THE multi-award-winning Skoda flagship has been superb in name and superb in nature for many years, but this Superb is new and different - the brand's first electrified model.
That hasn't stopped the awards coming though - it's already been named Hybrid Estate of the Year at the inaugural What Car? Electric Car Awards.
Available in four trim levels - SE L, SportLine Plus, Laurin & Klement and SE Technology for business customers, the Superb iV shares it powertrain technology with the Volkswagen Passat GTE, so there's a turbocharged 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine and 85kW electric motor, delivering a total performance of 215bhp and CO2emissions of less than 42g/km. On Sportline Plus models this is mated to a six-speed DSG transmission.
It offers a zero-emission drive up to 35 miles - enough to cover most commutes - and can travel up to 578 miles on a single full tank and a fully charged battery when in hybrid mode.
The Superb iV's battery can be charged from either a wall box or a standard domestic three-pin plug. Using a 3.6kW wallbox, the battery can be fully recharged in three and a half hours. It's also able to recharge or maintain the level of charge in the battery while driving, using its petrol engine and brake energy recovery.
The end result is an official fuel economy figure of up to 176.6mpg, though as with any plug-in model, the official return is a fantasy figure. Long-term fuel economy is going to entirely depend on your typical trip characteristics. On petrol power alone, I returned 42.1mpg, so high-mileage drivers are still better off buying a diesel. However, if you drive shorter distances and have the ability to charge at home - or at work - your trips to the pumps will be few and far between.
Driving Mode Select offers three different special settings - Sport, E-mode and Hybridmode. In E-mode, theSuperbiV is powered exclusively by the battery; in Hybridmode, the electronics chooses between electric and petrol power as needed.
The 1.4 TSI petrol engine is quiet, refined and responsive, with decent performance, especially in Sport mode, which unleashes the full extent of its 215bhp and 400Nm of torque.
From the outside, the plug-in hybrid model can be identified by the iVbadge at the rear; the front is shaped by a redesigned bumper with a honeycomb structure and AirCurtains. The SportLine Plus model sits on 19-inch alloy wheels, and also features rear LED lights with animated indicators, exterior gloss black sports styling including front grill, side strip, window surrounds and door mirrors and rear exhaust diffuser styling elements.
Inside, SportLine Plus models feature Alcantara sports seats in black with silver diamond stitching, a three-spoke leather sports steering wheel and an electrically adjustable driver's seat. SportLine models are also equipped with a Columbus satellite navigation with 9.2-inch touchscreen display, LED interior light pack, and an electrically operated tailgate.
The Columbus system features a built-in eSIM for data and wireless connection for SmartLink and Apple CarPlay. Real-time traffic information and online support allow route suggestions to be calculatedmore quickly and accurately; the system can notify the driver about traffic jams in real time and can swiftly calculate suitable alternative routes.
There's also dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and electrically folding door mirrors with boarding spot lighting. There's also Adaptive Cruise Control which incorporates a clever Predictive Cruise Control feature which uses images from a windscreen camera, along with navigation data, to adjust the car's speed ahead of bends and speed restrictions.
As ever with a Superb, space for rear seat passengers is class-leading thanks to the model's lengthy 2,841mm wheelbase. The estate also offers 510 litres of space with the rear seats up and 1,800 litres with them down. Thoughtfully, there's even a compartment under the boot floor for the charging cables.
Built upon the same modular MQB platform that now underpins most Volkswagen Group models - albeit modified slightly to accommodate and protect the battery pack - the Superb iV also uses the same suspension hardware as the standard car. However, the software has been tweaked in consideration of the additional weight it now has to manage. The standard-fit adaptive dampers therefore not only lower the ride height by 10mm but are also a touch firmer than usual, whichever driving mode you've selected. All this means the ride quality of the Superb is extremely good, while handling is as competent as you'd expect from a large front-wheel drive estate.
With usable performance, the possibility of frugal fuel use, sensible handling and a roomy, comfortable ride, the Skoda Superb iV Estate is a very good all-round car.
215bhp, 1,395cc, four-cylinder petrol-electric engine driving the front wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox