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The Mercury Cars Guide : March 13th 2010
24--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, March 13, 2010 Superb lives up to its name NAME GAME: The Superb should help Skoda raise its profile in Australia. Car ownership is often about showing off your status in life to your neighbours or workmates. Keith Didham reports email@example.com with KEITH DIDHAM L ET'S be honest --- snob appeal sells. And car com- panies know it. That's why marketing gurus are so clever in giving new cars their model names. Most car companies have executive models --- Audi goes one better with its Ambition variants of its A3 and A5 (presumably for those still climbing the tree of success). Most companies have cars with a luxury badge just to let your neigh- bours know you have moved out of business class and into first class. And there are those who take the theme one step further: Jaguar not only has a luxury version of its XF saloon, but also has the Premium Luxury. A quick flick through the new-car lists also drags up models badged the Autobiography (Land Rover), the Platinum (Kia), Avantgarde (Mercedes-Benz), and the Limousine (Audi, again). But if you are going to call your car the Grandis (Mitsubishi) or the Gran- deur ( Hyundai), the plan may well backfire. If they don't live up to their grandiose moniker there's a danger of carmakers getting egg on their cor- porate faces. This neatly brings me to the Skoda Superb --- and, yes, it comes as the Ambition or the Elegance. In recent years Skoda been strug- gling to gain its due recognition in this country. That's not the case in Europe, where the Czech cars are popular. The Superb (wagon) was voted last year's Luxury Car of the Year by a certain motoring magazine and popular motoring TV show. And for good reason. The Superb, like its cheaper brother the Octavia, is a cracking good thing that does live up to its nameplate --- even if it is daft. It comes with several big pluses: it uses VW technology, the diesel is frugal, the car is very well packaged and it is surprisingly roomy, comfort- able and has good road manners. The downside is that little-known Skoda badge, so long-term resale values are unknown. The Superb is Skoda's flagship and was launched in Australia late last year. There is a choice of three engines: a 1.8-litre turbo petrol, a naturally aspirated 3.6-litre V6 (with all-wheel drive) and a two-litre turbo diesel, which in my book is the pick. The 1.8 gets a seven-speed DSG auto/ manual gearbox, the diesel and the V6 get a similar transmission but with six speeds. Prices range from $39,990 to $55,990. The diesel in Ambition specification is $10 less than $43,000 (plus on-road costs), and the Elegance is $47,990. This is a long but narrow big car --- the rear leg space puts most large cars to shame --- but it also comes big on performance. Zero to 100km/h comes up in a claimed 8.8 seconds for the diesel, but it returns an average fuel economy of 6.9l/100km. We consist- ently beat that, with the car sipping 5.7 litres during a week's testing. There are a couple of downsides. The rear view is compromised by the smallish windows and rear pillar, and this big car has a small tow capacity. The maximum tow rating is just 1500kg, while the maximum weight allowed on the tow ball is a lousy 75kg. On the upside, the Superb has a couple of nifty party tricks. The rear boot lid opens like a conventional sedan, but with a push of a button you can open it further like the tailgate on a hatchback to include the rear glass. The other party trick is not as spectacular but just as handy: um- brella storage inside the left rear door. The base car is far from being a poverty-stripper: you can tick the boxes for nine airbags, traction and stability control, fog lamps, tyre pres- sure monitoring, remote locking, dual-zone airconditioning, touch- screen six-stack audio with eight speakers and MP3, cruise control, power windows, heated front seats and rain-sensing wipers. The price difference between the Ambition and Elegance variants is $5000, but you gain an alarm system, larger 17-inch alloy wheels, extra bling including chrome-plated side mould- ings, a better-quality 10-speaker audio system, power-adjustable front seats, heated front and rear seats, adaptive high-visibility bi-xenon headlamps and a rear sun blind. Expected but missing: Reversing camera, park assist and satellite navigation. Park assist and sat nav add about $3880 to the equation. On the road it is surprisingly quiet and oh so comfortable, but you know you are driving a big car, and even after a week I couldn't get comfortable with the odd progressive assistance provided by the power steering. The car can be sluggish unless pushed and the ride over gravel can be twitchy, but generally it performs well. The Superb is just that. small torque Skoda Superb Elegance TDi How much: $47,990. Under the bonnet: 2.0-litre turbo diesel, 125kW at 4200rpm; torque 350Nm from 1750-2500rpm. Six-speed DSG auto/manual, front-wheel drive. How quick: 0-100km/h in 8.8 seconds. How thirsty: 6.9l/10km, CO2 emissions 182g/km. Tow capacity: 1500kg with trailer brakes, 75kg tow ball weight. Rivals Nissan Maxima Ti ($46,990); Toyota Aurion Presara ($49,990). www.djmotors.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org Glenorchy 275 Main Road, Glenorchy Phone: 6 213 3 315 Brian Anning 0418 531 853 Chris Wakefield 0400 635 446 Allan Gebel 0428 729 659 Hobart 1a Brisbane Street, Hobart Phone: 6213 3300 Warren Amos 0417 544 829 Jason Spong 0408 473 756 Easy finance available with DJ Financial Services 07 HOLDEN Combo 5-speed manual, driver and passenger airbags, cargo liner, cargo barrier Stock No. 322365 04 MAZDA 6 Luxury Sedan 2.3 litre sports automatic, leather seats, electric sunroof, six airbags, cruise/climate control, 17" alloy wheels, 6CD player, tow bar. Stock No. 322318 $8.50 per day†1 $11 .50 per day†2 †To approved business clients only, with a $2,500 deposit over five years with a 30% residual payment. Interest rate: 1. 11.15%. 2. 12.45% 07 NISSAN Navara STX Dual cab, 4x4, 2.5 litre turbo diesel, 6-speed manual, dual airbags, cruise control, alloys, side steps, nudge bar, tow bar, roof racks, 6 disc CD. Stock No. 322311 $21.75 per day†1 Only 35,0000km Only 16,000km WA S $39,990 NOW $37,990 DRIVE AWAY $15,990 DRIVE AWAY $19 ,990 DRIVE AWAY www.djmotors.com.au email@example.com 281 Main Road, Glenorchy Phone: 6213 3315 Brian Anning 0418 531 853, Chris Wakefield 0400 635 446, Allan Gebel 0428 729 659 Hobart Great Wall $23,990. Drive away. The V240 4x2 Ute -- Leather trimmed seats, airbags, CD/radio, ABS/EBD, air conditioning, electric windows, alloy wheels and a 3-year/100,000km warranty... Great. 4x4 $3,000 extra. Metallic paint $350 extra. The Great Cars of China are here! $23,990. Drive away. The X240 4WD -- Leather trimmed seats, airbags, CD/radio/mp3, ABS, climate control, electric windows/mirrors/driver s seat, alloy wheels and a 3-year/100,000km warranty... Great. Metallic paint $350 extra.
March 6th 2010
March 20th 2010