Skoda Superb TDI vs Toyota Camry Hybrid comparison
Before we begin, it’s important to understand who the typical buyer of a Skoda Superb is. Of course, it’s someone primarily looking for a luxurious and spacious sedan at a not-so-exorbitant price. But the diesel version, in particular, is of interest to buyers who cover large distances on a routine basis. Low running costs have a huge bearing on these high-mileage users’ decision to go diesel. Given that the the Superb is the only diesel sedan in the segment, Skoda shouldn’t have trouble finding buyers for it.
That said, let’s just zoom out a bit and explore a rather interesting alternative – the Toyota Camry Hybrid. It’s a petrol-electric hybrid which means it’s not a direct rival to the Superb diesel. True, but let’s not get hung up on the source of propulsion. What has us interested is the fact that the Camry Hybrid actually betters the Superb diesel on fuel economy. We’ll get to the specifics in a bit but broadly speaking, the Camry Hybrid is lighter on the pocket than a regular petrol sedan, so could the Toyota be the better buy? We just had to bring the two together to find out.
To be driven in
These are premium executive sedans first and foremost, so the comparison test really starts from the comfort of their respective back seats. And straight away, the Superb takes a crucial lead with the better rear-seat experience. For one, the seat itself is better. Thigh support is good, the centre armrest is positioned at just the right height and the ride quality is better in general. The Superb’s soft suspension manages to absorb bumps admirably well and does so without making much noise. There is some vertical movement at speed, but not enough to distract you from preparing for the meeting you are being rushed to. However, the middle passengers on the Skoda’s rear seat will feel like an unwelcome guest (the centre tunnel is high) and the fixed back rest is also a touch too upright.
Superb’s rear seat scores for comfort but backrest a touch upright.
The Camry, on the other hand, offers rear-seat passengers the option to electrically adjust backrest angle. While this is a handy feature, the low-seat base results in a knees-up seating position which isn’t ideal for anyone likely to spend long hours in the back. The Camry is more accommodating for middle-seat passengers though. Like the Skoda, the Toyota also comes with large windows that give a good view out and there’s acres of legroom and good headroom. The option to electrically slide the front-passenger seat from the back to maximise rear legroom is a feature we first saw on the Camry and one that’s made its way to the new Superb as well. In terms of ride comfort, the Camry impresses at low speeds where the supple suspension ably takes potholes in its stride. But at high speeds, you’d find yourself moving around more than you would in your business associate’s Superb. You’ll also have to contend with more road noise in the Camry on the move.