Superb iV Estate SE L
Plug in hybrids have been around for a good few years now, offering customers a half way house before opting for full electric. The latest brand to join the gang is Skoda, with the launch of the Superb iV, a plug in that joins the fully electric Citigo-e iV as one of two electric Skoda models.
The iV sits alongside conventional petrol & diesel models in the Superb range & offers most appeal to company car drivers, with a 12% BIK from April 2020. Add in it’s 148.7mpg fuel economy coupled with emissions of 38g/km & anyone looking for a large family saloon or estate should really take note. As a comparison, the 2.0 litre 190hp diesel Superb, which offers similar performance to the iV, comes with a 2020/21 BIK of 32%, making the savings you’d make if you chose an iV a no brainer.
The iV features a 1.4-litre petrol four-cylinder turbo, engine that’s paired to a 113bhp electric motor & 13kWh battery. The charging port is neatly hidden under the grille at the front of the car. And, as with all PHEV’s, to make the most of it’s range, you’ll need to plug-in regularly to make the most of what it has to offer.
We were testing the Superb SE L 1.4TSI 218PS fitted with the six-speed DSG gearbox. Like all Skoda’s it comes vey well equipped, with 18″ Zenith alloys, full matrix LED headlights with AFS & LED daytime running lights, Adaptive Cruise Control, Bluetooth, Amundsen SatNav with 8″ colour touchscreen & integrated WiFi, wireless SmartLink for Apple CarPlay & Android Auto plus front & rear USB’s. Also included is keyless entry, start/stop, electrically adjusted heated front seats with memory & lumbar support, leather upholstery, LED rear lights & rear parking sensors. What makes a Skoda stand out though are the extra practical touches, such as the removable LED lamp in the boot, the ice scraper in the fuel filler & the two umbrella compartments located in the driver & passenger doors. Our test car also included some extras which included the Skoda Virtual Cockpit, for £465, which comes highly recommended.
As part of the Volkswagen family, the interior of the Superb will be familiar to owners of previous Skoda’s, as well as to those who drive a Volkswagen, SEAT or Audi. For a start, it’s very logically laid out & provides you with great build quality peppered with some nice upmarket gadgets such as the touchscreen which operates the SatNav, DAB, SmartLink & Bluetooth functions. The leather steering wheel also includes buttons to control the media & Bluetooth functions as well as allowing the driver to access driving statistics & the SatNav. The lower left hand stalk controls the cruise control & with my model fitted with adaptive cruise control, this also allowed me to select a safe distance from my vehicle to the car in front, perfect for the motorway.
The Superb offers class leading interior space, especially in the rear, plus 510 litres in the boot, which is 150 litres less than in the standard Superb estate, where the underfloor boot storage is now occupied by a charging cable cubby & in front of that the battery.
As luck would have it, thanks to Covid 19, my sons stint at Newcastle University was cut short in March & I was able to utilise the Superb’s 1800 litres, for a smash & grab collection at his halls of residence. We got everything in comfortably & the 330 mile motorway journey allowed me to check out the Superb as a motorway companion, where is didn’t disappoint.
From start, the Superb defaults to E-mode & for my shortish drive to the motorway I utilised the battery. Once up & running though I switched to Hybrid mode, set cruise control & set off for the North East. You can also select Sport mode which results in a firmer drive & a little bit more overtaking power.
You’ll notice that the power dial on the digital display, flashes around into the tachometer section, which is the only clue that you’re in a hybrid. On the motorway, the seemingly too small 1.4 TSI petrol engine does an excellent job, as long as you don’t have to slow down, wherein a combination lack of diesel torque, means the iV takes a while to get going again. This though, is not a problem in town where the battery & petrol engine work in harmony.
Utilising our 7kW Rolec home charger, meant that charging the battery to full took us approximately 90 minutes. This we found, will give you around 20 mile of pure electric driving, enough for a couple of days worth of short, local trips, which are undertaken in near silence. E-mode is only interrupted by outside tyre & wind noise. When the battery runs out, then the petrol engine steps seamlessly in. The iV is heavier than the traditional combustion Superb’s & if you try hard enough, you may notice that the cars handling is slightly hampered by the extra weight.
Prices for the Skoda Superb iV Estate start from £33,250, with our SE L coming in at £36,035. The 187bhp 2.0 TSI DSG petrol SE L costs £32,305 which is £4,000 less, but as we have already alluded too, the new company car tax rules which came into force in April 2020, make the iV the cheapest model to run.
As with any PHEV, to make one work successfully, you will need to plug-in regularly to utilise the electric range. On our petrol-only motorway trip to Newcastle, we averaged 40.3 mpg, about right for a large, fully laden, petrol estate. Around town & using E mode for shorter travel, that figure climbed in the remainder of our week, to 51.9mpg, which is comparable with what you’d expect from a diesel Superb.
After heaping praise on the Superb iV, are there any negatives ? On the motorway, if you need to slow down & then get back up to speed, then the 1.4 engine shows it’s limitations. And, the interior, though solidly built & nicely laid out is a bit generic in that Volkswagen-Group way. That though is basically it.
Skoda are hoping that the iV attracts business customers & I for one, see no reason why it won’t. Opt for an iV & the personal tax savings you’ll make are serious. For fleet managers a word of warning. Make sure your iV drivers plug-in, preferably with home charger.