If I was to ask you which car brand regularly out performs all others when it comes to quality, reliability, practicality & value, would you know that it was Skoda ? The new model of the Czech Republic built top-of-the-range Superb was launched recently & it confirmed what I already knew, that it is as least as well built as stable mates Audi & Volkswagens models & comes with a shed load of goodies you’d pay a lot more for with it’s standard price. Volkswagen & especially Audi, are adept at charging customers an awful lot extra for what is standard on many Skodas, because their brands are perceived as more upmarket, even though many models share a platform & an awful lot more besides. As such it’s very hard to argue against the Skoda unless of course you are keeping up with the Jones’s.
Take the new Skoda Superb which I recently tested. It is & was, well, Superb. I don’t look at a test cars cost until after it has left me, instead relying on a gut feeling for what the car actually costs & how much I’ll need to add on top for all of the ‘things’ fitted to cars nowadays, that we can’t live without. A glance at the information provided for me by Skoda, told me that the car I was testing, the SEL Executive hatch powered by a 2 litre 150 PS diesel engine & with 4X4, costs a remarkable £29,250. This price included the following; 18″ Zenith alloys, bi xenon headlights with AFS & LED daytime running lights, adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth, Columbus sat nav with 8″ colour touchscreen, Aux in, USB port, with two SD slots, DAB, electrically adjusted front seats with memory & lumbar support, electrically adjustable heated & folding door mirrors with memory function, heated front seats, leather upholstery, LED rear lights, rear parking sensors.
Skoda don’t stop there either, with an electrically operated boot, an electromechanical parking brake, ESC, ABS, EBV, MSR, ASR,EDS,HBA,DSR, RBS, CBC, multi-collision brake ( MKB ) & Autohold.
Despite it’s size, the Superb handles pretty well & feels smaller than it is to pilot. It’s incredibly comfortable in the front & the rear passenger space is ridiculous, as much legroom as in a Mercedes S Class. The Superb also offers class leading boot space with 625 litres. Fold down the rear seats & the capacity grows to a massive 1,760 litres. The boot can also accommodate long objects up to 3.3m in length.There’s also a false floor, luggage nets & even an LED torch in the boot & the Superb stretches the goodies even further.
The fact that my text car had some extras, which include a Canton sound system £600, dynamic chassis control £750 & larger 19” Phoenix alloys only added to the fun, but in all honesty the basic version would have done me just fine.
Skoda loaned Company Car the 2 litre TDI 150 PS 4X4 model. There are four drive settings that the driver can select; Eco, Normal, Sport & Individual. With a motorway trip of 150 miles sandwiched between urban driving, I selected Sport mode for the first few days & still managed to average just under 40mpg. I switched to Eco mode half way through the week & saw that figure climb up 46.6 mpg, pretty impressive for a large saloon. Skoda claim a combined 61.4mpg for this diesel. CO2 emissions are 120g/km. Top speed is 134 mph & 0-62 mph is reached in 9.4 seconds.
I have to say that the 150 PS engine was absolutely brilliant on the motorway, where in adaptive cruise control, it ate up the miles comfortably. However, around town & in traffic the combination of the manual gear box & lack of mid-range oomph, made this version of the Superb a little bland to drive. Of course, there is a 190PS non 4X4 version which would alleviate this. It still offers great economy a claimed 61.4mpg with emissions of 119g/km, the same as the manual 4X4 150 version & I know which one I would choose !
At the other end of the spectrum, company car drivers may want to consider the cheaper Superb S Greenline edition, powered by the 1.6 TDI 120 PS manual, which offers 96g/km CO2 emissions, a BIK of 21% & a combined fuel economy of up to 85.6 mpg. And, for those of you thinking of switching from diesel to petrol, there’s a 1.4 TSI 125 PS petrol version also specced S, with a BIK of 23%, which comes with a combined fuel economy of 52.3 mpg, so Skoda have all angles covered.
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 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, CD, MP3 & 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 sat nav.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. Regular CCV readers will know that I love this function because you can sit in motorway traffic at a designated speed & know that you cannot hit the car in front or get caught out in road works with lower speed limits or indeed on a variable speed motorway. Simply adjust the speed up or down in 5 mph chunks & hey presto you are driving within the speed limit imposed. Using cruise on the motorway also saves on fuel economy as well.
After all my praise, are there any negatives to the Superb ? The engine is a little noisy at start up & because of the stop start, the kick down when you pull away demonstrates some lag. The interior, though better than the previous Superbs, won’t end up in the Design Museum either. And, the badge on the front is Skoda, which could still put some people off. That is basically it.
If you can live with these & I know that I could, then the Skoda Superb is a must for any company car drivers list of possibles & who requires their car be comfortable, very well made, spacious, practical & reliable. It’s also attractively priced, around £6000 less than the equivalent Audi A6 which is not as well equipped. What more is there to say.
As good as Ludek Miklosko 4.5/5. And, if you remember the West Ham great, you’ll know just how good the Superb actually is !