Skoda Superb Review

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Skoda Superb Tested July 2008

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4 stars

Quick Summary

Recommended. The latest version of the Superb lives up to its name. It's big, stylish and comfortable but, most importantly, it's a bargain.

Road Test

The Superb is one of those obscure models than you may see now and again in the UK if you keep your eyes peeled, but is in fact a big success in central and eastern Europe. It's a large saloon, closer in size to the BMW 5 Series than the Mondeo-segment which it slots into over here. The sole reason it's in a segment below the one it should be is its price, which is extremely competitive for the amount of car you get; the base model is only just over the £16K mark. This ultra-low starting price gets you a massive 62mm extra rear legroom compared to the Mondeo and 32 litres more boot space. Skoda has also introduced a nifty dual opening boot lid: open it normally and it will open like a saloon, but press a button in the cabin followed by the boot release and the lid transforms to a hatchback.

It's a stylish looking car too. The exterior has quite a sleek demeanour and the same is true inside. The dash is made up of soft-touch materials and oozes high quality. It's beautifully finished and certainly looks pricier than it is. There are three trim levels - Skoda has renamed them with more familiar titles - S, SE and Elegance, which all come very well equipped. All models get the Twindoor boot system along with seven airbags and air conditioning. Mid-spec SE models receive 17-inch alloys, rear parking sensors, Alcantara and leather upholstery, cruise control, dual zone climate control and Skoda's 'Bolero' touchscreen system with 6 CD changer. There are a few new bits of tech on the Superb too. The first is called Park Assist, which you may have already seen on some of VW's products such as the Tiguan. This essentially looks for a space at the side of the car and then at the touch of a button it will parallel park the car for you - genius. The second is a new AFS (Adaptive Front-light System) which, as the name suggests, adapts the front lights depending on speed, weather conditions and what type of road you're on. If it detects rain, for example, the light beam changes to become shorter and wider in order to lessen the glare from the light being reflected off the road.

The engine line-up offers a bewildering variety, with a couple of elephant traps to catch the unwary. Amongst the diesels, go for either the 140 bhp or 170 bhp CR (Common Rail) engines and avoid the PD units, which use a dead-end VW injection technology that costs you 5 mpg. Among the petrol engines, the 1.8 TSI engine is excellent and the unfeasibly small 1.4 TSI performs miracles in motivating a car this size. We also have to mention the cheerfully insane 3.6 V6 petrol - even Mercedes cannot sell a 260 bhp V6 petrol engine in the UK these days, so someone at Skoda has a strange sense of humour.

The Superb actually makes quite a fun car to drive which is surprising given its size and weight. There's not a huge amount of body roll and as a D212result it flourishes on country roads - as long as they are wide. It goes without saying that it is ultimately a motorway car though, but whether you're sat up front or lost somewhere in the huge rear seats it is difficult not to enjoy the journey in the Superb.

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