New Skoda Superb hatchback - Superb by name, superb by nature
The 2015 Skoda Superb was one of the most hotly anticipated new cars of this year, and for good reason – not only did it have a great platform to begin with having always been an outstanding value family saloon, but also because of the exciting improvements that have been taking place across the entire Skoda range over the last few years.
If there was any slight trace of that budget brand image remaining, then this will surely be the car to wipe that out once and for all, because the new model is stunning.
The previous one got a bit of flack for the odd-looking rear, but that is gone now, as is the old 'Twindoor' system which allowed you to open the boot in both hatchback and saloon style. It's now strictly a hatchback and the silhouette looks all the better for it.
The improvements inside the cabin are just as impressive, and it feels as upmarket now as any premium saloon – with lots of high-quality, soft touch materials, and a simple, clever layout out.
In fact, being 'simply clever' is what Skoda prides itself on and there's loads of nice little features in the car that illustrate that further; for example the extra grip cupholder that allows you to open a bottle with a single hand, two umbrellas hidden neatly inside the front doors, an ice-scraper in the fuel cap, velcro boot dividers to help separate your shopping and a handy magnetic torch for any late night emergencies.
So while these are some of the little things that make the Superb clever, there are a few more compelling reasons that make this car stand out, most noticeably the vast amount of space available in every direction. It offers more rear legroom than any other car in this market, and tops the class for headroom too, meaning backseat passengers will enjoy limousine like luxury.
The boot is also not only the largest in the class by quite some distance, but actually larger than some in the class above it at 625 litres. Dropping the rear seats will almost treble that again and leave you with enough space to rival a small van.
In terms of spec, while there is a well-equipped entry level Active trim, Skoda predict the mid to high spec models will be the best sellers and that makes perfect sense when you look at the amount of gadgets and luxury you can get for the same price as some more expensive, yet smaller rivals.
Some of the standard features on these models are usually reserved as optional extras even in the premium market and include bi-xenon headlights, heated seats, parking sensors, and some very impressive infotainment systems.
There is a touchscreen as standard on the ambition model upwards and the quality of the infotainment improves as you move up the trim levels. The high-spec Style model comes with the top of the line 8 inch Columbus system which also acts as a reversing camera, a feature that will definitely come in handy as it is quite a substantial car.
While you do feel some of that bulk on the road, it's never heavy or awkward and on the plus side it's extremely comfortable, and extremely quiet. You won't pay for the extra space in the running costs either – the claimed fuel economy for the 2.0l TDI with 190 BHP is almost 70 miles to the gallon, which even if you only get reasonably close to is astonishing for the size of the car. The environment won't pay either thanks to low carbon emissions of just 106g/km, placing in motor tax band A at just €190 a year.
Other engine options include an entry level 1.6 diesel and a slightly lower-powered 2.0 litre version with 150 brake horse power, as well as two petrol options in the 1.4 and 2.0 TSIs.
It's been called one of the most impressive cars of the year so far and it's not hard to see why – it's rare to find a car that stands out and leads the class in so many key areas, at a price point that should rightfully have buyers in the premium segment wondering exactly what it is they're paying all that extra money for.