28 Sep 2016 | 02.43 pm
Roadtest: Skoda Superb Combi
Big, comfortable, attractive styling, imposing road presence
28 Sep 2016 | 02.43 pm
The third generation Combi delivers a lot of bang for the buck and has masses of room, writes Olive Keogh.
While €40,000 is big a chunk of cash to spend on a new car, it begins to look reasonable when you look at what you’re getting for your money with the Skoda Superb. Skoda used to be a budget brand. Now it’s become a value for money brand with the emphasis on giving buyers all the bells and whistles they’d pay an arm and a leg for from one of the premium marques.
The Superb is Skoda’s flagship. It’s big and comfortable with attractive styling and an imposing road presence. Now in its third generation, the latest version is stacked with standard features from Bi-Xenon headlamps to three-zone air conditioning and a high definition reversing camera. There are also front and rear parking sensors, an upmarket navigation system and useful touches such as two umbrellas and room for both the driver and passenger to store a large drinks bottle.
Connectivity is top of both manufacturer and customer agendas these days, and the new Superb takes a big step forward in this direction with its SmartLink connectivity system, which mirrors smartphone apps on the car’s 8-inch touchscreen. SmartLink works with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems. There’s also a new SmartGate interface that allows a certain amount of vehicle data to be accessed on your smartphone, while a new media command app means the infotainment system can be also be remotely controlled by rear seat passengers via their mobile device.
What’s interesting about all this heavy-duty connected car is that car manufacturers are tapping into the expertise of non-traditional suppliers to source it. US chipmaker Nvidia, a leading light in the computer graphics cards for decades, has now branched into the automotive sector. Both Audi’s virtual cockpit and Volvo’s autonomous-car pilot programme use Nvidia technology.
Technology aside, the Superb also delivers in the key areas that make everyday driving easy on the system and the pocket. It offers a 30% improvement in fuel consumption, but not at the expense of a decent turn of speed when required. In normal driving, the Superb is refined and quietly capable, and the steering is light and responsive making for hassle-free parking.
The new Superb is wider and longer than its predecessor and this translates into an exceptionally roomy interior, with class-leading front and rear legroom and more elbow and headroom in the front. There is plenty of stretch-out space for adults or long-legged teens in the back, and the rear seats are also air conditioned for comfort.
The boot is a whopping 660 litres with the rear seats in use, and that’s way more than the space offered by the German luxury brands. The load area rises to 1,140 litres with the back seats down and you can fold the rear seats from the boot, which is really handy. The loading lip is low for easy access and the whole of the newly designed interior has a solid, quality feel about it.
Skoda is doing phenomenally well as a brand. With models such as the Superb that tick so many boxes, it’s not hard to see why.
Model Skoda Superb Combi (estate)
Engine 2.0 TDI, 150bhp
Safety ESC, seven airbags, emergency city braking, tyre pressure warning, braking distance warning, hill hold, cruise control
Fuel Combined cycle 4.6L/100km
Verdict Elegant looking, generous accommodation, great value for money