The first Skoda car was launched onto an unsuspecting world around 1905. It was still for sale in 1987! No, no; only kidding. We can’t do that sort of thing any more. It’s not politically correct and it’s not factually correct. The days when Skoda cars were the butt of bad jokes are long gone. The fact is, the Czech company make great cars these days and they should be on everyone’s buying short list of mainstream motors. The Superb (at least until the launch of the upcoming Kodiaq SUV) is the flagship of the range and the flagship’s flagship has got to be the Skoda Superb SE L Executive Estate 4×4 featured today.
Not So Much Ship As Ocean Liner
The Superb Estate is one of those cars that seems bigger inside than outside, like the Tardis – and it is almost as fast too. It’s big at the kerb yet presents a sleek profile. At the back the twin exhaust outlets suggest power aplenty and the chiselled front end follows in the Skoda family likeness, although – and this is common to most brands these days – it is at the expense of model individuality.
The inside is vast and leathery. There’s plenty of room in the front seats and loads of seat and steering adjustment for even the tallest of drivers. Even so, lanky folk will not feel confined in the back either; there’s so much leg and head room.
This made it especially frustrating for children confined to safety seats who, despite stretching out their legs as far as they would go, were totally unable to scuff the front seat backs in that irritating way. For once the grown-ups have the last laugh!
Even with the interior distances involved there is no need to shout or use semaphore flags because the car remains quiet, even at speed. For such a massive motor that’s a plus. The Skoda Superb Estate is one relaxed cruiser and in the tested guise it could even be described as a bruiser cruiser such is the power available.
Wandering around the back the observer will find a large electric hatch with a low sill that marks the entrance to the vast, rectangular ballroom, sorry, boot. Whisper and on a quiet day you can hear an echo. Not only is the trunk immense, it is also supplemented by deep side pockets, a cargo net and a proper space-saver spare instead of one of those stupid kits.
On The Bridge
As ever there’s a choice of trim levels to suit most budgets and driving requirements. Whichever, the Superb makes for very safe and efficient family or business transport. The handling is both secure and predictable; this model especially as the four-wheel-drive offers added traction and better stability, a bonus on winter roads.
This isn’t a sports car though. The steering is reasonably precise and well weighted but there’s not a lot of that illusive feel, although frankly you can level that one at most cars these days. Inevitably there’s a bit of lean into corners but the car goes where it is aimed and at least inspires a bit of confidence to crack on. The brakes are notably strong and progressive.
There’s a choice of the usual modes; Normal, Comfort, Sport etc adjusted by the touch of a button. The auto ‘box is great, giving fast, positive shifts. It’s easy to switch between Drive/Sport by way of a flick of the DSG gear shift or, alternatively, the small paddles can be selected although they didn’t add much to the experience.
The 8” touchscreen is bright and clear and the functions are easy to use. There’s the usual collection of goodies; Bluetooth, USB, climate and much else all shown on the specification below.
In The Engine Room
There’s a choice of power plants, as ever. High-mileage business users will opt for one of the diesels but there’s a lot to be said for the lively and responsive petrol engines on offer. The tested car came with a 2.0L TSI punching out a mighty 276bhp through a six-speed auto. If parsimonious petrol hyper-miling is the preferred driving option then this is not the engine for you.
If however you want a car that overtakes at warp speed, then hand over around £32k to your dealer and proceed to take off up the road like a scalded cat. Usually big cars lose that sensation of speed but with this Skoda Superb the force of acceleration is obvious – and fun. The catch inevitably is an average fuel mileage of thirty or slightly less if you get carried away. You could also get carried away to the slammer by the cops if you’re not careful. Just saying.
Everything Shipshape Or All At Sea?
More spacious than the BMW 5-Series or Mercedes E-Class estate cars, it competes very well with cars in the next price bracket. In short, it’s a bargain. If a huge family car is needed but you can’t afford the asking price of this model then the entry level 1.4L comes in at around £20,000 and you would be hard put to get a quality car of this size for less. Despite the growing reputation of the brand, it seems you can still count on Skoda for some VFM.
The Skoda Superb SE L Executive Estate 4×4 is fast, practical, reliable and, crucially, adds some fun to family motoring. Give it a go me hearties!