RIDE AND HANDLING
This is probably the one factor that influences one’s buying decision the most in this segment. And for good reason too. The Accord offers a very plush ride. It feels the more supple of the two thanks to better compression characteristics. Coupled to a really well designed rear seat, the Accord can provide the most pleasurable ride in a straight line on decent roads.
Despite a slightly firmer ride, the Superb’s low speed ride isn’t in line with the Accord. But as speeds increase, the Superb feels more planted and doesn’t tend to yo-yo like its Japanese rival. The Accord’s double wishbone setup up front does its job fine, but the soft setup for the multi-link unit at the rear gives it a tendency to go all over the place. The Superb, on the other hand, uses its multi-link setup at the rear better. Throw in a couple of switchbacks and the Superb will tilt the scales in its favour. The more rigid Superb, with its well-weighted steering and better body control, likes to be thrown around corners. It isn’t an RS, mind you, but the better turn-in and the way it distributes weight front to back even under braking puts it a good two steps ahead of the Accord. The Accord isn’t too bad either, with a more ‘feelsome’ steering. Just as that happens, the rear starts to sing once again. It’s like the car has two different ends detached from each other – like a vestibule bus. The rear tyres can’t develop enough grip and the nose heavy front-end can’t fathom that. So it scrambles for grip, understeering heavily in the bargain. All this while the Superb pulls a clear lead and disappears on the other side of the hill.
Skoda Superb: ****
Honda Accord: ***
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This has to be the upset of the year. The Superb that was long considered as a sedate barge is no longer just that. Skoda have comprehensively changed the Superb to not only stamp itself as different from the rest of the range, it’s a complete inside-out job with great interiors, comfort, a stonking engine and much better on-road behaviour. The Accord feels completely outclassed and outdone by this new kid on the block, proving that the current Accord is too much of an evolution of the last gen. And that a facelift alone might not make the job easy for Honda, in fact as they begin work on the next gen Accord, they should factor in the Superb as a benchmark and work to beat it. Then again, Skoda have a long way to go as far as sales and after sales service is concerned in India, so the Superb should be a good platform to turn things around from. But for now, the Skoda is the new best in class. And small can be beautiful. Hic!