Week at the wheel: Skoda Superb TDI 170

10 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Week at the wheel: Skoda Superb TDI 170

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Week at the Wheel | Skoda Superb TDI 170 |

Inside Out:

It’s not easy to make a car as big as the Skoda Superb look good; just ask Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi who have all faced this difficulty – with mixed success – over the last decade or so. Skoda has played things very safe; it’s a conservative, but modern shape. The long wheelbase and the proportions of the glasshouse dominate the profile and both are a giveaway to the primary function of the car – with a focus on the passengers in the rear.

Given the scale of the exterior proportions a spacious interior should be a given. However, the actual magnitude of the accommodation on offer, especially in the rear and the boot, still comes as a surprise. There are few cars at any price that offer such a roomy and comfortable cabin.

It’s worth noting that the clever ‘Twindoor’ rear hatch-cum-boot is particularly useful given the additional flexibility and accessibility it brings.

Engine Transmission:

We’re accustomed to the Volkswagen Group’s vast range of engines now and the Superb is available with a sensible range of them. Our test car was fitted with the latest 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, common rail turbodiesel. In real terms the 170bhp unit is as much engine as most owners would ever need given the relaxed nature of its delivery and the manners it exhibits. Only an excessive intrusion of turbo whistle into the cabin demerits the installation.

Many owners may opt for an automatic transmission – as per the Superb’s limo-type role – but the standard manual is a fine gearbox with a slick shift and well-spaced ratios offering a fine blend of performance and economy.

Ride Handling:

The Superb clearly has a remit as a comfortable luxo-barge and so it proves on the road. A long wheelbase translates into stable cornering – if not the last word in agility – and a ride quality that is both composed and assured. Motorway driving, as pilot or passenger, is comfortable and fuss free and only choppy broken surfaces tax the chassis; even then no flaw is evident in the damping or body control.

Equipment, Economy Value for Money:

The fact that a car offering the expansive space and luxury of the Superb can be found for a little more than Ј20k is amazing. In reality, 10 percent can be shaved off this figure by shopping around and for the price of a well specced Ford Focus a buyer can have what is, to all intents and purposes, a junior limousine. Sure, the badge will limit the ultimate leverage of the potential consumer base, but it’s not difficult to build the case for the Superb against much more expensive and illustrious marques.

Running costs will be minimal given the sound fuel economy and lengthy service intervals, while the build quality and engineering are robust enough to suggest longevity can be taken for granted. Given the low list price the absolute depreciation relative to other large saloons is likely to be less savage.

Overall:

A car of this ilk is the ultimate test of the Skoda brand. Some say a new marque may have been the way forward, but launching a new badge in the current economic climate would be both expensive and risky. In practical terms the Superb is a match for cars that cost a multiple of its list price.

It may lack the bells and whistles associated with some technical tours de force . but it could probably be considered a match for the previous generation of German range toppers in the majority of areas that count. Ignore this Skoda at your peril, and cost, because the Superb truly is just that.

Dave Jenkins – 27 Jul 2009

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