There’s definitely a spot within the world SUV whitewash for a compelling different providing the proper mix of options, practicality, high quality and worth by a semi-premium lens.
Skoda’s Excellent has lengthy match the invoice for patrons drawn to a model that continues to be an outlier on the Aussie panorama regardless of widespread mainstream acceptance in Europe, and people patrons need one thing a bit bigger and extra substantial in metallic than the critically-acclaimed Octavia.
It shouldn’t matter that the Excellent sits in what’s now a distinct segment ‘mainstream massive’ phase – as soon as the staple of the Aussie household, the massive passenger phase is formally a celebration of two (with the Kia Stinger).
As an alternative what does matter is; the Excellent should be appreciated as an extended confirmed, viable alternative outdoors of the ‘me-too’ SUV set.
Because the variety of viable 4 and five-door sedans and coupes with respectable worth for cash continues to dwindle, no less than the remaining pool of ‘left-field’ patrons get to select from high quality fashions. Thus far, the Excellent largely lived as much as its namesake.
However because the full-strength 2022 Skoda Excellent Sportline 4×4, like the remainder of the vary, continues to balloon in pricing, it does demand a strong exhibiting to keep up the kind of vital advice it’s loved up to now.
Again in February Skoda introduced revised pricing for its 2022 Excellent vary, with pricing for the Sportline 4×4 liftback up by $2000 to a complete outlay of $67,990 drive-away. On the time of writing, it’s gone up an extra thousand bucks, to $68,990 D/A, in response to Skoda Australia’s web site.
After all, pricing has been a transferring goal of late, sadly heading within the mistaken course for patrons. Nonetheless, nudging $70k strikes the Excellent a bit additional away from the model’s repute in perceived affordability and worth.
That performs towards its ‘official’ rival, the Kia Stinger, which could be had in flagship GT twin-turbo V6 guise for $64,960 plus on-roads, or $69,890 drive-away.
Unofficial cross-shops; nevertheless, embody the associated Volkswagen Passat Wagon 206TSI R-Line at $67,690, the additionally associated Volkswagen Arteon 206TSI R-Line at $71,240, the Peugeot 508 Fastback GT Plug-in Hybrid at $76,990, and the Volvo S60 B5 Final Vibrant at $65,990, for these pondering choices on advantage somewhat than strictly measures of physique size.
Choices embody a sunroof at $1700, 19-inch Supernova wheels at $2000, in addition to metallic ($770) or impact ($1100) paintwork, all of which characteristic on our check automobile. A manufacturing facility towbar provides $2100.
It’s an enormous unit. In reality, at a whopping 4869mm, the liftback is definitely 5 millimetres longer than the wagon (all in rear overhang).
And, its yawning 2841mm wheelbase and sensible packaging affords an incredible quantity of inside area, proper again to a boot so massive it must be witnessed to be consider (extra beneath).
Up entrance, the cabin atmosphere is commodious and, typical for Skoda, it’s minted in an array of supplies that’s richly numerous and totally semi-premium in impact.
It maintains that typical – and considerably conventional – Skoda fashion. It’s completely different sufficient from acquainted Volkswagen inventory whereas conspicuously seems derived from the German mother or father.
Some effort has been injected into sustaining a recent vibe for what’s a maturing technology, and it simply will get away with it.
Whereas there’s a sure slickness to the infotainment touchscreen and the digital instrumentation, it does seem a technology behind Volkswagen’s newest fashions, exacerbated by the older-school controls for HVAC and automobile management buttons alongside the console.
Frankly although, they work extra intuitively than among the ‘slider’ stuff you’ll discover within the newest VW Golf.
The infotainment itself is superb, pairing telephones shortly and providing a number of person profiles for various Bluetooth gadgets, and the wi-fi smartphone mirroring additionally labored flawlessly. You get a single USB-C outlet subsequent to the wi-fi telephone charger tray, in addition to a USB-A port hidden within the rear of the console bin.
Is it intelligent? Suede-like door playing cards, flocked door bins together with a driver’s removeable rubbish bag housing, an adjustable cooled console bin, oddment pocket within the entrance seat backrest and, sure, that signature umbrella hidden within the door jamb all conspire to ship on Skoda’s Merely Intelligent mantra.
Much less intelligent is the essential cupholder array that doesn’t seize cups correctly, or the protruding pill cradle mounted on the seatback for rear passengers. My 12-year-old son managed to smack his shoulder towards the cradle, inflicting a lot ache and anguish.
That stated, rear room is phenomenal with ample area in each course. Each the entrance and rear seats are cozy, supportive and the mix of fake suede and leather-based – some if it actual – has particular class. The third zone of local weather controls, too, are an actual boon.
The boot area is exceptional. It’s 625 litres with the rear seats in play, a humongous 1760L with the rears stowed (by way of useful distant levers on the baggage area partitions) and the quantity of clear load-through the liftback tailgate provides is totally improbable.
The boot may be very deep and provides an enormous array of hanging hooks and tie-down factors for the elastic internet system. Who wants a SUV whenever you’ve bought this a lot utility?
The 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol 4 within the Sportline 4×4 is the higher-powered of the 2 variations provided within the Excellent, bringing 206kW of energy and 350Nm of torque.
Dropping down vary to the ‘162TSI’ Excellent Fashion serves – you guessed it – 162kW with an similar torque output.
It’s backed by a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automated and all-wheel drive within the flagship model. Trainspotters may discover the Excellent doesn’t match the seven-speed DSG just lately provided within the Excellent Scout; that transmission was mated to the completely different spec of engine, a more recent 200kW unit fitted with a particulate petrol filter (PPF).
The Sportline 4×4 in liftback type is the quickest of the present breed, returning a greatest declare of 6.0 seconds neat for the 0-100km/h dash, with the wagon 0.1s slower. At 1615kg kerb, our tester is surprisingly light-weight for such a full-formed five-door becoming all-paw traction.
Mixed ADR gas consumption is claimed to be 8.0L/100km, or nearly a litre thirstier than the 162kW variations. It calls for premium 95 RON for its 66-litre tank.
Braked towing, for its half, is 2200kg for Excellent Sportline 4×4 fashions.
The broader Volkswagen Group has had a while to shine up this specific turbo-four and six-speed DSG powertrain, mixture and it reveals.
In impact, the powertrain plies simply the correct amount of response and vitality whereas remaining impressively refined and nearly foible-free.
There’s no low-speed notchiness from the gearbox, no pregnant pauses in throttle take-up, and it’s nearly as easy shifting by the ratios as you’d count on from a torque converter automated – good work.
There’s definitely a little bit of charisma from the engine that shares a lot of its make-up with the Golf R scorching hatch, but it stays well mannered and well-suited to the luxo-sedan format.
Regular drive mode is ideally versatile, and I discovered no must trouble upping enthusiasm with Sport mode – which holds onto ratios too eagerly for city driving – nor the Eco and Consolation modes additionally provided.
Off the mark I did are likely to lean into the VW Group DSG behavior of tapping the transmission selector into Sport on take-off after which knocking it again to Drive as soon as up to the mark.
Steering is evident, and even with simply the correct amount of weight in hand, it’s each a straightforward and substantial factor to drive – the latter emphasising its luxurious leaning and retaining you in your toes whilst you try and park the Excellent into tight areas.
I shortly settled into leaving the Excellent’s adaptive suspension in Consolation mode.
It’s mushy and comfortable nearly to the purpose of being wallowing, but it surely balances the journey out with respectable physique management as a result of, effectively, it’s not jacked into the air like an SUV and doesn’t demand firmer settings to keep up a deal with on physique inertia and heft – that’s one key benefit of going for a low-slung sedan (or wagon) over an SUV.
It manages to easy the tough stuff at low-speed round city however keep its dignity and grand touring chops out on the open street. It’d make a effective long-hauler in Oz or in Europe for the place it’s maybe ideally tuned. As much as cruising velocity, it stays settled and impressively quiet.
All in all, the inherent solidity of the Excellent is vital in the way it feels a lot like an upmarket machine.
Excellent Fashion highlights:
- 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Satellite tv for pc navigation
- Wi-fi telephone charging
- 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit digital instrument cluster
- Entrance fog lights
- Cornering lights
- Animated rear indicators
- Energy driver’s seat with reminiscence
- Tyre stress monitoring
- Privateness glass
- Keyless entry and begin
- LED ambient inside lighting
- Computerized headlights
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Three-zone local weather management
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- Digital parking brake with auto-hold
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Eight-speaker audio
Excellent Sportline 4×4 provides:
- 19-inch ‘Vega’ alloy wheels
- Gloss black exterior accents
- Rear spoiler
- Leather-based/Alcantara entrance sport seats
- Adaptive Chassis Management (adaptive dampers)
- Efficiency monitor
- Lap timer
- Semi-autonomous parking help
- ‘Digital Pedal’ hands-free energy tailgate
- Aluminium pedals
- Energy entrance seats with driver reminiscence
- Heated entrance and rear seats
- Energy-folding exterior mirrors with driver’s reminiscence
- Three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters
As a consequence of semiconductor shortages, two key options within the 12-speaker Canton premium sound system and Matrix LED headlights have been omitted from the gear listing earlier this 12 months.
Verify along with your Skoda vendor to see if this subject is rectified on the time of enquiry.
It’s right here the place issues get barely tough.
The pre-facelifted Skoda Excellent wore a five-star ANCAP security score based mostly on assessments performed in 2015. Nevertheless, ANCAP stipulates that the score solely applies to examples on sale between 2016 and January 2022, despite the fact that the present MY22 model is actually carryover.
It scored 86 per cent for grownup occupant safety, 86 per cent for little one occupants, 71 per cent for pedestrian safety and 76 per cent for security help.
Customary security options embody:
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Ahead and Reverse
- Pedestrian detection
- Multi-collision brake
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Lane-keep help
- Visitors jam help
- Emergency Help
- Adaptive cruise management with Cease&Go
- Driver fatigue detection
- 9 airbags incl. driver’s knee
Skoda fashions are lined by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre guarantee. You get a 12 months of free roadside help although this rolls over in case you service your Excellent with a Skoda vendor.
That stated, Skoda provides five-year/75,000km and seven-year/105,000km upfront servicing packs at $2000 and $2700 respectively – selecting that latter extends the guarantee protection to seven years. Servicing intervals are 12 month or 15,00kms, whichever comes first.
Our tester returned consumption of round just below 10L/100km of largely city driving towards its 8.0L/100km declare.
Hit the open street and consumption turns into way more beneficial – into the sevens – fairly shortly. Once more, minimal gas grade is 95 RON.
There are such a lot of the explanation why Skodas, and the Excellent particularly, price so extremely in vital assessment – as a result of there are so few issues to grouse about.
However is it actually Excellent? Properly, if it isn’t it comes very rattling shut. Regardless of the creeping value, it’s a tricky bundle to high for comparable coin.
Skoda’s large liftback and wagon vary was by no means, and doubtless by no means will likely be a vastly fashionable vendor, however that’s a part of the Excellent’s and Skoda’s appeal basically.
That it’s completely different sufficient to a Passat and nothing actually like a Stinger may be very a lot a energy as effectively.
As a hand-on-heart wagon-lover, I’m tremendous impressed by the liftback model for sheer utility. One pesky system cradle apart – as examined as a correct household hauler – it actually didn’t miss any marks in any respect.
Should you actually can’t abdomen the concept of an SUV, or perhaps a wagon, right here’s your simple reply.
Click on the photographs for the total gallery
MORE: All the things Skoda Excellent