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Hugely capable Skoda, simply Superb

10:36 13 November 2015

Skoda Superb lives up to its name, making a huge impression when it comes to space, equipment,value and all-round driving appeal.

Skoda Superb lives up to its name, making a huge impression when it comes to space, equipment,value and all-round driving appeal.

Skoda

If you paid for space, Skoda’s new Superb would be expensive but this roomy car is hugely affordable, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

Living up to its name

When you call a model Superb, people expect big things and Skoda’s flagship has always been big on space, comfort and value.

With the launch of the third-generation range of hatchbacks and estates, the Superb truly lives up to its name but still delivers executive car expectations at family car costs.

Now it also looks the part with edgy, angular styling inspired by the VisionC concept car often mistaken for a BMW at a distance.

Skoda Superb

Price: Skoda Superb SE 1.4 TSI 150PS ACT £21,190 (hatchback range £18,640 to £34,740)

Engine: 1,395cc, 150PS, four-cylinder turbo petrol with active cylinder technology

Performance: 0-62mph 8.6 seconds; top speed 137mph

MPG: Urban 47.1; extra urban 65.7; combined 57.7

CO2 emissions: 115g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 18%

Insurance group: 18E (out of 50)

Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? L 4,861mm ; W (including door mirrors) 2,031mm; H 1,468mm

How does it measure up?

From the outside the hatchback doesn’t appear huge, inside it’s a very different story thanks to clever packaging creating class-leading space.

While the latest Superb is longer and wider overall, the biggest growth is in the wheelbase between the front and back wheels for limo-like levels of passenger space. You’d expect those up front to be well catered for but acres of legroom in the back, which leave similarly-priced family cars trailing way behind, put it on a par with some luxury executive cars.

It’s not at the expense of boot space with the vast hatchback bay providing up to 625 litres of cargo capacity, swallowing most family’s luggage with ease, and not far short of the estate’s 660 litres. Drop the 60/40 rear seat backs flat and the hatchback rises to 1,760 litres but they step up slightly from the boot floor.

Under the bonnet

Diesels will be the bulk of sales, with 120PS 1.6 and 150 and 190PS 2.0-litre units, all with manual and automatic gearboxes and the latter with a 4x4 option. But there’s also a good array of turbo petrol units – 125 and 150PS 1.4 and 220 and 280PS 2.0-litre.

If don’t fancy diesel or don’t do the miles to justify one, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the hugely-flexible 150PS 1.4 TSI - the first Skoda with active cylinder deactivation (ACT). On a light throttle, at up to 70mph, the second and third cylinders shut down, firing up again automatically when the accelerator is pressed harder. And, even in the big Superb, it’s no slouch with plenty of mid-range punch for overtaking yet barely audible cruising at motorway speeds.

This turbo petrol engine’s refinement fits well with the Superb’s character and a real-world 43mpg in rush-hour commuting and 53mpg on a run won’t disappoint either. And the slick manual gearbox is a delight.

How does it drive?

With suspension biased for comfort, the Superb’s excellent ride quality shines through, especially with the SE’s 17in alloy wheels and deep tyres. It’s so cosseting that the worst surfaces are little more than a minor irritation in an otherwise supremely supple experience.

That’s not to say the Superb does not drive well, doing everything most owners would ever ask of it with the minimum of fuss. The well-weighted steering is precise, the handling composed and predictable but this is a big car and, driven enthusiastically, it can feel a little soft and wallowy on twisty roads at speed. Far better to back off and just waft along.

At the wheel

The driving position has all the seat and steering wheel adjustment you need to find the ideal set-up, regardless of whether you are short or tall, and you’ll appreciate the logical layout, sensible, solid switchgear and high-level, hi-tech touchscreen which is intuitive to use and responds quickly.

Shapely, supportive seats mean covering large distances is not a pain while large windows provide good all-round visibility.

Equipment and value

Prices start at £18,640 for the entry S model but it includes alloy wheels, air-conditioning, LED rear lights, Bluetooth, DAB radio and a comprehensive stability control safety system.

SE is a lot of car for the money, gaining 17in alloys, dual-zone air-con, rear parking sensors, cornering front fog lights, adaptive cruise control, SmartLink to show a smartphone’s display on the infotainment screen and an umbrella stowed in each front door. SE Business 120 and 150PS diesel are priced the same but get 18in alloys, Alcantara upholstery, front parking sensors and satellite navigation.

Topping the range are SE L Executive and Laurin & Klement versions.

Final say

If you’re looking for a large family car, offering loads of space and value, it’s easy to make a case for, and hard to find fault with, the Skoda Superb hatchback or estate. When it comes to names, the Superb is what it says on the tin.

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Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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