin to skid in an uncontrolled manner.

I had to take a drive over the Remutaka Hill to Masterton one day, and gladly drove the Superb there. With all that power and torque + AWD, it was a dream drive. Sure, it does roll a little more on the corners than the standard model, but the grip is so good and the handling predictable, you can really throw this car around if you want to. To get the best out of the engine, you should keep it over 4,000rpm, and then you are rewarded with performance and a sound track. I really would have loved to have steering wheel paddles on that drive, but twisty roads like that isn’t what the Scout was designed for. Brakes are certainly up to the task, hauling speed off blazingly fast, and repeated 100km/h-0 stops sees almost no fade. Nice.

I’ve got to give Skoda credit for the adaptive cruise control, new to the Superb. It’s so smooth, some other manufacturers should take a Superb for a drive. It anticipates the traffic ahead, regardless of how far you’ve set the distance to the car in front to be. It brings the car to a complete stop too, and then lets you head away again with a touch of the gas pedal. But it’s the smoothness of the system that got me, it’s right up there with Mercedes-Benz and other Euro marques that have this nailed.

But what about the DSG? We’ve had far too many cars with dual-clutch (DCT, or also DSG) automatic transmissions, and while they are great on the move, many of them are jerky at low speeds. The Superb has had a DSG makeover to make it less jerky. Has it worked? On the whole, yes. It’s a definite improvement over the previous gearbox, although you can still feel that dual-clutch working hard – especially places like my driveway, which has a slight gradient. As I’m slowly reversing, you can feel the gearbox putting the clutch off and on. It’s not a deal breaker, and it has improved, so almost a win-win. On the move, changes are lightning quick, as are most DSG gearboxes.

For those who have the one car for the Daily Drive, the Scout can deliver pretty darn nicely. I hated to give the car back at the end of my time with it, as we both settled into a daily commute with ease, and pleasure. Along with great visibility, there’s blind spot monitoring (on the mirror body though, and not on the lens), and the seats are extremely comfortable – even on a longish drive. Both front seats are electric, although there’s no cushion adjustment for those with longer legs. The seats could do with a bit more side support, but overall they are near-on perfect. There’s SatNav of course, and you can pinch and zoom the screen if you wanted to. The Scout, with it’s slightly higher ride height, is well suited to commuting, as well as heading to the mountain.

You’d think with that much power on tap and a willingness to perform that the Scout would suck the gas. Skoda suggests that the Scout should use around 8.1L/100km. Over 700km, I got 8.3 – that’s pretty impressive for a 2-litre turbo that puts out 200kW of power.

The Competition

Want value for money and cargo space? It’s hard to go past the Scout.

Brand/ModelEnginePower/TorquekW/NmCargo capacity, litresFuel consumption, L/100kmBase Price – High to Low
Audi A6 TFSI Sport Avant AWD2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol185/3704956.3$98,500
Volvo V60 T5 R-Design Wagon AWD2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol192/4005057.3$82,900
Mercedes-Benz C200 Estate RWD2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol150/300NA7.4$79,200
Skoda Superb Scout AWD2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol200/3506608.1$64,990

The Pros and Cons

ProsCons
·       Fuel economy
·       3 position steering wheel heating
·       Styling
·       Performance
·       Brakes
·       Grip
·       Rear legroom
·       Cargo capacity
·       Engine smoothness
·       Engine noise
·       Quality of materials
·       Road/tyre noise 
Vehicle Type5-door large station wagon
Starting Price$64,990
Price as Tested$64,990
Engine2-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol
Transmission7-speed DSG
Power, TorquekW/Nm[email protected],[email protected],000rpm
Spare WheelSpace saver
Kerb Weight, Kg1,667
Length x Width x Height, mm4862x2031x1477
Cargo Capacity, litres (seats up/seats down)660/1950
Fuel economy, litres/100kmAdvertised Spec – combined – 8.1
Real World Test – combined – 8.3
Tank capacity, litres66
Towing CapacityKg, unbraked/braked750/2200
Turning circle, metres11.1
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
 Warranty5 year/150,000Km mechanical
ANCAP Safety Rating5 Star
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Economy
8
Interior
9
Performance
8
Safety
8
Styling
8
Value
10
Previous articleHyundai confirms all-new Palisade SUV for New Zealand
Next article2020 Volvo XC60 T8 AWD R-Design Polestar Engineered – Car Review – Not your typical Volvo
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on www.usa2nz.co.nz. We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm also an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.