Big on space value and

NZ Autocar - - Diven -

Just how far can these mod­u­lar plat­forms be stretched? It’s hard to fathom that cars from mi­cro minis to large fam­ily wag­ons could spring from a sin­gle chas­sis con­cept, but it’s true. Well, sort of. VW’s MQB plat­form is re­ally one clever con­struc­tion con­cept that saves money and build time thanks to its com­mon­al­ity across the most com­plex part of the chas­sis, that be­ing the bits up front. Com­mon to all MQB cars is the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the axle line, en­gine place­ment and pedal box, but the rest can be fairly vari­able. It re­places three pre­vi­ous plat­form con­cepts and cur­rently the largest car built off it is the new Su­perb. But still it’s hard to com­pre­hend that some­thing this big could in any way be re­lated to the Golf. Also dif­fi­cult to di­gest is the weight sav­ings of the MQB build strat­egy; this big Su­perb is re­mark­ably light on its rub­ber feet, weigh­ing just un­der 1500kg. And that helps de­liver more of the good stuff in per­for­mance and econ­omy terms, and also the sub-$50k price of this well spec­i­fied TSI 132 en­try model.

Some weren’t too kind about the styling of the new Su­perb. ‘You should have seen the old one,’ I said, but we reckon the big Skoda is much im­proved, with re­duced over­hangs, a stronger char­ac­ter line, and a ti­dier nose. Over­all, new Su­perb is only a lit­tle longer, but there’s some 80mm added be­tween the wheels to ben­e­fit mainly lug­gage space, some­thing you can never have enough of in a wagon. The cargo hold now mea­sures 619L un­der the cover, and even more if you jam ev­ery­thing up to the roofline. The space is long, deep and wide but the load bay cov­ers are bulky, and best re­moved if pil­ing lots of stuff in. While the seat folds 60/40, a 40/20/40 ar­range­ment would have been prefer­able, and one that folded com­pletely flat too. There’s still oo­dles of leg stretch­ing space in the rear. The new car is 50mm wider too, which gives ev­ery­one a lit­tle more el­bow room.

Cabin fin­ish­ing is first rate, with a wealth of soft plas­tics, pi­ano black de­tail­ing (though it tends to high­light fin­ger­prints) and suede and leather trim. The touch screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is eas­ily nav­i­ga­ble, quick to re­spond and, paired with a use­ful trip com­puter, they pro­vide ev­ery­thing you re­ally need. For those do­ing plenty of miles, the seat com­fort and sup­port are about right, with just enough ad­just­ment (elec­tric too) to help find a good driv­ing po­si­tion.

Also mak­ing it more agree­able is the Su­perb’s gen­uinely downy ride qual­ity which is great for main road cruis­ing. How­ever, it’s too slow in the re­bound and so it can get floaty on bumpy back roads. The steer­ing, other than be­ing some­what light, di­rects the front around smartly and while the Su­perb is not ex­actly nim­ble it doesn’t mind switch­ing di­rec­tions, though there’s a fair de­gree of ac­com­pa­ny­ing roll. But on the main high­way, with the cruise set, this eats up miles in a very re­laxed fash­ion. And it’s quiet too with min­i­mal road noise and hardly a peep from the en­gine.

While we couldn’t meet the claims for the Su­perb, a sub nine-sec­ond run to 100km/h is ac­cept­able, es­pe­cially given it re­turned 7.0L/100km on a trip fully laden from the big

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