Car sales have been built on the sheer variety of models available over the years and the expression ‘horses for courses’ explains the global success of the Skoda Superb, writes Robin Roberts.
The first Superb models appeared 85 years ago and the modern models launched in 2001 as the Skoda flagship series and they have stayed at the top ever since.
It’s easy to understand why when you look at the very recently restyled and refitted range now bursting with engineering and everyday technology from a comparatively cheap £24,655.
The range of estate and hatchback models is truly enormous. There are seven trim levels and nine petrol or diesel engines attached to manual or automatic transmissions. There is really something for anyone to choose and our test car this time was the most popular hatchback 150ps 1.5 litre petrol with six-speed manual gearbox.
Whichever you pick, the Skoda Superb represents remarkable value for money and combine this with a very roomy interior and huge boot its easy to see why they are so popular with taxi and chauffeur businesses across Europe.
The powertrain is a very good combination. What it lacks in outright get-up-and-go shifting the near 1.5 tonnes car, it compensates with smoothness and economy. Ok, the fuel consumption will take a hit if you press on hard through the intermediate gears but overall it delivers a good return at the filling station and it can easily keep up with traffic on main and secondary roads.
You can hear the suspension and tyres working away mainly because the other mechanical, wind and engine noises are very low.
It started immediately, had good acceleration, a long travel yet progressive clutch and very precise gear-change action.
Matched with very good brakes underfoot, an effective parking brake on steep slopes and a communicative steering action it could be accurately placed on the open road and confidently manoeuvred in urban areas or when parking, even without resorting to the parking aids standard on the car.
Vision was very good with only a narrow blindspot over the shoulder and caused by the c-pillar. Bright, wide, long range headlights and good wipers both ends were effective in poor conditions.
Secondary controls were sensibly placed around the wheel and driver, mostly on the spokes or column but some were easily in reach on the console or right hand side of the fascia and the big instruments panel contained clear dials and selectable data all well displayed.
I liked the heating and ventilation controls and system which filled the big cabin with air, reacted quickly to changes and quietly worked away.
Access was very easy throughout with wide opening side doors and a very high-lifting tailgate which revealed a deep, wide and long boot. This is a family car make no mistake.
Inside the seats were generously sized, sensibly shaped and very comfortable with particularly good adjustment range on the front pair and excellent support for a long legged driver or passenger.
Ride comfort was good and the Superb really soaked up the worst bumps although you could hear the system working away all the time. Generally it gripped well through corners and did not show up any vices to concern a driver.
You are aware of how big it is when going quickly and the nose tended to run wide on some bends but easily came back on line was speed diminished or the steering angle eased off. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as it ensures you don’t get into trouble without the ability to safely and quickly recover composure.
There are many Skoda fans on the roads but what is evident now is that the standard equipment is becoming more selective and you’re being asked to pay more for it, but with a huge range that also means you can pick what you really want.
If you agree that variety is the spice of life, just be selective in your choice of spices with the Skoda Superb.
Mechanical: 150ps 4cyl 1498cc petrol, 6sp manual
Max Speed: 137mph
0-62mph: 9 sec
Combined MPG: 40
Insurance Group: 21E
C02 emissions: 120 g/km
Bik rating: 28%, £170FY, £145SR
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles
Sizes: L4.87m, W1.87m, H1.47m
Bootspace: 625-1760 litres
Kerb weight: 1455kg
Reasons to buy
- Very roomy and comfortable with good economy, sophisticated, easy to drive, good roadholding, enormous boot.
- Modest acceleration particularly mid-range, average warranty and constant road noise.