Superb by name, superb by nature?
Towards the end of its life, the previous model Skoda Superb became the darling of the taxi trade, thanks to low running costs and acres of room. With the new generation Superb, and as car makers need to think outside of the box to attract new customers, Skoda has come up with its novel Twindoor system, offering the flexibility of both a hatchback and a saloon. One press of the rear door and the boot opens like a saloon, two presses and the tailgate opens, like a hatchback. Two birds killed with one stone then. Step into the cabin, and there’s acres of space for rear passengers, offering true limousine rivalling legroom. The dashboard is a pleasing design, with twin domed instruments, and quality materials used throughout. The chrome detailing is a nice touch and lifts the cabin, giving it an upmarket feel. The colour touch-screen satellite navigation system is easy to use and comes as standard on Elegance specification cars. In the Superb, the six-speed DSG gearbox is probably the smoothest application of the transmission that I’ve experienced so far and is mated well to the new common-rail 170bhp 2.0- litre engine. The gear changes are seamless and the sound made by the up-change adds a sporty feel to the car.
The new engine is noticeable quieter and smoother than the old pumpe düse unit, and sound proofing is effective, with engine noise barely noticeable from inside the cabin. And Caravanners have given the Superb a big thumbs up, with the panel of judges from the Caravan Club awarding the Skoda tow car of the year 2009, albeit in 2.0 TDI PD Elegance specification. At £23,690, the model tested is good value compared to its rivals, with a good level of standard equipment. There’s bi-xenon adaptive headlights, electric and heated memory seats, parking sensors, 18-inch alloy wheels and leather upholstery all fitted as standard. But beware, although the standard kit count lists a Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone system, it doesn’t work with all mobile phones, as I found out to my cost. My Sony Ericcson W890i is incompatible, so it is advisable to check to make sure that your phone works with the Superb. There’s no getting away from the fact that the Superb is different.
It’s looks are definitely a matter of taste, and certainly distinctive, and there’s a lot of space on offer for a reasonable price. That combined with a smooth drive, comfortable interior and fantastic DSG gearbox, Skoda seem to be onto a winner.
RIVALS: Honda Accord 2.2 i-DTEC E X Auto, Vauxh all Insignia Elite 2.0 C DTi 16v Auto, Volkswagen Pass at SEL 2.0 TDI CR DSG
- Engine: 1968cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed DSG automatic
- Max Power: 170bhp at 4,200rpm
- Max Torque: 258lb ft at 1,750 – 2,500rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 1,800kg
- Combined Consumption: 46.3mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 159g/km (D)
- 0-62mph: 137mph
- Max speed: 8.8secs
- Insurance group: 13
Tow car of the year 2009, smooth DSG gearbox, powerful, comfortable and cosseting interior
Bluetooth system not compatible with all mobile phones, looks aren’t to all tastes with heavy looking, out of proportion side profile