How do you define luxury? Space? Quality materials? Comfort?
The dilemma is whether a car carrying the Skoda badge – now respected, if not yet revered – can truly carry off a luxury car tag. Going by senses alone, it’s hard not to argue that it can.
The Superb’s chunky lines and heavy-set rear end have always made its styling an acquired taste, but it wears Skoda’s new family face well and looks a little more pert about the rump, too. Sharper creases to the body, particularly around the nose, bring it a little closer to the new Octavia and Rapid.
Importantly, it looks expensive. Some might argue that it really is expensive too, for a Skoda, but it’s probably a little more affordable than the styling leads you to believe.
This is true of the interior too, to a point. Everything is laid out logically, all the regular contact points are swathed in soft materials like leather and alcantara – in our Elegance-spec car at least, not the ‘S’ pictured – and even the tallest of drivers and passengers will find enough space in both the front and rear seats.
Some interior plastics fall short of the level you’d find in a Volkswagen or Audi, but these are easy to overlook as Skoda has got all the basics spot-on. Equipment levels are high too – Skoda says each model offers 1,500 of extra value over the car it replaces.
It’s hard to find fault with the way the Superb drives. The 1.8 TSI engine tested here is smooth and suitably powerful, with 160 horses at your disposal.
The twin-clutch DSG auto gearbox hangs onto gears perhaps a little too long under hard acceleration, but it does make for relaxing progress and respectable economy, just shy of 40 mpg. A manual is available if you opt for SE trim, but minor flaws aside DSG is preferable to DIY, suiting the car’s easy-going character better.
Skoda’s tweaks included a small diet for the Superb, and a kerb weight around 1,433 kg isn’t actually too lardy for a car of this size. If anything it feels heavier than this, particularly on twisty roads, but conversely this feeling of solidity gives it unflappable motorway manners, surely the Superb’s true home.
The ride quality is also good, even on the larger alloy wheels found on higher-spec models. Admittedly, the Austrian roads of our test would have put the proverbial billiard table to shame, but little fazed the Superb on the few bumps we come across.
Price as tested: 25,615
Combined MPG: 39.8
CO2: 162 g/km
So is the Skoda Superb a luxury car? That’s still open to interpretation, but it’s certainly a good approximation of one. You’d have to look to long-wheelbase versions of respected luxury models to find another vehicle with similar rear-seat space to the Superb, and they’d struggle to match the Superb’s comfort levels too.
The Skoda Octavia’s recent increase in size and quality might make you question spending thousands more on the Superb, but the extra space and comfort of the larger car, plus its value over true luxury rivals, is still enough to justify putting a Superb on your driveway.
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