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The Top Gear car review:Skoda Superb
For:Skoda's made an already excellent car even better. Truly desirable
Against:It's a car for keen drivers to be driven in
2.0 TDI CR SE 5dr
What’s this then?
Potentially the perfect car for bank robbers. Purloining fistfuls of cash and successfully getting away...
The grand Czech barge enters its third generation, and it’s packed with umbrellas. Sam Philip reports
A big eco Skoda. Mmm. It does an average job of being green, but the older Passat Bluemotion does it better.
What we say:
No pun needed: the Superb is excellent. Every inch an Audi A6 rival. Honest
What is it?
The third generation of Sokda’s giant, range-topping saloon, now more giant and range-topping than ever. Spun off the VW Group’s ubiquitous MQB platform, the Superb is 3cm longer and 5cm wider that its not-very-small predecessor, with more space inside.
Impressively, although it may be larger, it’s also lighter too, having shed a hefty 75kg (that’s an adult passenger’s worth of mass). Engines are mostly from the VW Group’s Sensible Range, with four-cylinder turbodiesels ranging from 118bhp to 187bhp, or petrols spanning from 123bhp to 217bhp. However, there’s a wildcard in the line-up: a four-wheel drive Superb with the 276bhp 2.0 TSI from the Leon Cupra ST.
Discounting that 4WD, 276bhp oddity (which literally all buyers will) the Superb isn’t really about on-the-doorhandles cornering. But if you do choose to unleash your inner Stig, then you’ll find that the Superb gets round corners without trouble, only belying its sheer length in the fastest, tightest bends. Too much enthusiasm reveals plenty of tyre squeal, but generally it’s a tidy steer.
Most of the time, though, you’ll be cruising motorways, which the Superb manages with panache. Though it can’t quite match the (admittedly rather pricier) Mercedes S-Class for unruffled, near-silent progress, the Superb does a fair impression of a top-drawer German limo, wafting along serenely and generally making a decent fist of keeping the outside world at bay. It’s a car built to devour high-mileage trips.
On the inside
It’s customary in reviews of big cars to note that there’s ‘room for one six-footer behind another’, but in the Superb you could squeeze another in the rear-seat footwell for good measure. It’s truly cavernous inside - feeling far airier than even a Vauxhall Insignia or its ilk - while the boot is commensurately vast too. Budget enough for options-list extravagance and you can turn your Superb into a proper upmarket limo, Skoda offering everything from adaptive damping to an in-car telly and park assist. Best of all, you’ll discover (in higher-spec Superbs at least) an umbrella cunningly stowed within each of the front door, a feature only otherwise found on Rolls-Royces. Because this is, um, the Rolls-Royce of supersized family saloons.
The sensible diesels offer, for such a big saloon, near extraordinary efficiency on the official CO₂ cycle, returning as little as 105g/km. In a car this large? Wizardry (although relatively meek responsiveness does reveal the compromise…). That’s good news for road tax, and though Skoda’s claims of 60mpg-plus motoring may be a trifle ambitious, the Superb shouldn’t sting you on running costs. Residuals shouldn’t be VW Phaeton-style shocking, provided you don’t get too lavish with the options list.