Skoda tweaks Superb

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Skoda’s Superb has been restyled, given a bit of polish inside and had the engines tweaked for better efficiency.

Therefore the formula’s not radically different to what we’ve become accustomed to. If you want space but don’t want a cumbersome large SUV or MPV, this could be just the ticket.

Not too much has changed in the way the big Skoda goes down the road. Some attention has been paid to efficiency, so you’re going to enjoy better range than before but as far as handling and performance go, there’s not a lot of big news here. Details? The 2.0-litre TDI 140PS diesel engine now features a manual transmission in the 4x4 version. Additionally, the 2.0-litre TDI 170PS 4x4 diesel now comes with a six-speed DSG dual clutch transmission. Most Superb buyers will stick to the front-wheel drive chassis and the continuing theme is one of good ride quality and refinement, helped by that long wheelbase and some excellent aerodynamics.

On the road, though the Superb has always felt big, we’ve found that after a few miles it shrinks around you. The controls are light and accurate and the whole car really feels solid. What it isn’t is particularly sporty to drive, but then if you’re after that, then this Skoda is unlikely to be on your shopping list in the first place. Most people choose the downsized engines these days, which means turbocharged 1.4 and 1.8-litre petrol powerplants and 1.6-litre diesels, although you can go bigger if you need more torque.

The Superb is one of the most subtle big saloons you can buy and although the latest set of changes has added a bit of tinsel, they don’t change the low key feel. Both front and rear have been redesigned, with the front completely changed to the windscreen pillars. The front end features a significantly wider grille as well as redesigned headlights. Available for the first time in the Superb line-up are bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights.

The Skoda Superb looks better than ever, is more polished inside and backs that up with ever better efficiency measures. Is that enough to punt it to the forefront of the public’s attention? Probably not. If people want space and they’ve got twenty-odd grand to spend, they usually opt for a seven-seater SUV or MPV. The big hatchback or estate car is increasingly filling a bit of a niche. Still, as many manufacturers have proven, being the best in a specific niche is good enough and there’s little doubt that at this price point it’s hard to buy better than the Skoda Superb if you’re really not after a 4x4 or a people carrier.

In fact, after considering the Superb’s merits, unless you really need those sixth and seventh seats it’s quite easy to make a case for. It rides and handles better than any comparatively-priced SUV or MPV we can think of, it’s elegantly understated and it makes sense on the balance sheet as well. Some may still baulk at paying serious money for a Skoda but we aren’t living in the 1980s any more. Things change.