First Drive

First Drive: Skoda Superb

The story: It’s mid-life spruce-up for Skoda’s flagship five-door and estate, with subtle styling changes, improved kit and technology
Category:Upper Medium
Key rival:Vauxhall Ensignia
Efficiency:48.7 mpg
On sale:Now

The Superb has long been a Skoda gem, offering much more interior and boot space than any of its rivals, as well as clever features, good cabin quality and a fine driving experience.

None of that changes with the mid-life revision of a car that isn’t in need of any major surgery to help its popularity, so the focus has been on subtle improvements.

Front and rear are the most obvious places of change, with shallow headlamps, a remodelled radiator grille and new bumper all present, the larger bumper lengthening the car by 8mm.

First Drive- December 2019- Skoda Superb- Image 2At the back, Skoda geeks will spot that the tailgate now features the brand’s name, replacing the round badge that has been removed from a bootlid that also features a new chrome strip between the new LED light clusters.

Tech coming to the Superb for the first time includes full-matrix LED headlamps, predictive cruise control that uses camera and GPS data to decrease speed when approaching bends, and side assist, alerting the driver to vehicles in other lanes approaching at up to 70 metres behind. The revised Superb will also welcome a plug-in hybrid version to the range in 2020.

Inside, there are new chrome inserts and ambient lighting, along with seating upgrades depending on the specification level. But what remains is the most spacious cabin in the class, for rear passengers and for luggage.

First Drive- December 2019- Skoda Superb- Image 1But the price is also clear of some rivals, with our CCT100 Upper Medium Award-winning Vauxhall Insignia coming in significantly cheaper, as is Ford’s Mondeo. The likes of the Mazda 6 and Peugeot 508 are also slightly cheaper than the Skoda.

However, all of this merely illustrates how far Skoda has come, and that it’s now far from a budget choice. The car certainly stands up to such price scrutiny, and also offers a residual value that outpoints any of the rivals mentioned here, helping keep the cost-per-mile figure competitive. As does the automatic gearbox fitted to the 190hp diesel driven here, which allows the Superb to beat all bar the Peugeot among its self-shifting peers at 117g/km.

Paul barker

The verdict

Still excellent, Skoda’s flagship Superb has had a mild improvement and subtly improved styling, but all the bits that make it such a good company car are wisely unfettled.