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The Excellent: Skoda Superb iV First Drive

Earlier today, we were invited to the New Zealand launch of the Skoda Superb iV. This is a milestone for us as this is the first time a Skoda PHEV is on sale outside of Europe! This is a big deal for the brand as well because the Superb iV is the car that will turn people back to wagons through electrification. After all, Skoda surveyed their customers and found that 68% of them want an EV of some sort. Even their major client, Corporate Cabs worked out that they could save $10,000 on fuel per year just by switching to a PHEV! That’s $10,000 per car by the way.

Those are just some reasons why this car shouldn’t be called the Superb. Instead, it should be called the Excellent because that is what Skoda have just done. The Superb is extremely practical and comfortable as it is but adding that PHEV element makes it so much better. In fact, you can now do up to 930km on a full tank in hybrid mode! In electric only, you can do up to 62km which is more than enough for most people’s commute.

Rear of the Skoda Superb iV
The iV badge is what it’s all about!

What does iV actually stand for then? The ‘i’ means everything from innovation to individuality while the ‘V’ simply stands for vehicle. Remember the name because iV is going to be the symbol of e-mobility for Skoda. The brand themselves have had an excellent year so far, selling 191 cars in June and are predicted to sell over 230 this month. The perfect time then to launch the iV. In fact, Skoda’s GM was confident they could sell even more if not for that semiconductor shortage but the company wanted to do right by their customers. So, Skoda New Zealand will only sell you a car if they can guarantee it will be shipped to you. Yes, their relationship with HQ is that good!

Under the bonnet of the Skoda Super iV
New and old combine to make magic here

Those keen VW Group enthusiasts will notice a familiar face under the bonnet. Yes, the engine is that 1.4 litre TSI used across the Group but for the first time in a Superb. You might wonder if it’s underpowered for a car like this? On its own, maybe but not when combined with the 13kW electric powertrain. Together, they put 160kW on tap! You can either use the petrol engine or EV system on their own or use both! Together, they make for that incredible efficiency figure of 1.5l per 100km! And because this is a PHEV, you can keep plugging it in to charge without ever using the petrol engine. From a standard 240V wall socket, the battery will charge in 7 hours or a decent night’s sleep in other words. Beef up the power to 400V and it will charge in half the time. Don’t want to charge at home? Well then, you can just tap the 6 speed DSG gearbox into ‘B’ or regenerative braking mode to refill on the go.

The Skoda Superb iV in grey
The differences are subtle but clever

The differences

Well, they are hidden in plain sight. The obvious one is the iV badge on the rear. While on the front, the grille is now filled in and hides the charging port. Poke the grille and it will reveal its secrets. Also hidden in the grille is the ‘e-noise generator’ which is an external speaker. The purpose of which is to create a gentle tone to alert pedestrians, guide dogs etc about the oncoming vehicle. Clever indeed!

The differences are similarly subtle on the inside. The infotainment screen now has new functions to show the amount of time spent emissions free, the battery charge level, power usage etc. It is a little bit complicated to wrap your head around initially but you do get used to it quickly. Same goes for the gauge cluster which will now display stats about your power usage and battery charge level. However, the real party trick in here is the fuel tank depressurization button. Because you will spend a lot of time in pure EV mode, the petrol just swishes around in the tank. Not good for the pressure which will just come flying out when you open the filler cap. Press that button and the Superb will then depressurize the tank by feeding the fumes to the engine. Making it safer for you. The whole process takes 2 seconds as well! That’s the lowdown from Rodney, Leigh and the Skoda team. It was over to Inspector Brian Yanko who looks after New Zealand’s Police fleet.

NZ Police's Skoda Superb Police car
Baddies beware

The Superb Police car

Arguably the biggest news for Skoda over the last few months has been their partnership with New Zealand Police. Over 20 cars were submitted to rigorous testing over 4-6 months and the Skoda Superb reigned supreme. Thus earning the honour of being the face of New Zealand’s Police force. The Police were set on a car that was reliable, safe, easy to use etc. There was a special milestone today as the first Superb Police vehicle came in for its first 15,000 km service. Thus far, the Police have received 71 cars with the 72nd arriving today. Lucky number 72 is the Skoda Superb iV that will be subjected to the same rigorous testing over the next 4-6 months. The end goal is to see if it can join the force as a patrol car but also to help reduce emissions. Being a Police car is a tough job no doubt with all the additional equipment adding 200kgs of weight. Meaning that the only part that Skoda beefed up was the suspension, everything else is as standard! The partnership has been extremely beneficial for Skoda and the New Zealand Police. The Police now get specific driver training from Downforce and Greg Murphy to keep their officers safer on the road. While Skoda have seen increased awareness of their brand thanks to the new partnership.

Skoda Super iV in the wild
There was enough time for a quick drive as well!

With all the great news about Skoda and their partnership with NZ Police, there was just enough time for a quick drive East to Clevedon and back. I am sure that having the battery pack in the middle has slightly improved the Superb’s cornering ability. It is a very comfortable car to drive and the suspension soaked up everything the bumpy road could throw at it. It really is a Superb all rounder.

Thanks for the opportunity to attend the launch of the Superb iV and thank you for your hospitality Skoda New Zealand. I loved the goodies as well 🙂

Words and pictures by Matthew D’Souza.

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