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CZECH ESTATEMENT (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Skoda's largest model, the Superb, has always been particularly popular in cavernous estate guise. This revised version of the MK3 model smartens its proposition, as Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 72
If you want a really big station wagon that doesn't come with the kind of premium pricing you'd get with cars of this kind from Volvo or the top German brands, then there's not much to touch Skoda's Superb Estate. This improved version of the third generation design is smarter and more sophisticated, yet still very large, both for passengers and packages. It's still probably the most practical choice in the segment.
Backgroundword count: 187
Skoda's Superb has always traded on being big. The standard hatch model's key showroom attribute has always been the astonishing levels of rear seat legroom it offers - plus its big boot. The car's always been the perfect starting point then, for the creation of a really huge estate model, something the Czech brand introduced with the second generation version and continues with here in this much improved MK3 model. This design uses the Volkswagen Group's hi-tech MQB platform, which allows it to be bigger, yet still lighter than its predecessor. Sure enough, there's a big 660-litre boot with the seats up and nearly 2,000-litres of space with the rear bench folded down. We're almost into large MPV territory here. Al this from a smart executive-style estate with no frumpy People Carrying connotations. As before, it's priced at the level of a Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia-style 'D-segment' estate, yet offers even more room than you could expect from a much pricier large Executive class station wagon - say a BMW 5 Series Touring or an Audi A6 Avant. In other words, there's plenty to like here.
Driving Experienceword count: 260
As you'd expect, this updated Superb has been fitted out with the latest suite of Volkswagen Group engines and these are all mated to DSG auto transmission, demand for manual gearboxes in cars of this size having petered out somewhat. The petrol range kicks off with a 150PS 1.5-litre TSI EVO unit. Next up is a revised version of the 2.0-litre TSI powerplant with 190PS; and the top petrol powerplant is a 2.0-litre TSI engine developing 272PS, which comes with all-wheel drive as standard. In the diesel line-up, the starting point, as before, is a 120PS 1.6-litre TDI; next up is a heavily revised 2.0-litre 150PS diesel unit now badged 'TDI EVO'. Beyond that is the 2.0 TDI 190PS unit, which can optionally be ordered with all-wheel drive. You can also now talk to your dealer about a Superb iV plug-in hybrid model, powered by a 1.4 TSI petrol engine that delivers 156PS and is boosted by an 85kW electric motor. The combined maximum power output of the two power sources is 218PS - which promises to deliver exceptional performance along with significantly reduced fuel consumption and emissions. On the move, as ever in a Superb, the ride and refinement are exemplary and the dynamic demeanour of the car is sharper than you might expect, thanks to its light, stiff MQB chassis. As a result, the car feels surprisingly agile through bends you'll be able to attack with reasonable gusto thanks to feelsome steering and a standard XDS+ Electronic Differential Lock that reduces understeer and improves stability as you turn.
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Category: Luxury Saloons and Estates
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