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Skoda’s Superb flagship really comes up trumps

21:09 30 September 2015

Understated and hugely spacious Skoda Superb is an upmarket experience that won’t break the bank.

Understated and hugely spacious Skoda Superb is an upmarket experience that won’t break the bank.

SKODA

Skoda’s latest generation Superb promises greater levels of refinement, comfort and space as it bids to steal sales from more established – and expensive – rivals, says Iain Dooley.

What’s new?

With Skoda keen to move both its image and cars upmarket, this third-generation Superb offers big-car levels of refinement to match products from the likes of Volvo and Mercedes-Benz.

Building on the success of previous versions, this Superb continues the focus on extra generous cabin space, while the car’s saloon-like profile is more of an optical illusion as it’s actually a five-door hatchback.

The Superb benefits from an improved range of engines and transmissions, while Skoda’s increased focus on safety matters sees a raft of clever driver assistance aids.

Skoda Superb

Price: Skoda Superb hatchbback 2.0 TDI 150 Lauren and Klement, £28,740 (from £18,640)

Engine: 2.0-litre, 150bhp, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Transmission: Six-speed manual driving front wheels

Performance: 0-62mph 8.9 seconds; top speed 135mph

MPG: 68.9 combined

C02 emissions: 109g/km

One thing missing from the new car is the previous model’s ingenious dual opening boot, which allowed both hatch and saloon functionality.

Looks and image

Conservative with a small ‘c’ is the order of the day here, with Skoda understandably sticking to a formula that works. The car’s lightly chiseled flanks add a welcome air of refinement but that’s about as extrovert as the Superb’s appearance gets. For the target audience this is unlikely to be an issue, as they are also a conservative bunch more interested in what the car can do, not what is says about them.

Space and practicality

The Superb has earned a reputation for being a practical, spacious car capable of accommodating four adults in more comfort than your average German saloon costing twice as much. This remains true today, and thanks to a voluminous boot the ability to carry a full compliment of luggage without any compromises has also proven popular with private hire operators. Along with acres of rear legroom there’s also ample space up front plus the usual array of family-friendly oddment storage spaces.

Behind the wheel

Skoda has never pitched its flagship model as a sporty car. With the focus very much on ease of use, comfort and space, there’s very little reward for hustling the big Czech motor into corners. Driving pleasure comes from relaxing in the plush cabin and making the most of the equally plush ride.

In real terms you’ll derive more pleasure from letting the Superb’s engine range take the strain, specifically the 2.0-litre diesel unit. Its modest 150 horsepower in base trim is ample even for a car of this size and, when mated to an automatic gearbox, you get the full-on luxurious barge experience but with an Aldi price tag. If diesel doesn’t appeal there are petrol units plus a four-wheel drive option giving the Superb added all-weather appeal.

Value for money

The on-paper figures are hard to ignore. For the price of a mid-spec Ford Mondeo you can have a well-equipped and more spacious Superb, boasting an impressive level of standard kit and every day practicality. Despite the car’s premium level aspirations running costs should be closer to the aforementioned Mondeo.

Who would buy one?

For private hire operators the Superb has always been a smart buy and this much improved model is no different. For everyone else, Skoda’s plush flagship trumps many mainstream and more expensive rivals when it comes to cabin space, refinement, kit and ease of use. Factor in the car’s classy, yet understated looks, and it’s hard not to warm to it if you’re seeking an upmarket experience that won’t break the bank.

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Andy Russell

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

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