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Skoda Superb

Skoda's boldly named flagship model, the Superb, has just been replaced by a new generation car with upgraded underpinnings, freshened styling, a stiffer body and new Euro-6 engines. It is now based on the VW Group's latest MQB modular chassis, and clothed in a sharper-edged and stronger body that follows the Czech company's latest 'crystalline' design theme.
A selection of 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre TDI engines are on offer, along with the option of four-wheel-drive. The line-up kicks off with a 118bhp 1.6-litre TDI engine that boasts CO2 emissions as low as 105g/km and a claimed fuel economy figure of 70.6mpg. There's also a pair of 2.0-litre units developing 148bhp and 188bhp respectively. Twin-clutch DSG automatic transmissions are available on all three powerplants, and Skoda predicts that more than 90 per cent of buyers will opt for diesel power.
And for those that require more space, an estate version of the Superb will arrive in UK showrooms shortly, with the first pictures on page 14. The old Superb drove really well, and this new one is more of the same. The driving experience is both enjoyable and civilised, in a car that swallows the miles with low-fatigue efficiency. In character it is more limousine than sports car, but it tackles bends tidily with good body control, and has a wellresolved balance between taut handling and good ride comfort. A lumpy surface can briefly catch it out and cause a slight jostle that you are aware of in the cabin, but all the more general undulations are pretty effectively cushioned. Steering feel is reasonably communicative, and the DSG twinclutch automatic gearbox in our test car does a generally slick job, effecting changes where you'd naturally choose them. It can seem initially a bit sluggish, but rapidly gets into its stride.
Refinement is generally very good, with modest noise intrusion into the interior, unless of course you have a rather leaden right foot, when burying the accelerator pedal delivers more engine noise. This is a bigger car all round than the old one: the body is 28 millimetres longer and 22 wider, while the wheelbase has stretched by 80 millimetres. The old Superb was always very well endowed with interior space, and the same applies to the new car, only now even more so. Even with the front seats pushed well back, there is still very ample legroom in the rear, and extra space has been created in other directions, too.
Rear headroom has been expanded by 25 millimetres, and there is also more elbow room all round - by 39 millimetres at the front and 69 behind. Luggage capacity has increased too. The boot is larger by 30 litres, and is now a whopping 625 litres with all the seats in the upright position. Lowering the rear seats, using quick-release handles in the boot, gives you a maximum of 1,760 litres of cargo space, which is more than all of its rivals.
Standard kit on all Superbs is nothing short of generous, with all editions featuring a multi-function leather steering wheel, a five-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, DAB digital radio and an electric park brake. There's also front fog lights, alloy wheels, autonomous emergency braking, automatic headlights and a full suite of electronic safety equipment, including pedestrian protection, an electronic differential and a multi collision avoidance system. Move up to the SE trim and there's larger 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, power folding door mirrors and cornering front fog lights, in addition to adaptive cruise control, dual-zone climate control and a larger 6.5- inch touchscreen.
As the name suggests, the SE Business model is aimed at company car users, and includes satellite navigation, Alcantara upholstery, wireless mobile phone charging, privacy glass, front parking sensors and a choice of driving modes. SE L Executive trim has even larger 18-inch alloy wheels, as well as Bi-Xenon headlights, an uprated satellite navigation system with eight-inch touchscreen, electric front seats with memory functionality, leather upholstery, heated front seats and an electrically operated boot, while flagship Laurin & Klement models include an uprated ten-speaker audio system, heated front windscreen, tri-zone climate control, a television tuner, dynamic chassis control and an automated parking system, as well as a lane keeping assistant, keyless entry, blind spot recognition and piano black dashboard appliques.
The range kicks off at £19,985 for the S 1.6 TDI model, with SE editions on offer for an extra £1,550. SE Business models are priced at exactly the same as the regular SE versions, while SE L Executive models are priced at £3,030 more.
At the top of the tree, Laurin & Klement editions carry a £3,620 price premium over the SE L Executive models. Skoda's trademark 'Simply clever' theme of smart ideas has been extended in this latest model, with all but the base versions now featuring a pair of folding umbrellas housed in both the front door armrests. There's also a device between the front seats that brilliantly lets you open a drinks bottle one-handed, and optional luggage grips in the boot effectively stop items from sliding about. The Superb has always been a wellconceived and excellent value-for-money car, and that continues with the new generation model.
It has shed the weighty ingenuity of the old car's 'twin-door' saloon/hatch design, but has gained more space, extra technology, and a whole host of canny new features. All of these latest measures meant that the name of the car remains just as apt.

Model tested SE L Executive 2.0 TDI 4x4 Automatic
Price £30,220
Made in Kvasiny, Czech Republic
Configuration 5-door hatchback, 5-seats, four-wheel-drive
Drivetrain 1968cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged diesel with stop-start and selective catalyst reduction
Transmission 6-speed twin-clutch automatic
Power output 188bhp @ 3,500-4,000rpm
Maximum torque 295lb ft @ 1,750-3,250rpm
Top speed/0-62mph 143mph/7.6 secs
CO2 emissions (tax band) 132g/km (E) Euro 6
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 47.1/64.2/56.5mpg
Fuel tank size/range 66 litres/820 miles
Insurance group/BIK rate tba/24%
Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,861/2,031mm
Boot space (minimum/maximum) 625/1,760 litres
Kerb/max towing weight 1,615/2,200kg

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