What is it?
A real hidden gem, the Superb lives up to its absurdly self-assured name in every respect. See a bloke driving one of these and know that he is at ease with himself in a car devoid of badge politics, basking in the quiet comfort, quality and limousine levels of space that only Skoda can offer at this price. Skoda facelifted it last year with a cleaner nose, up to 20 per cent cleaner engines and a clean-up of trim lines. Inevitably, it’s dubbed more Superb. Is it?
It’s a tiny bit irritating to drive the Superb because clearly the place to be is in the back, reading the paper and sipping your latte. But the benefits a Superb offers its driver are still significant. There’s enough space and adjustment here for even the tallest chap to get extremely comfortable without encroaching significantly on the rear passenger behind him. The levels of refinement at speed are excellent, too, with marginal wind noise and surprisingly little roar coming up from the road. The ride is very good, as you might expect from a car with such a mighty wheelbase. It rumbles confidently over expansion gaps and broken surfaces, feeling stable and relaxed at any speed.
What’s more, the Superb handles remarkably well considering its size, with a well-controlled body and accurate, responsive steering. It’s unlikely to get the vRS treatment, but we’re still impressed.
On the inside
The Superb’s principal advantage over anything else in this price bracket is that massive and sumptuous interior. Five adults can sit in here in genuine comfort and that includes gangly six-footers in the back. Loadspace is also a boon here. Saloons are normally severely compromised in terms of practicality, but the Superb has a clever boot/hatch design that opens in the conventional easy-access, four-door way, or lifting the whole tailgate like a hatchback. And the space inside there is huge in this segment, enough so that you can carry all the kit that those five adults have brought with them.
All this versatility is, of course, backed up by Skoda’s excellent build quality. Everything is solid and beautifully finished and the driver’s cockpit is an attractive, intuitive space that makes accessing the Superb’s onboard kit a cinch.
With the VW Group’s engines on offer here you can’t go far wrong. We’d advise against the smallest petrol engine as this does rather undermine the character of the car, but pick one of the small-ish Greenline diesels and you have OK-ish go with, err, superb emissions and economy. Residuals will be strong here, too and running costs certain to be low.