Car Tested: Skoda Superb SE L
Executive Estate 2.0 Diesel.
Price £23,450 – £38,500
With thanks to Westover Skoda, Salisbury.
By the time you read this, the yearly stress-fest of the family holiday will probably be a retreating thought.
Of course, holidays are the time to generate happy memories of lying in the sun for 10 minutes before we get too hot, jumping in the pool, recoiling from the shock of cool water, sunbathing again, and repeating for a couple of hours until someone is hungry. Happy times. The means of transportation to your week of bliss is another issue. This year, I was overruled and we flew from Southampton to France which, to be fair, makes sense – 80 minutes to Bordeaux is great. Add on the two hours pre-flight, an hour to snake past destination passport control, an hour queue for the pre-booked rental car and two hours to the final destination, and it has become a long day. Would it have been easier to drive all the way? Well, let’s just say I would like to have had a go using the current Skoda Superb estate I have had for the last few days.
Certainly the journey time would have been longer but it would have been more comfortable, less stressful and by the size of the boot, we could have taken the kitchen sink, cooker and dishwasher.
The car market is awash with SUVs, and the estate car is often overlooked, which is a bit short-sighted as estate cars are nearly always better-looking, with more boot space and usually better on fuel. It appears the majority want to travel a little higher in essentially a jacked-up hatchback for the sense of perceived extra safety.
Skoda, which became part of the Volkswagen group many years ago, has been on an upward trajectory ever since, often sharing the floorpan, engine and switchgear of existing Audis and VWs – a recipe which is not going to disappoint.
The Superb estate is a big vehicle, but when you open the doors, you can see it is almost of limousine proportions, especially in the back. The boot, as previously mentioned, is nothing short of enormous – with a full-size spare wheel, too.
The two-litre diesel engine is smooth and willing and – should you select the Eco setting – extremely fuel-efficient. Even with the automatic gearbox and making full use of the air-conditioning, I seemed to be achieving over 45mpg.
The interior is very nicely put together with good seats, an excellent Sat Nav and the usual electronic toys to either enhance or complicate your day. The hill-start assist combined with engine start-stop, which is becoming all too prevalent in new cars was, to me, an irritation and had I had the car longer, I would have looked to override.
A long list of options – offering improved audio, leather seats, chassis adjustment, bigger wheels, nicer alloys – exists, but to be honest, the standard car offers a fantastic refined and safe vehicle for a (ahem), superb price. And should you ever drive to France, you have the huge boot to fill with wine on the return trip.
Pictures and words copyright Dominic Parkes,