The Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb large family cars have long been twins under the skin. But the new Superb appears to be closer to its relative than ever before – and emissions rules mean it will take a power cut.
The new 2024 Skoda Superb large car will share more Volkswagen Passat parts than ever before – and produce less power than its predecessor – when it arrives in Australia at the end of next year.
The Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat have historically been twins under the skin, but with completely different bodywork – and a stretched floorpan and larger footprint in the Skoda.
However new photos published by the VW-owned Czech car maker indicate the Superb will share its body structure, floorpan and doors with the Passat – and differ on the outside only in restyled front and rear fascias, bonnet, lights and alloy wheels.
It may be a move to reduce costs – and the investment in different production tooling – given declining sales of both models which mean they do not sell as strongly as when the previous Passat and Superb generations were on the drawing board.
The family relation won’t be as relevant to Australia as the new Volkswagen Passat – set to be built only as a wagon overseas – will not be sold locally, closing the book on nearly 50 years of history in Australia.
The Superb will see another generation in Australia, due in showrooms at the end of next year in liftback and wagon formats.
It is due in local showrooms up to nine months behind Europe, as Skoda Australia has elected to introduce the car with a high-output turbo engine that goes into production later than less powerful versions.
Skoda head office in Europe has confirmed the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine will produce 195kW, with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
Emissions rules mean it is down 5kW on the 200kW/350Nm engine currently in top-of-the-range Skoda Superbs in Europe – and 11kW down on the 206kW/350Nm of Australian versions, which have six gears instead of seven.
This engine may be the sole choice in the new Skoda Superb in Australia, as the current 206kW engine accounts for 75 per cent of sales – and for the final year of the current model will be made the only choice.
Skoda Australia has confirmed the 195kW tune will come to local showrooms unchanged – which is expected to introduce a petrol particulate filter (PPF), an emissions-busting device in the exhaust system used to meet strict European regulations.
PPFs were long considered incompatible with low-quality Australian petrol – which has up to 150 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur in regular unleaded, or 50ppm in premium unleaded, compared to only 10ppm in European fuel.
However they have been slowly rolled out in Australia with a mandate of premium petrol, and a warning that only a few tanks of 91-octane regular unleaded could damage the filter and necessitate a circa-$4000 replacement.
The current Skoda Superb 206TSI Sportline is not fitted with a petrol particulate filter, while the limited-time 200kW Skoda Superb Scout sold here in 2021 was – though regardless both vehicles came with a mandate of 95-octane premium unleaded.
The move to share the new Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat will translate to a significant growth spurt for the latter – but only a modest increase for the former.
The new VW Passat wagon is 144mm longer (4917mm), 20mm wider (1852mm), 7mm taller (1482mm), and 50mm longer between the wheels (2841mm wheelbase) than the vehicle it replaces.
But the new Skoda Superb wagon – the only body style it shares with the Passat – is only 40mm longer (4902mm) and 5mm taller (1482mm) than its predecessor, as the old Superb was one size larger than the outgoing Passat.
The wheelbase of the new Superb is unchanged from its predecessor – and it is 15mm narrower, which could see a reduction in shoulder room for rear passengers.
Meanwhile, the Skoda Superb liftback is 43mm longer (4912mm), 15mm narrower (1849mm), 1481mm taller (12mm) and unchanged in wheelbase (2841mm).
Skoda claims front and rear passenger headroom measurements have increased by 6mm to 11mm, while boot space is now rated at 645 litres (up 20L) in the liftback, and 690L (up 30L) in the wagon.
Alongside the high-output 195kW turbo engine, European buyers will be offered a 150kW version of the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder, a 110kW 1.5-litre mild-hybrid turbo-petrol four-cylinder, and 110kW and 142kW 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder diesels.
A plug-in hybrid (not planned for Australia) is also available, combining a 110kW 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder with an electric motor for 150kW combined, a 25.7kWh battery (up from 12.7kWh in the old model), and more than 100km of claimed driving range.
All engines except the 195kW 2.0-litre petrol and 142kW 2.0-litre diesel – which get all-wheel drive – are front-wheel drive, while seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions are standard in all but the six-speed plug-in hybrid.
Photos of the interior are yet to be published, but Skoda says there will be a large 12.9-inch touchscreen – matching the Passat – and the gear shifter has moved from the centre console to the steering wheel column.
Top-of-the-range models will be available with matrix LED headlights with a crystal glass element called “Crystallinium”.
Available safety systems will include 10 airbags, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian/cyclist detection and intersection assist, front and rear cross-traffic alert, and a 360-degree camera with improved camera quality.
The 2024 Skoda Superb is due to be unveiled in November 2023 – after the covers come off the Passat in August – ahead of first Australian arrivals at the end of next year.
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