Skoda's best gets

better

Skoda Superb, 2019, front
Skoda Superb, 2019, side
Skoda Superb, 2019, rear
Skoda Superb, 2019, side, static
Skoda Superb, 2019, interior
Skoda Superb, 2019, instrument panel
Skoda Superb, 2019, tail badge
Skoda Superb, 2019, boot
Skoda Superb, 2019, rear light
Skoda Superb, 2019, rear seats
Skoda Superb, 2019, display screen
Skoda Superb, 2019, badge

THE Skoda Superb has always been near the top of the class but the latest incarnation takes its supremacy to a new level.

Some pundits and magazines compare it to the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia, but on size, performance, specification and comfort, it is much closer to the BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6.

The revised Superb, which goes on sale shortly, is a brilliant car to drive and, on short acquaintance, should be very, very easy to live with.

The previous model had a huge impact on the company's sales throughout the world, which rose year on year.

So it has high hopes that this latest range will continue the trend.

The Superb name has only been around in the modern era since 2001, but Skoda first produced a car bearing the name back in 1934, with V6 and V8 petrol engines.

The updated design, engineering and safety of the company's new flagship are high in the stratosphere compared to those much simpler cars of course, and they were produced before BMW or Audi even existed.

Outside, the latest model has slimmer full LED headlights flanking a remodelled grille and underlined by a new front bumper.

At the rear there is a new wider spaced badge, more chrome trim and LED tail lights.

Safety is enhanced with a number of new assistance systems including predictive cruise control and side assist, which works at up to 70 metres, and emergency assistance for multi-lane roads that allows the car not only to brake autonomously in an emergency, but also to steer around an obstacle.

Front assist with predictive pedestrian and cyclist protection will also be part of the package.

For now, the range of engines encompasses three petrol and three diesel, and most of these come with a standard seven speed DSG automatic gearbox.

But next year, the range will expand with Skoda's first electrified model, a petrol/electric plug-in hybrid.

Diesel engines, which are likely to form the majority of sales since the car is a favourite with fleet buyers and user choosers, start with a 120bhp 1.6 that comes with a six speed manual gearbox.

Next is a new 150bhp 2.0-litre TDI from the EVO generation of power units, which brings lower weight and emissions, and improved economy over its predecessor.

And finally, comes the existing 190bhp 2.0-litre, which can be ordered with four wheel drive.

The petrol line-up starts with a 150bhp 1.5 that has active cylinder technology. This allows two cylinders to temporarily shut down under very light loads to save fuel. It comes with a six speed manual, but is also available with the DSG.

Then comes a 2.0-litre TSI unit with 190bhp mated to the DSG auto, and finally a range topping 272bhp 2.0 litre TSI with the auto box and all wheel drive.

There are six trim levels ranging up from S to Lauryn & Klement, but the more powerful engines hare exclusive to the upper models.

I had a short drive in the mid-range 2.0-litre TSI SE L and it was wonderful, with a superb ride over all surfaces, very good handling and roadholding and the most marvellous refinement, with virtually no noise from engine, tyres wind or suspension.

Even the bump-thump from large wheels and tyres we have come to expect from so many of our cars these days was absolutely minimal.

Add a fantastic array of standard equipment including leather upholstery DAB stereo and sat nav, and I think everyone would agreed that this is a package hard to ignore.

The car I drove was priced from £30,575, can manage 0 to 60 in 7.7 seconds, tops out at 149mph and is officially rated at 45.6mpg with emissions of 139g/km - competitive if ever there was.

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