Sub­tle tweaks help to keep Skoda’s Su­perb su­perb

Gloucestershire Echo - - TEST DRIVE - By DAVID WARD

I T’S al­ways hard for a car maker to give a suc­cess­ful model any sig­nif­i­cant facelift with­out spoil­ing things – as the old say­ing goes why change a win­ning for­mula?

Skoda clearly faced this dilemma when try­ing to im­prove the al­ready im­pres­sive Su­perb - but when the third gen­er­a­tion model goes on sale in Septem­ber some may think there are no changes at all.

There clearly are though although on first glance from the out­side they look mi­nor.

Sub­tle tweaks to the grille along­side new fog lights and a new Ma­trix LED light de­sign are at the front while at the back the Skoda let­ter­ing now stretches right across the length of the boot lid.

The Su­perb, again avail­able as ei­ther a hatch­back or es­tate, was al­ways recog­nised as one of the most stylish look­ing large fam­ily cars around and this gen­tle facelift will only ac­cen­tu­ate its ap­peal.

In­side, the changes are also quite sub­tle with more chrome fin­ishes along with new dig­i­tal in­stru­ments but re­ally the in­te­rior re­mains as plush and com­fort­able as be­fore with plenty of head and leg room in the front and rear seats.

As be­fore there is a range of six trim lev­els and a com­bi­na­tion of tur­bod­iesel and petrol en­gines although the much an­tic­i­pated first ever hy­brid pow­ered Skoda won’t ar­rive un­til early next year.

The main fo­cus in the mean­time is the new 2.0-litre 148bhp Evo tur­bod­iesel en­gine which of­fers re­duced emis­sions and over­all bet­ter fuel con­sump­tion es­pe­cially when mated to a seven-speed du­al­clutch au­to­matic gear­box.

While this may not of­fer driv­ers an en­thralling sporty per­for­mance, the two key fac­tors that will im­me­di­ately be ap­pre­ci­ated by any driver is how quiet and smooth it is out on the road – much bet­ter than with the pre­vi­ous diesel en­gine.

In­side the cabin there’s no au­di­ble trans­mis­sion noise, even when ac­cel­er­at­ing hard from a stand­ing start, while wind and tyre noise is also non-ex­is­tent. The same goes for the large wing mir­rors.

The DSG box is one of the smoothest around with up and down changes quick and quiet – all help­ing to make this lat­est Su­perb even a bet­ter long dis­tance cruiser than its im­me­di­ate pre­de­ces­sor.

The sus­pen­sion has changed lit­tle and here again it soaks up rough road sur­faces with ease and han­dling is to­tally im­pres­sive.

For those want­ing a lit­tle more in per­for­mance driv­ers can switch the driv­ing mode from nor­mal or com­fort into sport which im­me­di­ately ad­justs the dampers and gives a slightly more sporty re­sponse. Among the ex­tra new tech­nol­ogy on board are driver as­sis­tance sys­tems such as cruise con­trol that can al­ter the car’s speed au­to­mat­i­cally by read­ing the road signs ahead – a clever fea­ture that’s could be a vi­tal safety aid at times.

Although Skoda has to fi­nalise fi­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tion and ex­act prices of the new Su­perb it is ex­pected to range from be­tween £24,655 and £40,695 with all-wheel-drive avail­able on the more pow­er­ful 2.0-litre petrol and diesel en­gine ver­sions.

Be­fore the end of the year a new 1.5-litre turbo petrol en­gine will be added to the range be­fore the ar­rival of the hy­brid.

The Su­perb may still be more pop­u­lar with fleet buy­ers than ev­ery­day mo­torists but it should now at­tract more pri­vate buy­ers.

As a large fam­ily car the sub­tle changes have re­ally im­proved the Su­perb and its ex­cep­tion­ally roomy in­te­rior is now em­bel­lished with an out­stand­ingly com­fort­able ride.

In my book, the new 148bhp tur­bod­iesel model in SE-L trim would be the best buy. In es­tate form it is go­ing to be priced around £31,000, has a 0 to 60 time of 9.2 sec­onds, tops out at 132mph and with emis­sions of around 115g/km can man­age around 50 to the gal­lon.

Those are the sort of in­gre­di­ents any driver would want and fac­tor in the car’s good looks, its com­fort and over­all re­fine­ment and Skoda is on to another win­ner.

Fac­tor in the car’s good looks, its com­fort and over­all re­fine­ment and Skoda is onto another win­ner

It’s hard to im­prove on a win­ning for­mula the Skoda Su­perb.

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