Skoda’s classy Superb lives up to name
- Credit: Uli_Sonntag
Skoda's latest Superb is big on space, refinement and value, says Iain Dooley, PA senior motoring writer.
Building on the successful formula of space, refinement and generous levels of standard equipment, Skoda's latest-generation Superb packs all the familiar qualities that's already convinced so many to sign on the dotted line.
Improvements to the Superb might not be obvious, but Skoda has focused on the things that matter – cleaning up the engine range, sharpening the car's looks to mirror that of the Rapid and latest Octavia, adding some welcome extra kit.
Although the cosmetic changes are subtle, out has gone the slightly generic Skoda design, replaced by a more sculptured look. The cabin is largely business as usual. Detailed trim and material changes have done a good job of ensuring the cabin remains a plush environment for all occupants.
This Superb's main selling point is still its cabin space. Extended in all the right areas, front-seat occupants are made to feel special while those in the back can stretch out thanks to the generous amount of legroom. In the premium saloon class, rear space is important. You may be transporting clients or paying customers – either way, the Superb's extra inches do much to create an appealing executive ambience. And that's before you consider the car's voluminous boot – seats up or down.
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You won't be paying executive prices though. As with the previous-generation car, the sums involved are modest for something of this size and opulence. Skoda hopes its generosity in the equipment department will prompt buyers to place the Superb high on their shopping lists, especially as similarly-priced rivals offer less space and kit for similar money.
With four models – S, SE, Elegance and top-spec Laurin & Klement – there's a generous spread of standard kit even on lower-spec models. This ensures the car remains competitive in the company car market when value is a key driving force in buying decisions.
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With alloy wheels, air conditioning, Bluetooth, electric windows and mirrors, chilled glovebox and seven airbags forming part of the Superb's core standard kit list, even entry-level S is hard to ignore. SE gains larger alloy wheels, touchscreen audio screen and a greater choice of audio inputs, rear parking sensors plus a host of detailed interior and exterior trim accents.
The move to Elegance sees a big uplift in specification, with xenon headlights, even bigger alloy wheels, touchscreen navigation, heated and powered front seats, leather upholstery and heated windscreen. Flagship Laurent & Klement adds front parking sensors, more leather, heated rear seats, an upgraded audio unit, TV tuner, privacy glass and gloss black cabin trim.
Skoda's generosity also extends to its engine range and greater efficiencies should mean paying less at the pumps and to the taxman. Some models benefit from cuts to CO2 emissions as high as 19%, while Skoda boasts that every model delivers more miles per gallon and lowe exhaust emissions.
Buyers can choose from three petrol and three diesel engines, plus manual and DSG automatic gearboxes depending on the model. Unusually in this sector there's the option of all-wheel drive on selected variants, adding a welcome all-weather dimension for some buyers.
With turbo diesel power the mainstay of the range, the choice ranges from a 105bhp 1.6-litre unit to a 2.0-litre unit in 140 and 170bhp guise. Petrol fans can choose between 1.4 and 1.8-litre units offering 125 and 160bhp respectively, plus a 260bhp 3.6-litre V6.
Overall performance is biased towards refinement and comfort. The big Superb surprises with its agility yet there's no escaping the fact it's built to cosset its occupants. The well-weighted major controls and slick actions of the minor switchgear help boost the cabin's already impressive ambience, while the smooth-shifting transmissions – both manual and DSG – cement the car's place in the premium sector.
As with previous incarnations of the Superb, Skoda has again produced a refined, spacious, enjoyable to drive mid-size executive car that, in reality, offers so much more than the established competition. With a competitive pricing strategy plus innovative technology and good looks, Skoda has a car that continues to live up to its name.