At war with family
Though Passat and Superb come from the same factory, both cars are vying for the same market space
Both cars come with several features but Passat does have more bells and whistles than Superb
In India, Volkswagen has already enjoyed success with the Superb; Skoda is owned by VW. Now, to introduce the VW brand in the country, the new Volkswagen Passat is on offer.
The Passat is laden with superior levels of technology and has a refreshing, sleek touch to its design. Though both cars – Superb and Passat — will roll out of the same factory, in the market, they will be in direct competition with each other.
Until now, Skoda has been enjoying a large part of the segment as it was the only diesel car that perfectly combined the features of a full-sized luxury car at a price lower than a compact luxury car. So can the Superb retain its monopoly over the segment or will the Passat dethrone it? Read on to find out
Design and engineering
The Superb has massive proportions and this is because it is built on the earlier fifth-generation Passat B5 platform that was stretched 95mm between the wheels for the Superb.
The Skoda also uses the older Passat’s torsion-beam type which is a more basic suspension and the Skoda’s engine follows a longitudinal layout of its 2.5-litre V6.
The Passat, on the other hand, has a transversely mounted engine and is built on a completely new platform. The new VW is built on the PQ46 platform that is a stretched version of the PQ45 platform used by the new Golf.
Designer Murat Gunak is responsible for the lines and planes of the Passat that are laid out so that the car looks contemporary. The wide, V-shaped Volkswagen grille, finished in chrome, gives the car fantastic street presence.
The Superb’s impressive length and gently-curving profile lend it an air of understated class.
However, while the Superb is a good-looking car, it isn’t as modern as the Passat.
Both cars come with several features and while each car’s list is quite long, the Passat does have more bells and whistles than the Skoda.
The front seats in the Passat have a 12-way seat adjustment system with electronic adjustment for lumbar support, the rear window comes with an electronic sun blind, plus manual blinds for the side window that soften the sunlight without restricting your view, the audio system is a six-disc CD changer, the sunroof is electrically-operated and these are only a few of the several features on this car.
The Skoda too has clever bits like an umbrella holder in the left rear door pocket; soft red pilot lights in the cabin and a manually-operated sunshade at the rear window to name a few.
With regard to seat comfort, the Passat scores higher than the Skoda. The Skoda’s rear seats are moulded and support you in all the right places.
However, the Passat’s seats are slightly more comfortable than the Superb. The Skoda has always had amazing space owing to the large cabin. The Passat might not be as spacious as the Skoda, but its interiors have a style and quality that make the Skoda seem a bit outdated.
Engine and gearbox
Volkswagen’s Pumpe Duse (PD) motor, seen on many VW Group cars like the Skoda Laura, has never been the quietest of diesels. VW’s high-pressure fuel-injection system has its advantages and disadvantages when compared to the common-rail systems favoured by most other manufacturers. On the plus side, the sudden ‘whoosh’ of boost and power lends the driving experience an unintentional sporting edge. On the downside, it concentrates power into a tighter band, throttle response is less progressive and there is more lag. This non-linear power delivery is somewhat compensated by the brilliant six-speed DSG auto ’box.
The Skoda has a 2496cc V6 that makes 163bhp and this engine is as silent as a petrol unit and almost totally vibration-free at low and medium revs. The Skoda comes with a five-speed auto-box that is reasonably quick to respond.
Owing to the fact that the Passat has a smaller PD motor and 137kg weight advantage, its fuel economy is better than the Superb. The Passat delivered 9.68kpl in the city and 13.50kpl on the highway. In contrast, the Superb’s fuel figures are a lot less — it delivered 7.34kpl in the city and 11.95kpl on the highway.
Both cars come from the same factory and are loaded with features. The Skoda has a smooth engine that is powerful as well. It even has a softer edge than the Passat and is more relaxing to drive.
The Passat is also Rs. 2 lakh more expensive than the Superb. The Passat is not the perfect car and has its share of flaws like the noisy suspension at low speeds or the noticeable lag in throttle response. Still, despite these shortcomings, we crowned it the winner of this contest. The Passat is way ahead of the Superb in terms of style, features and technology and these factors contribute to its triumph.
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