We talked about the genesis of Skoda as a german brand, and today we talk about the genesis of Skoda as a brand with premium aspirations: Skoda Superb I. How it was born, how it grew, how it retired, all this in today’s article.
We talked about the Skoda Octavia I, which was born by C-section from the belly of the Golf IV, coming in 1996 with identical mechanics but with a cheaper interior. Much, much cheaper. To put things in perspective (because I am particularly insightful), the Octavia I had as standard equipment windows, pedals, seats, steering wheel and stick shifter but that’s about it. Everything, including the power-anything, was optional. But some people liked the simplicity and luxury of a dorm room, so Octavia I made a name for itself in the car industry.
But the Czech-Germans were not content with just the title “VW’s rural cousin” and released in 2001 the Skoda Superb I, or Skoda Superb 3u.
And how did the Skoda Superb I fare?
Miserable. If the Skoda Superb I makes you think of a VW Passat B5.5, then you have a brighter memory than the smile of Ginny Buckley, another superb product of the 2000s.
Only that the Skoda Superb I did not have the charisma of Ginny Buckley, being built on the platform of the Passat B5.5, with an stretched wheelbase by 10 cm. VW’s idea was to create an elongated platform for passenger comfort. There were however only 2 issues with the Skoda Superb I :
- The first generation of Superb was intended to be a limousine, being a long wheelbase version of the Passat. Unfortunately, in the limousine segment customers have a lot of money and want the latest technologies. And in the period when the Superb was roaming the streets as a new car, there is already the Passat B6 avaialble, not to mention the competition. Why buy an stretched but dated B5.5 instead of a B6?
- If you keep building a car based on recycled technology, at least get rid of the issues of the donor car. But no, VW is not Renault in order to do things right, but we’re gonna talk about them in the general issues section.
Why did I write about Skoda Superb I if it performed as well as Honduras at the 2014 World Cup? After all, coming to the limousine market with an old-fashioned car is like drinking 2 Brain Damage shots and then getting in a fight with the bouncers. Or like making Jonas Hill play against Messi. You have no chance. However, the Skoda Superb I is a very good car in the world of 2022, and we will talk about that in the following lines.
Skoda Superb I Engines
- 2.0 MPI of 116 horsepower – The famous “2.slow”, this engine sacrifices performance for total reliability. It was also the base engine for the Superb, along with the 1.9 TDI. You have to be an incredibly dedicated person to break this engine. Legend has it it works just as fine on surgical spirit.
- 1.8 Turbo of 150 horsepower – We talked about this classic VW engine in almost every article. An engine that likes thrills, coil packs and engine oil. Lots of engine oil. A correct engine for the first generation of Superb. Still not as much as the 1.8 TFSI that followed.
- 2.8 V6 of 190 horsepower – I don’t know if it makes sense to talk about a 2001 Skoda with a 2.8 V6 petrol engine, but apparently some people bought it and this relic of the past is really sturdy but heavy on fuel, heavy on taxes.
- 1.9 TDI of 100, 105, 115 and 131 horsepower – The classic, the eternal 1.9 TDI. With the same unparalleled noise of gravel falling from the wheelbarrow, the 100 horsepower version is too weak, the 105 one is still too weak but at least it is reliable, the one with 115 has some issues with the turbo and the one with 131 is built from erotic stuff. So, the engine you want is the 131 horsepower version, the most balanced engine for this car all-around.
- 2.0 TDI of 136 horsepower – This 2.0 TDI was stolen from the Golf V and Skoda Octavia II, which means that it won’t let you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Quite an rare sight however, because at the time of its launch the Skoda Superb I was already a Nokia 3310 in a smartphone world and when the engine was released, the Superb already had it’s pension in sight.
- 2.5 TDI of 163 horsepower – A spectacular engine, and in the 163 version the engine is built out of titanium. Literally. Okay, at least the camshafts are made of titanium. A Vinnie Jones of the engines world, this is not a city-friendly in any form. Prepare for maintainance and make it double, as this engine is a V6 and has many parts in the double.
Skoda Superb I General Issues
- The main star is the aluminum multi-link suspension, taken straight from the Passat B5.5. In fact, this was Achilles’ heel for A4 B5, A4 B6, Passat B5 and B5.5, Skoda Superb I and A6 C5. Normally, the aluminum suspension is more comfortable and more stable at high speeds on the highway, but on less than ideal roads such as those in Germoney, this type of suspension has a short, expensive life.
- The interior begins to show its age and consequently parts and ornaments will begin to fall. But hey, at least the engine will keep running long before the rest of the car is dead.
- Rust can show up at the older models, but the first generation Superb somehow fares much better against rust than most VWs. In any case, it is mandatory to check the rust on the sills and on the wings.
Skoda Superb I Verdict
The Superb I may not be sought after by many people on the second hand market, but it will always be a diamond for those people who want old, rugged and proven technology in a somewhat-modern car. Yes, and the umbrella in the door debuted on this generation of Superb. Not to mention that in 2006 a facelift came that brought very few improvements, because the recipe was already perfect.