Skoda has been at the sharp end of motoring jokes for decades, but has cleverly sidestepped them to become the forward-thinking car brand it is now.
The new Superb Estate is the latest car in the marque’s PR offensive. Estate cars have always been more of a form-follows-function concept, but perhaps thanks to sister firm Audi, they are fast becoming a stylish and acceptable alternative to the non-PC 4x4s. These days you can get an estate with a Lamborghini Gallardo engine in the front, and that really is progress!
The first thing you notice about the Superb Estate is its classy looks. This car really does look the part, with a solid-looking profile and aggressive-yet-friendly face it aims to appeal to a new breed of buyer – the kind of buyer that wants to have the practicality of an estate and the looks of a sporty saloon.
It gets even better behind the wheel. We tested the 2.0 TDI DSG with 170bhp that will be one of the most popular in the range. The dash is well designed and easy to read and no-one can resist a smile as the dials swoop round and back again when the ignition is engaged.
The engine is smooth and packs enough punch to keep you entertained in a car of this size. And speaking of size, this thing really is huge! The Superb has the biggest boot in its sector, and enough legroom to keep the kids from kicking the backs of the nice leather seats.
It’s not all about that engine and space mind, there are lots of clever gadgets too. One of the most impressive is the electric opening boot.
Now that is clever. Although they wouldn’t be able to reach anything in the boot, you would need arms like an orangutang – there’s some serious danger of getting lost in there.
With rivals such as the Insignia, Mondeo and Laguna Estates, the value for money that the Superb offers is second to none. It will do everything that the others can, but better, quicker and with impressive build quality.
It’s just that stigma that prospective Ford, Vauxhall and Renault buyers will need to get over that will be the only real sticking point.
If you’re a Skoda dealer, you need to actively generate test drives with these people. It’s key to let them get their hands on the wheel and show them the array of options this Superb offers – that way they’ll be reaching for their credit cards soon enough.
In our eyes the Superb Estate is a real no-brainer. It’s got more legroom than an S-Class, it’s cheaper than a Vauxhall Insignia and prettier (we think) than a Mondeo. The Superb really is another huge step forward for Skoda, and riding the success of the company over the past few years, it tops the range off in complete style.
by DUNCAN CHAPPELL