Skoda Superb gets even better
- Credit: Uli_Sonntag
What comes after Superb? Well, Skoda's new Superb flagship is even better and more upmarket, says Iain Dooley, Press Association senior motoring writer.
Building on the successful formula of space, refinement and generous standard equipment, Skoda's latest Superb packs all the familiar qualities that's already convinced so many to sign on the dotted line.
Improvements might not be obvious but however Skoda has focused on the things that matter – cleaner engines, sharper looks to mirror the Rapid and latest Octavia and adding extra kit.
The slightly generic Skoda design is replaced by a more sculpted look. The cabin it is largely business as usual but detailed trim and material changes have done a good job of ensuring it remains a plush environment for all occupants.
This Superb's main selling point is 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 generous legroom. In the influential premium saloon class, rear space is important. You may be transporting clients or paying customers and the Superb's extra inches 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 for the Superb, though – the sums are modest for something of this size and opulence. Skoda hopes its generosity in the equipment department will tempt buyers with similarly-priced rivals offering less space and kit.
With four models – S, SE, Elegance and top-spec Laurin & Klement – the choice is no longer simple as there's a generous spread of standard kit even on lower-spec models now. This ensures the car remains competitive value in the company car market.
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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 the S model is hard to ignore. SE gains larger alloy, audio touchscreen and a greater choice of audio inputs, rear parking sensors plus a host of detailed interior and exterior trim accents.
Elegance sees a big uplift in specification with xenon headlights, even bigger alloy, touchscreen navigation, heated and powered front seats, leather upholstery and a heated windscreen. The flagship adds front parking sensors, more leather, heated rear seats, upgraded audio unit, TV tuner, privacy glass and gloss black cabin trim.
Skoda's generosity also extends to its engines as greater efficiencies should mean you pay less at the pumps and to the taxman. Some models benefit from cuts to CO2 emissions as high as 19%, while Skoda boasts every model delivers more miles per gallon and emits less at the tailpipe.
Buyers can choose from three petrol and three diesel engines, plus manual and DSG auto gearboxes depending on model. Unusually in this sector there's also the option of all-wheel drive on selected variants.
With diesel power the mainstay of the range, the choice ranges from a 1.6-litre 105bhp unit to 140 and 170bhp 2.0-litre units. Petrol fans can choose between 125bhp 1.4 and 160bhp 1.8-litre turbo petrol units and 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 primarily to cosset its occupants. The well-weighted major controls and slick actions of the minor switchgear help boost the cabin's impressive ambience, while the smooth transmissions cement its place in the premium sector.
Just like with the 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.