The new Skoda Superb is more than ever a twin brother of the Volkswagen Passat. This was also the case with the first modern Skoda Superb, and even then not the Volkswagen, but the Skoda was actually the starting point.
Have you seen the new Skoda Superb yet? Even if you missed our article on that car, the answer may be yes. The new Skoda Superb is largely identical to the also new Volkswagen Passat, although the latter is only available as a Variant and the Skoda is available in two forms. Although the Passat came before, the Skoda influences are clearly visible throughout the car. For example, just like the previous Superb, the Superb is very spacious, the new Superb looks quite similar to the previous one and the Passat has typical Skoda features such as an umbrella in the door and a built-in funnel on the windshield washer reservoir. ‘Simply Clever’, remember?
It is quite well known that the first modern Skoda Superb (there was also a Superb in the 1930s) had a lot in common with the Passat of that time. The Skoda Superb appeared in 2001, the year in which Volkswagen launched a heavily modified version of the Passat B5. This Passat B5.5 and the Skoda Superb also looked very similar, but there were also differences. Shortly after the turn of the century, it was not Volkswagen, but Skoda that offered only one body style. The first Superb was a sedan, but it was about 10 centimeters longer than the Passat sedan on which it was based. He shared his platform with a longer version of the Passat B5, the Passat L, which was only delivered in China.
The Chinese Volkswagen Passat L of generation B5.
Partly for this reason, it is often thought that the Skoda Superb was in fact a Skoda version of the extended Passat, but strictly speaking that is not the case. The Chinese, extended Passat, just like the European Passat sedan, had an extra window behind the rear door, while on the Skoda this fixed glasswork is included in the door itself. This has major consequences for the body of the car, which has a completely different rear window style due to the different rear door and the missing window. For even more distinction, Skoda also installed a different front and rear, with different headlights and taillights that, like the hatch, extend further downwards than on a Passat from the same year.
From left to right: the European Passat B5, the Chinese L version of the Passat and the Superb/Lingyu.
The first Skoda Superb served as the basis for the Chinese Volkswagen Passat Lingyu (below), which also received Skoda headlights.
And then 2005 came and Volkswagen’s Chinese branch thought it was time to replace the B5 L edition of the Passat. The successor was called Volkswagen Passat Lingyu and was in fact a ‘rebadged’ version of ‘our’ Skoda Superb. So it had the same bodywork, including that ‘alternative’ rear door. The front of such a Lingyu also clearly shows that the Skoda served as a basis here, because Volkswagen used the same headlights and only made limited adjustments to the hood and grille. Just like in 2023, the starting point was not actually the Volkswagen, but the Skoda, albeit of course on a Volkswagen platform and with Volkswagen technology.