Skoda Superb SE L

Executive

Skoda Superb, front
Skoda Superb, front
Skoda Superb, rear
Skoda Superb, interior

WHO would have thought it? A Skoda that's better looking than an Audi...

Well, to many eyes - mine included - the sleek five-door Superb Hatch measures up well to such established beauties as the Audi A5 Sportback, and is more elegant than the A4 saloon, despite being noticeable cheaper.

There's a huge range of engine options, both petrol and diesel, to choose from plus two or four wheel drive on some versions.

One of the most in-demand models is the 2.0 TDI 150 which can be specified with twin clutch automatic gearbox, which we tested.

Blending ample power with the high economy diesel engine produces plenty of performance and results in a relaxed long distance cruiser.

With a price tag of under £28,000 for the SE L Executive model including DSG gearbox, it lays down the gauntlet to rivals.

Few cars under £35,000 can offer as much cabin space as the Superb. If you think legroom in the front is generous, take a look at the space available to rear seat passengers - no wonder it is a favourite as an airport taxi.

And the hatchback boot is huge being capable of swallowing up a class leading 625 litres of luggage, and an impressive 1,760 litres with rear seats folded.

Materials used for the facia and cabin may not be quite up to the standard of Audi and Merc but the quality gap has narrowed noticeably.

Front seats, which are heated and leather covered, are well-shaped and comfortable for long journeys. There's ample room for three adults in the rear.

Standard kit on the Executive version leaves little out. Bi-xenon headlights, 9.2-inch sat nav screen, electric driver's seat with memory, headlight washers, dual zone climate control and electrically operated boot are all there.

There are even umbrellas in the driver and passengers doors in case you caught out by a rain shower. Another clever touch is the removable LED lamp in the boot.

Drive the Superb either sedately or briskly and it will be do the business with ease. Ride is composed and assured with decent cornering ability and sufficient damping to soak up poor surfaces.

Only if you treat it as a sports car will you find it missing a certain dynamism or athleticism, but for the vast majority of drivers the big saloon delivers well.

The 2.0-litre diesel has been seen is many VW products and although not the quietest diesel on the market, it pulls well and settles into a relaxed motorway gait. Acceleration of 8.6 seconds to 62mph is swift enough for most.

Without doubt, the six-speed DSG gearbox is an asset in this type of car, taking much of the strain out of town driving and offering smooth almost imperceptible gear changes.

With a meagre emissions level of 118g/km, the Superb regularly clocked up more 50mpg in my hands allowing a driving range of well over 750 miles between tank refills.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Superb SE L Executive

Price: £27,950

Mechanical: 148bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 135mph

0-62mph: 8.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 61.4

Insurance Group: 18

C02 emissions: 118g/km

Bik rating: 15%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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