Video: Czech out why Sunday World and CarsIreland agree new Skoda really is Superb
I still find it funny, and frustrating, how many people still view various car brands.
Anything with a German badge and its high praise, a French car gets slated for dodgy electrics and anything from Eastern Europe frightens people.
A friend, and sceptic, loves it when you pull up in a new Audi or Mercedes, and fondles it like he’s just met a Playboy bunny. He doesn’t realise that outside his little bubble of German appreciation other brands exist and, in fact, are pound-for-pound better options.
One car that changed his mind, and will eventually change the mind of many, is the new Skoda Superb. The latest version has recently been launched in Ireland, and having tested it briefly at its launch I couldn’t wait to spend a week behind the wheel.
The Superb is no longer a budget VW, it’s a flagship model that has all the class of many German competitors, even the more illustrious BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class. I’m going to get off the fence, for once, and say that the Skoda Superb is the best car I have tested this year. It is the one car that I would be happy to drive for the next five years and be happy with what I paid for.
I really didn’t think anything could top the new Volkswagen Passat, which is exceptional, but when you think that the DNA of the new Superb is almost a clone of the Passat, with much more room, then it is a no-brainer in my eyes.
The Passat is sharper to drive and finished off that little bit better, but as an all-round package I think the new Skoda Superb is currently the best family car you can buy. There, I’ve said it, and I’m not changing my mind.
First off, the design of the new Superb is much sleeker and some of the bland styling of the older model has been replaced with sharper lines.
The new Superb is 28mm longer and the wheelbase has been increased by 80mm, making it even more spacious than before. Class-leading is always thrown about willy-nilly, but the new Superb boasts an impressive 625-litre luggage capacity with all seats in place, and a massive 1,760-litres with the rear seats folded.
Now if that’s not best in class, I don’t know what is.
The great thing about all this boot space is that it doesn’t impinge on passenger comfort. Everyone is treated to vast amounts of head and legroom and it’s the one car that people actually prefer sitting in the back.
The inside is a really nice place to be and the finish is quality. It just falls short of the Passat, but is way better than any of the other rivals. My high-spec Style model had the eight-inch sat nav, three-zone climate control, 19-inch alloys (€958 extra), full leather interior and reversing camera.
The other little touches that Skoda does very well, especially in the Superb, are the practical things like including two umbrellas in the front doors, an ice scraper inside the fuel cap and bottle holders that provide enough grip to allow you to unscrew a bottle with one hand — genius.
On the engine front, Skoda will piggyback the VW line-up with a selection of petrol and diesel options. A great engine, that’s understated in my mind, is the 1.4TSi (125bhp) petrol. It has excellent performance and is surprisingly economica.
The volume seller is expected to be the 1.6 TDi with 120bhp. It boasts 14 per cent more power and 13 per cent improved fuel economy compared with the outgoing unit. .
I don’t think I’d push the boat out for the high-powered diesel (187bhp), much preferring to go for the 2.0TDi (148bhp) with DSG. It’s the perfect all-rounder with power and economy, as well as the glorious DSG, which makes driving the Superb a breeze.
But it doesn’t live up to the Passat or Mondeo in the driving stakes. They have a dynamic edge that makes driving twisty roads a real joy, where the Superb is more of a cruiser that enjoys the open road.
Skoda seems to be pushing the Superb a little more upmarket, and the price is starting to reflect that. It’s no longer the budget option, being priced right in the middle of leading rivals. But starting from €26,795 for the petrol and €27,795 for the diesel it is still a hell of a lot of car for the money. Be careful which model you choose though, because on smaller 16-inch wheels and poverty spec it does look a little bland.
Skoda nailed it when they named their flagship car the Superb, it is in every way. In fact, if they called this new model the Skoda Sublime, I would totally agree.