Skoda Superb

   

Superb (adjective). Of excellent quality; very great. splendid, grand.

    You’ve got to be pretty confident if you’re going put a badge on the boot-lid of one of your cars saying that, even if it is your range-topper, but, that’s what Skoda have done, and it’s not the first time either. In the 1930’s even when Skoda were a renowned luxury motor-maker calling one its products The Superb was a still pretty bold thing to do. Can you imagine the jokes if Czech manufacturer had have used the same moniker when they we’re behind the Iron Curtain? Perhaps we’ll let that one pass.

  The car you see here is the third incarnation of the Superb, the Mk3 if you will, since Skoda became part of the VW Empire, and…

    That’s just background stuff.  Let’s cut to the chase. The question that needs answering is: Is the Skoda Superb actually Superb?

   Well, it’s certainly grand, by which I mean big. It’s very big in fact, wider, longer and taller than the slightly ungainly second generation car it replaces and yet its styling is rather neat. You’d never call the Superb beautiful or truly desirable even when it’s been treated to the full optional extras selection – if I’m honest the Superb Skoda lent me was a tad sober looks-wise – but it is handsome in its own way, and well-proportioned too. It’s also, despite what those looks suggest, a hatchback rather than a saloon and an even bigger estate version is also available.

   Its boot is huge too. Cavernous you could call it. With the seats up it offers 635litres of space – it’ll easily cope with a family’s holiday cases – or, fold the split rear bench down using two levers in the boot and that increases to 1,760-litres, that’s about the same as a Knightsbridge flat. Also, the enormous rear hatch can be opened electronically, either from the key or by waving your foot under the rear bumper, although I should point out that’s an option.

    Further forward five six-footers could easily sprawl out and there’d still be room to spare. VW regulars will probably recognise most of the switchgear from the Passat, - no bad thing - and they’ll might also notice that all the plastics are soft to the touch. As expected both fit and finish are up to the usual bomb-proof VW Group standards and being a Skoda there’s plenty of standard kit to be discovered. All Superbs get a DAB radio, air-con and Bluetooth whilst “my” SE Spec also benefitted from the addition of dual-zone climate, parking sensors, a touchscreen sat-nav system, adaptive cruise control and privacy blinds on the rear windows. Other things worthy of note are an umbrella stored Rolls Royce style in both the driver’s and the front passenger armrests, a removable LED torch in the boot, an ice scraper stored on the fuel filler flap, a grippy cupholder that enables you to unscrew bottle tops with one hand and an iPad cradle in the cubby between the front seats. The devil as they say is certainly in the detail.

    Attention too has been applied to the way in which Skoda’s latest super-saloon drives. As a means of covering large distances few can better in fact, especially when you consider its asking price - Superbs start at £18,640.  The set-up is one of comfort rather than sporting prowess and you can drive the Superb all day (I know, I did) and still feel fresh at the end of your journey. Supportive front seats and a well-insulated and thus very quiet interior also add to the Superb’s relaxed and cosseting feel.

   Most buyers, Skoda predict, will plump for the 148bhp diesel (even after parent VW’s recent misdemeanours I’d still recommend it), which proves both smooth and strong, and even if you’ll never match the claimed fuel consumption figures in the real world you should still be able to attain high 50’s mpg without ever having to resort to driving as if Miss Daisy were aboard. Should you need it to the Superb also is more than capable of showing slower traffic a clean pair of heels. The light and direct steering allows you to place the car with confidence and the 6-speed gearbox has a smooth action – although perhaps the DSG auto might suit the Superb’s nature even more. Visibility is good in all directions too, so the Superb never actually feels as big as it is, but you will be glad of the parking sensors when the time comes to park it.

     Hugely capacious, extremely comfortable, economical, handsome, good to drive and complete with a seven air-bags and 5-Star Euro NCAP rating too. That’s very impressive stuff. At this stage you might well be expecting me to say something along the lines of: The Skoda Superb, it really is.

Well I’m not going to, but I will concede that the Superb is very, very good.

     

 

Skoda Superb SE Hatch

Engine: 1,968 cc, 4Cyl, high pressure direct injection turbo-diesel

Transmission: 6 speed Manual. Front Wheel Drive

Power: 148 bhp @ 3500 – 4000 rpm

Torque: 251 lbft @ 1750 - 3250 rpm

0-62mph: 8.8 sec

Max Speed: 137 mph

MPG:  68.9 combined.

CO2: 108g/km

Price: from £22.090 (as tested £24,995)

 

 

Many thanks to Amy and Nicki at Skoda’s UK press office for the loan of the Superb

 

www.liam-bird.com

 

@bird_liam

Section:

Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

Read More from Liam Bird