Skoda recently gave its Superb executive sedan a facelift and we pit it against its rival in the segment, the Toyota Camry, to see how much of a difference the makeover has made.
Performance and refinement
The Skoda Superb is powered by a 1.8-litre petrol motor, which makes 160bhp. The direct-injection motor is very refined and stays smooth all the way to its redline. Power delivery is crisp and there is loads of punch everytime you press the accelarator. Thanks to its eager engine, the Superb reaches the 100kph mark in 8.56 seconds, not bad for a car this size. Its seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is quick to shift and feels nice to use.
The Camry is powered by a 2.5-litre petrol motor that makes 178bhp. The motor is more vocal than the Superb’s but never feels strained. And, even though power delivery is gradual in comparison to the Superb, there is strong performance when you’re in the mood. In fact, it reaches the 100kph mark in 9.23 seconds. Its six-speed automatic gearbox works nicely, however, it doesn’t feel as quick as the Superb’s dual-clutch gearbox.
Ride and handling
This is where the Superb really stands out. The suspension is pliant and the Superb does an outstanding job in the ride and handling department. There is a mere hint of stiffness, which you can feel at lower speeds, however, it disappears as you go faster. The tyres provide good levels of grip around corners, giving you that extra bit of confidence. Overall, the Superb feels more sure-footed in comparison to the Camry and has a sportier edge to it.
The Toyota Camry does a fairly decent job in the ride and handling department too. The suspension works quietly and rolls over poor sections of the road quiet well. Unlike the Superb, the Camry has a very comfortable low-speed ride. Although it is pretty confident at high speeds, it just doesn’t feel as rock solid as the Superb. The Camry’s soft suspension setup also results in a fair bit of body-roll through corners.
Skoda has stuck to a simple dashboard as far as design is concerned for the Superb. The only difference between the facelifted car and the previous Superb is the addition of a new three-spoke steering wheel. The rest of its strengths continue. Although the cabin lacks flair, the use of soft plastics, wood and chrome more than compensates for it. The front seats are very supportive and offer good comfort. Finding a comfortable driving position is easy too.
The Camry’s dash design is more adventurous. The interiors feel a bit more premium in comparison to the Superb’s. The stitched-leather effect for the top half of the dashboard, the wood finish and the big steering-mounted controls are nice touches. The front seats are wide and the soft cushioning makes it all the more comfortable car. The rear seat is amazing, it offers sofa-like comfort and excellent thigh support. Headroom and shoulder room is first class too.
Space and practicality
The Superb is by far the most practical of the two cars. There is loads of space up front and the rear is almost limousine-like – that’s just how much space is available – sure to appeal to the chauffeur-driven. The amount of back, shoulder and thigh support is just about right. But the seat cusioning is a tad too hard but the Camry has the better rear bench. The 565-litre boot, which extends to 1670 litres, and loads of storage spaces just add to its practicality.
Even though the Camry doesn’t have the sheer space of the Superb, though the rear seat is much more comfortable, it doesn’t have the sheer legroom of the Skoda. The seat is well shaped and the squarish roofline makes for plenty of headroom. The seat back is perfectly angled and there’s enough place to stretch out. The seats are also placed at a nice height, so it’s easy to slide in and out of the cabin. The front seats are equally nice to sit in.
The Superb has more or less the same amount of equipment as the Camry and is a whopping Rs 3.14 lakh cheaper than the Toyota. It gets stuff a touchscreen interface, split folding rear seats and a six-CD changer. It also gets safety features like six airbags, ABS and ESP (electronic stability programme). Then there’s the twin-opening tailgate – it can be opened like a traditional sedan or like a hatchback.
The Toyota Camry is pretty well equipped. Standard features include dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and go, fully powered front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, parking sensors, cruise-control and a 2-DIN touchscreen audio system with aux-in and USB ports. There are some important features missing though – in addition to quite a few airbags, the Camry doesn’t get a sunroof or a reversing camera.
The Skoda Superb facelift offers acres of space, is stable at speed and is nearly Rs 3 lakh cheaper than the Toyota. The Camry is comfortable and has decent low speed ride along with the famous Toyota reliability. But it's too expensive and has lack-lustre driving manners. The facelifted Skoda Superb trumps the Toyota Camry in this comparison.