SKODA has been turning out some fine products for a number of years.
Judged on value for money and good old fashioned bang-for-your-bucks, few car makers can match models like the Fabia and Octavia.
But go up the ladder a rung, and the spacious Superb met stiff rivalry from mainstream front runners that possessed slicker styling, greater luxury and the sort of panache that Skoda wasn't use to providing.
That's all changed with the latest Superb hatch, an elegant five-door that has the profile of sleek saloon and the carrying capacity of a furniture wagon.
It is also a pleasure to drive, especially when equipped with the gutsy 188bhp, 2.0-litre diesel engine.
Introduced earlier this year, the new model builds on the success of previous Superbs and conforms to a well tried formula of providing maximum cabin space.
Despite being longer, wider and higher than the last model it is 75kg lighter, thanks partly to its new platform.
Carrying capacity with rear seats folded is an enormous 1,760 litres which dwarfs many estate cars let alone hatches. Legroom both front and rear is of taxi-like proportions.
The interior is both smart and classy with high grade plastics, clear dials and good instrumentation. And there are some built-in treats such as a couple of brollies hidden in the front doors so you can dodge that unexpected shower and an ice-scraper neatly slotted into the petrol filler cap.
The four cylinder engine, which is seen in VW group models across the range, is mated with six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, although a six-speed manual is a cheaper option.
The DSG automatic works well with rapid, seamless changes that allows acceleration to 62mph in under eight seconds. Maximum is 146mph.
Despite its generous size, the Superb's CO2 emissions are a meagre 119g/km putting it in a low road tax bracket and helping towards an everyday fuel consumption of around 47mpg. The official combined average is 61.4mpg.
Ride and handling is assured and comfortable rather than dynamic and sporty, as befits a large saloon aimed at family motorists. Nevertheless, it corners with modest roll and soaks up most road irregularities well. For an extra £750, you can specify Dynamic Chassis Control with settings for sport, comfort or normal.
There's little ‘clatter' from the diesel and both mechanical and wind noise are kept to a minimum, making the Superb a relaxed mile-eater over long distances.
The SE L Executive model I drove - price Â£28,720 - comes with 18-inch alloy wheels as standard. Other goodies include dual zone climate control, digital radio, sat-nav and eight-inch screen, and rear parking sensors. Heated front and rear seats are Â£200 extra.
With its rakish new headlights, deep grille and edgy body-creases, the Superb looks every inch an executive model, even putting some of its Audi and VW brethren in the shade.