Skoda Superb Estate 280 4x4

Another European jaunt – and another admirer – for the Skoda

- Jethro Bovingdon (@Jethrobovi­ngdon)

THE MIGHTY M5 CS DESERVED A rest. Two European adventures in the space of just a few weeks – one of which included a couple of laps of the Nürburgrin­g – and a correspond­ing spike in evo’s fuel costs meant I was ‘relegated’ to the Superb Sportline Plus for a recent trip to Spa-francorcha­mps. To be honest, I didn’t feel hugely hard done by! There’s something inherently cool about the Superb’s functional­ity, and with 276bhp, four-wheel drive and a dualclutch ’box it is perfectly suited to a long, quick drive across northern France and into Belgium.

And that’s pretty much how it played out. The Superb is almost absurdly comfortabl­e, quiet too, and although it looks a little bit drab inside it’s a real quality item. Even better, Skoda seems to have escaped the touchscree­n nightmare of many other VW Group cars and so you can, for example, change the temperatur­e of the climate control without wanting to crash the car into a tree, jump out and set it on fire in frustratio­n. Just turn a rotary dial. Incredible.

Even on such a Superb-suitable journey there are some frustratio­ns, though. For me the ‘Sportline Plus’ tag is pushing it a bit. Ultimate performanc­e is impressive and the Superb can be hustled along at a decent lick, but in normal driving it feels incredibly reluctant to get going at all. The gearbox programmin­g in Comfort mode is swung so far in the direction of economy you often feel like at least 200bhp has gone missing. It’s deeply frustratin­g and, at times, pretty disconcert­ing. Entering a busy roundabout from a standstill in what feels like fifth gear is not ideal. Sport mode or selecting gears manually on the paddles is a necessity.

Similarly, the chassis is very, very soft unless you ramp up the modes. It floats over big undulation­s and the car feels lazy and heavier than it is. Select the most aggressive setting and the ride becomes noticeably firmer, which is promising, but the increase in body control isn’t really commensura­te with the degradatio­n in ride quality. I suppose this is why this car isn’t a full VRS. Of course, this mostly isn’t an issue on the autoroutes towards Spa…

The Superb was fantastic for the demands of this particular journey and on the days before and after it proved to be the perfect family car. It’s huge inside but has quite a narrow build so doesn’t feel overblown and is easy to thread between parked cars on the school run, for example. It’s just so fit for purpose you can’t help but admire it. I’d like it to feel more sporty and hence a bit more special for the asking price, I’m baffled by the gearbox programmin­g and it’s no M5 CS. Which goes without saying. Overall though, the big Skoda is one of those cars that’s just lovely to have around.

Date acquired December 2022 Total mileage 12,709 Mileage this month 1621 Costs this month £0 mpg this month 37.1

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