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Skoda Superb Combi 2.0 TDI
8/10

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Skoda Superb Combi 2.0 TDI

Driven November 2009

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Skoda is sitting pretty. The economy may just have scraped itself off the canvas, but it's definitely still slumped in its corner, breathing heavy and missing some teeth. Money is vulgar. What little there is of it. The Archbishop wants you to grow your own veg. Tomorrow is about cutbacks not investment. Time to darn socks. Use bags for life. And buy a Skoda.

This month sees the launch of the Superb Combi, a car that encapsulates all that is good about Skoda and off-target about so many other cars today. It's a tool, honest, straightforward and precise in its execution, doing what it says on the very big, sensibly-styled tin.

Combi is Skoda's way of saying practical. It's an estate to you and me, but Superb Estate is something a politician would say through a rictus grin. So Combi it is.

And there's nothing clever about it, if by clever you want unusual. The regulation five-door Superb has a ‘clever' boot that is both saloon and hatchback, but there's no need for nonsense here, so you don't get it.

What you do get is 633 litres of luggage space, expanding to a formidable 1,865 litres when you fold the seats down. You could move house with that. Or save time and just live in it, your economic crisis solved.

Otherwise its Superb business as usual. There's still a limo-like level of legroom in the rear. Up front it's nicely styled and finished to the artless yet faultless VAG formula. Everything is solid, where it should be and doing what it should.

Engines range from a slightly out-of-puff 1.4TSI to a totally-missing-the-point 3.6-litre V6, but the smart money, and the volume sales, will be with the 2.0TDI diesel and 1.8T petrol, engines more familiar than your own family, and probably more reliable.

The Superb Combi is refined at speed, agile enough despite the extra bulk and, with around 46mpg available across the diesel range, it's potentially a sipper.

With a premium of around £1,300 over the saloon, the Combi still significantly undercuts the default choices, be that Mondeo or 3-Series, while saying something vastly more valuable in the process. More car, less badge.

In the same way that opulence defined the Eighties, we are entering a period of modesty, albeit by default, that promises not just to inhibit spending, but to make it positively uncool. Just as green is the new black, so too is understatement the right statement. The Skoda Superb Combi, ridiculous name and all, is the anti-prick's choice for this era of less.

Matt Master

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