SKODA SUPERB: knees-ily the best space in town

I’D like to think I’m the ideal sort of chap to check out the latest Skoda Superb.

After all, I’m not exactly vertically challenged and when you’re weighing up the attributes of a car that has a commendable amount of interior space  for the occupants, then long legs become part of the equation.

But even mine (35 inside leg, seeing as you’re going to ask) failed miserably as the electric operate passenger seat whirred backwards. I thought I was going to end up in the boot (and there’s room there too, believe me), and eventually had to move it forward so my feet could rest against the front bulkhead.

Even set back at its furthest extremity, there’s still room for a good sized adult to relax in the back. And if they think you haven’t actually left them quite enough room, there’s a handy button for them to be able to move the passenger seat a bit further forward.

Not the sort of equipment you’d want to let the mother-in-law loose on, unless you actually like having your nose pressed against the windscreen, but a handy touch nonetheless and another of Skoda’s Simply Clever features designed to make life easier for those using their cars.

It’s amazing how much interior space they’ve managed to fit into the Superb, and though it’s a relatively big car it doesn’t feel like one on the road. It’ll respond and handle just like any other well balanced car from the Skoda stable, and the latest revised model with its bold new exterior styling builds on Superb’s reputation for comfort and space.

The ride quality is very good, but then we were driving the cars on some super smooth Austrian country roads. The ones we encountered that did bear a passing resemblance to what we put up with in the UK didn’t unduly unsettle the two versions sampled – a 1.6 TDI 105ps and a 1.8 TSI160ps – so it should cope adequately here.

The lengthy route we were navigating was mapped into the sat nav so there was plenty time to appreciate the finer points of the Superb.

Equipment levels have been boosted on the new car – up to £1,150 worth of extra value, they say – but it still also has those neat little touches like the stowage space in the rear door for a brolly and a touch button on the estate’s rear door to close it automatically. A rear door which opens so high even I couldn’t bang my head on it.

The fact that Skodas continue to get better and better, particularly in the quality of the interiors, must be causing some anguished pencil snapping in boardrooms across the globe. And not only is it finished to a very high standard, you also get a lot for your money.

It goes on sale in the UK from July 17 this year, with four trim levels – S, SE, Elegance and Laurin & Klement. Prices for the facelift range start at a competitive £18,555 for the 1.4-litre TSI 125PS S hatch.

The top-of-the-range L & K Estate model costs £32,455 paired up with the 2.0 TDI CR 170PS DFP engine, 4×4 and 6 speed Direct DSG. Diesel versions start from £19,760 and the premium for the Estate over its hatch sibling is £1,125.

There are six advanced engine options on offer: three petrol and three diesel, with power outputs ranging from 105PS (1.6 TDI CR) to 260PS for that 3.6 V6 model. The engines are up to 19 per cent more economical than the previous generation units, and a fuel-efficient GreenLine III version has emissions of just 109g/km.

It retains unique features like that unique double tailgate you can use as either a boot or a hatch, and on the new model the Twindoor has a separate button for each action, and in the boot there’s a handy LED torch that recharges when the engine is running.

One of the options on the hatch version is a sunroof with integrated solar cells that helps force air to circulate inside the car and can lower the inside temperature by up to 25 degrees centigrade. Now that’s a cool option…..

Would I buy one? No, as I’m not in the market for a large, comfortable, pretty luxurious and well equipped hatchback or even estate. But if I was, I’d likley be reaching for the chequebook.

AT A GLANCE: Skoda Superb SE 1.8 TSI hatch ; £21,365; 1798cc direct injection, 160ps, 250Nm; 6 speed gearbox; Top speed 138mph, 0-62mph 8.2 secs; fuel – urban 30.1, extra urban 54.3, combined 41.5; CO2 158g/km; will it fit the garage? 4833/1817/1462 (l/w/h).

© 2013

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