Skoda usually does well with rational car buyers. Take the Superb for example, which offers you lots of space for a relatively low price.
With it, Skoda is able to pull people into the D-segment in 2019, whilst that segment is suffering under the popularity of the SUV.
Peugeot is trying the same, but in a very different way. They've give the 508 a coup-like appearance, which compromises interior space.
Whichever one has chosen the best tactic, is something we'll find out today.
And we can't do that without a reason. We're doing this because the Skoda Superb has been facelifted. And it's not just an extra strip...
between the rear lights. It has a completely new new nose for starters. Also, the headlights now flow seemlessly into the grille.
In this case, they're optional LED-matrix headlights, which can beam around fellow roadusers if you've got your high beams turned on.
Also, this particular car is a Sportline. We all know Sport means black, so that's why the grille is black.
With that, the Superb looks pretty good. However, it isn't even near the 508.
Luckily, Peugeot doesn't call the 508 a coup. However, a lot of radical choices have been made. Frameless door windows were usually...
meant for old Subaru's and the roofline is pretty low. Despite all that, there's still a lot which you can fit in here.
The regular 508 is pretty practical to begin with, but this 508 SW will store 530 litres beneath the parcel shelf. If you fold down the rear...
Which you can do from here, the 508 SW will fit 1.780 litres.
However, it won't come as a surprise to you that the Superb absolutely destroys the 508 when it comes to space.
For starters, this hole will fit 660 litres. If you fold down the seats, which is also possible from here, it will fit an immense 1.950 litres.
You might've noticed that it doesn't have a flat loading floor. That's because this car hasn't got the optional double floor or dividers.
It does mean it's a bit boring back here. The only things this Superb comes with as standard are this typically Skoda-flashlight,
and these funny dividers. They're fitted on the side and you can fold them in various ways to prevent your bag from flying everywhere.
On the rear seat, the difference is even bigger than in the boot. Where this Superb is clearly at the peak of its segment,
the 508 is at the bottom. In the back, when I'm behind myself, it's almost like I'm in a limousine. I could almost cross my legs.
You can also choose all kinds of optional extra's like a sunscreen, footrests or even a blanket.
Just to make everything as comfortable as possible. And that makes the difference with the 508 so big.
Just like I said, it's in the lower parts of the segment and it's a little bit sub-par. Leg- and headroom aren't good and I'm not able to...
properly sit behind myself. I mean it's possible, but it's not very royal or anything. Something you'd expect in this segment.
In the front, the seating position in the Superb is very good as well, just as the seat itself.
Despite that, you're always conscious of the fact that you're driving a huge car. It's kind of weird and I've tried to find out why that is,
but I think the seat is a tad higher up than you'd expect. Also, there's lots of air behind you. A view that's strengthened by the view in your mirror.
You're just aware of its size. Not a big problem, but it does make this less of a drivers car than other cars in its segment.
The dashboard then. The facelift has changed some things, most importantly the infotainment system.
In this case, we have the biggest Columbus-system aboard. Of course, including satnav and a big 9.2-inch touchscreen.
The biggest change is that the physical buttons around the screen have been replaced with touch buttons. And I don't like that change.
It also means the turning knob for the volume has been replaced by a plus- and minus-button. Also, a lot of hotkeys have been removed.
You can't press one button to go into radio, or media or the satnav. You have to dive into the menu's which makes it unnecessarily difficult.
The system itself does work properly luckily. Quick reactions, logical menu structure as well so nothing to complain about really.
Additionally, the Superb now has a digital instrument cluster. And just like all Volkswagen-products, it works very good. It's very comprehensive,
so you'll have to take some time to find all functions, but it will pay off. You can get your satnav on there on fullscreen, you can arrange all...
features to your own likings, et cetera. You can't change the color of the system however, because the red is part of the Sportline-pack.
The same goes for all of the carbon-details in this interior. They do spice things up a bit, but the rest of the interior is relatively simple.
That sounds very spoiled if you look at it, but it's a lot of big, flat panels, straight shapes. You can see they haven't put a lot of attention...
in the design to make it something special. Not a bad thing, but it's a thing if you're shopping for a car like this. It's relatively simple, fact.
The finishing is pretty good, the used materials are decent. It stands out that they've used a lot of alcantara, which is because of the Sportline-pack.
Just like these sports seats. And that's a funny thing, because this car is far from sporty. Except for those exterior features that is.
It's a truly comfortable car, a really good travel companion, but whenever you encounter a single bump, you'll know it's not sporty.
It even heaves from time to time. It has quite weak damping as well, so after a big imperfection on the motorway the nose will move a lot.
It also means the Superb won't be very dynamic in the corners. Luckily, the steering is communicative enough. Not distant or anything,
but a car which has clearly chosen for comfort and which is very good at that.
In this case, the car is powered by 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine, producing 150 horsepower. The only petrol engine available for now,
and it fits the comfortable personality of the Superb. It's powerful enough, it's quiet, it's smooth and it's connected to a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox.
As standard even in this trim level, but it does its job properly. With smaller engines, the DSG shifts up a tad too quickly sometimes,
but it doesn't suffer from that in this case. It all works very nicely.
And with that comfort, we've found a very big similarity between the Superb and the 508, because the latter is very comfortable as well.
Even though the appearance does suggest something else, because the Peugeot looks quite sporty.
The chassis is able to process imperfections with ease, especially in Comfort-mode. Yep, it has an adaptive chassis.
If you select Comfort-mode, this car starts gliding on the road as well. However, it doesn't heave as much as the Skoda.
If you ask me, Peugeot has found a better balance in their chassis.
It's powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder, just like the Skoda. In this case, it's the 1.6 PureTech, which is also the entry level engine for the 508.
It produces 180 horsepower, which is very impressive for an entry level engine. I'd choose this engine as well if I wanted a petrol,
because you have lots of power. We've driven the 225 horsepower-version as our longterm, and the difference isn't incredibly big.
It has very direct steering, which is partly because of the small steering wheel. In turn, that's because the instrument cluster is above the...
the steering wheel instead of behind it like in any other car. That means it's prone to drawbacks, and I can name one straight away.
The way I'd like to sit in a car would mean I wouldn't be able to see the dials. So I have to move the steering wheel lower than I'd want...
and that's too bad. Of course there are people who don't suffer from this, I know. It's all personal, but there are also people who are with me.
It does mean you've got a very special interior. The i-Cockpit makes it look very cool. Another cool feature is the fact that it has been built up...
through layers. In the middle of the dashboard, there's some kind of plank in which the screen has been incorporated.
It all looks very special. Especially if you get out of the Skoda and into the Peugeot, you really get the feeling you've stepped into something special.
The 508 really gives you a different feeling. In the Skoda, it feels like you're up on a command post. In the 508, you really get into the car.
You're nice and deep behind the dashboard, it has a high middle tunnel, it has all kind of nice shapes and materials and that gives you...
the feeling you're in a cockpit. Also, it gives you the feeling everything is aimed at you. Just look at the middle console, it's literally aimed at you.
In the Skoda, it's just flat on the dashboard. A drawback in this interior is the way it's controlled. It's not always very logical.
That also goes for the car itself. The way you control the buttons on the steering wheel doesn't feel very logical, so you'll have to get used to it.
It's the same with the screen. You have to go into the menu's to alter the temperature. Unnecessarily difficult, but pretty slow as well.
The menu structure isn't logical either, but it does have hotkeys. Hotkeys which I dearly missed in the Skoda.
With them, you're able to access the climate control and radio settings and stuff a tad quicker.
If we look at it as a whole however, Skoda's system is more to my liking.
Also, I'm missing quite some trim features in here. I have to move my seat manually for example. Not something I'd expect in a 54.000 car.
Luckily, the Skoda isn't cheap either. As we have it here, it's 52.000. Both cars start, with these engines that is, just above 40.000.
Pricewise, they're very close. So which one is the winner? Well, that's a hard decision to make. It's mostly up to your personal taste really.
If you've fallen for the looks of the 508, you'll probably think the Superb is a dull car to look at. If it's space you need however, the Superb...
isn't to be ignored. The winner will be decided by points, and for that decision you'll have to look in the paper AutoWeek.