Skoda Superb Review : A smart large hatchback with limo levels of legroom

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  • Spacious interior
  • Upmarket looks
  • Reasonably priced
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  • VW Passat’s interior is even nicer
  • Ford Mondeo is more fun to drive
  • Not much else

The new Skoda Superb is Skoda’s flagship, famous for offering class-leading rear legroom and Volkswagen levels of build quality for less than the cost of an equivalent Passat, Ford Mondeo orMazda 6 saloon.

Thankfully, Skoda’s gone for a conventional saloon-car body that’s infinitely more handsome than the ‘twin-door’ design of the old car. Those of you with your fingers on the automotive pulse, will note the similarities between it and the five-door coupe VisionC conceptthat was shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2014.

The DNA is evident in the Superb’s angular headlight design and beak-like grille, while strong creases down the flanks (and tapered rear doors) help it look sleeker than a car with the Superb’s proportions really should.

Underneath that body, you’ll find the Superb is underpinned by Volkswagen’s MLB platform – a stretched version of the Golf’s structure – and, despite being longer, wider and taller than the model it replaces, extensive use of high-strength steel means it is up to 75kg lighter.

Engines have also been pinched from the VW Group’s back catalogue, with a variety of petrols and diesels to choose from. Even basic cars come with an impressive level of equipment that includes 16-inch alloy wheels, DAB radio and a five-inch touchscreen. All other models get automatic emergency braking and active cruise control.

Can’t tell the difference between the old one and new one? Read our Skoda Superb old vs new guide. If you fancy seeing what colours are available then check out our Skoda Superb colours guide too.

Cheapest to buy: 1.6-litre S diesel

Cheapest to run: 1.6-litre SE diesel

Fastest model: 2.0-litre 276hp petrol

Most popular: 1.4-litre S petrol

Interior – Welcome to limo-like levels of space

The Superb’s connection to the rest of the Volkswagen Group is most evident on the inside, where the intuitive dashboard would look equally at home in a VW or Audi. Soft-touch plastics are everywhere and parts of the interior that aren’t soft instead sport shiny highlights that give the car an air of modernity.

The Skoda does without some of the flashy touches of a more expensive Volkswagen – there’s no option to spec a digital Active Info Display, for example – but beautifully damped buttons and cold-to-the-touch metal door handles ensure the high quality feel is present and correct.

There are some nice touches, too, that give the impression that Skoda has your wellbeing close to its heart. We draw your attention to umbrellas hidden in both the rear doors, a cupholder that makes it possible to open a screw-cap bottle with one hand, and a removable boot light that doubles as a torch. Even a Rolls-Roycedoesn’t have all that.

Skoda Superb Passenger space

Not that any of that means that the Superb has lost sight of its bread and butter party piece – limo-like rear legroom is still very much on the agenda, in fact there’s even more than before, exceeding what you’ll get in the majority of cars from the class above. The back is huge but there’s also plenty of room for adults upfront and numerous, generously sized cubbyholes scattered around the interior.

Skoda Superb Boot space

Compared to the outgoing model, which was never wanting for luggage space, the Superb’s boot has grown by 30 litres to offer a 625-litre capacity, 100 litres more than you get in the Ford Mondeo and noticeably bigger than what you get in a Volkswagen Passat (586 litres).

Driving – A mile-muncher of the highest order

Fitted with the 2.0-litre 148hp diesel, the Superb is refined and almost petrol-like in operation. That bodes well for the rest of the range and one can only imagine how it will feel once hooked up the 276hp engine from the SEAT Leon Cupra.

The optional dampers have three settings – Comfort, Normal and Sport – which also alter the weight of the steering, throttle response and (in automatic models) gear change speeds.

Which setting you choose has a distinct effect on the handling of the Superb with Comfort reportedly giving it “an old Citroen-like quality” allowing the Skoda to float over crests and dips. Sport, meanwhile, tightens things up to rein in body roll – giving the car the ability to carve through a set of corners at speed. It’s Normal (the setting that gives the best of both worlds) that seems, however, to be the one that is best suited to everyday driving and Skoda tells us it mirrors the feel of Superbs fitted with the as-yet-untested standard suspension setup.

Engine – Mid-range diesel is pick of the range

The new Superb will be available with a choice of three petrol engines and four diesels. Highlights include the 2.0-litre petrol from the SEAT Leon Cupra (producing 280hp) and the Golf Bluemotion’s 1.6-litre diesel, which makes the Superb free to tax.

The most efficient model in the Superb range is the GreenLine diesel. Based on the regular 118hp 1.6-litre unit already available in the Superb, longer gear ratios, low rolling resistance tyres and aerodynamic improvements bump its fuel economy from 68.9mpg up to a highly impressive 76.4mpg, and drop CO2 emissions below 100g/km for both hatchback and estate models.

Anyone looking for a sleeper – a fast car that looks like a slow one – would do well to invest some of their attention in the 2.0-litre 276hp TSI petrol Superb. Aside from an extra exhaust, there’s nothing to differentiate it from a normal model. Until you apply the throttle that is. A 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds means few cars will shame it away from the lights, and the combination of four-wheel drive and a twin-clutch gearbox help it keep pace with (an admittedly dynamically superior) BMW 330i in the corners. Even its combined fuel economy figure of 39.8mpg is impressive.

On the road, performance and refinement is largely familiar to anyone who has driven the standard model, except that the fuel gauge will be moving even more slowly than normal – Skoda claims that a range of more than 1,100 miles is possible!

It’s easy to see why Skoda expects the 148hp 2.0-litre diesel model to be the most popular model in the UK. It’s got enough shove to get the big Superb from 0-62mph in a shade under 9.0 seconds, while an 135mph top speed means quiet cruising at the legal limit is assured.

Despite this nippy performance, the Superb is capable of returning 68.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 109g/km that mean road tax is just £20/$30 a year. Buyers will also be able to equip their Superb with four-wheel drive for added grip on slippery winter roads.

Safety – Untested, but should be very solid

The Superb’s VW Group origins means it scores strongly for crash safety, with five stars awarded to it be Euro NCAP.

Along with the kind of safety features modern car buyers expect –airbags, traction control and the like – the big Skoda also featuresactive cruise control, with automatic emergency braking.

Value for money – Business SE trim offers superb value

Although entry-level Superbs come with a decent level of equipment, we would spend a little more on Business SE trim – its costs less the the more basic SE specification, but adds a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Alcantara upholstery, front and rear parking sensors, climate control and sat-nav.

From launch, the Laurin & Klement model will top the range. It comes with equipment such as bi-xenon headlights, an electronic tailgate, leather heated seats, keyless entry and a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen system. However, it also raises the price to put the Superb into competition with accomplished rivals from more prestigious marques.

Conclusion

We’ll have to wait until the car’s full UK launch to give a definitive verdict on the new Skoda Superb, but the early signs seem to be very encouraging. The new model keeps the super-spacious, high-quality interior of the current model, but cloaks it an significantly more attractive body. With more engines and four-wheel drive on the way, the Superb is even more ‘Superb’ than the car it replaces.

(carwow.co.uk)

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