► Fleet-friendly Skoda Superb updated
► Small tweaks inside and out
► New diesel engine and tech refresh
With a name like Superb, you can only have high hopes for something with that much confidence. Luckily for Skoda, its largest model (that isn’t an SUV), has proven to be a hit and – in its latest form – very much worthy of its badge.
They haven’t changed much with the 2019 facelift car – at least viewed head-on – but that’s not really a bad thing when the pre-facelift car didn’t really need too much to improve a handsome design. There are some slightly tweaked LED lights and new foglights at the front and the car has had some more chrome thrown at it – and that’s about it for the nose.
At the back things are a bit more noticeable. The company’s familiar roundel has been lopped off and in its place there’s ‘S K O D A’ scrawled out across the tailgate above a full-width piece of chrome. Get used to this – future Skodas will have this look. There are also some new LED lights at the back with scrolling indicators.
Skoda’s also decided to make the Superb slightly longer (by 8mm) thanks to a new bumper.
Is anything else new?
The rest of the changes to the Superb are mostly related to tech. You can get the firm’s new Virtual Cockpit with what seems like 500,000 different configurations for screen views (probably best to flick through these when you’re at a standstill), a predictive cruise control system (responds to speed limit signs), Matrix LED headlights for the first time and an updated blind spot monitoring system.
There’s also new upholstery on most models with contrast stitching, as well as more chrome inside than before.
Finally, a new 2.0-litre TDI Evo engine joins the range, but later in 2019.
Is that new engine any good?
Yes. By no means is it exciting, but a car designed to sit on the motorway (82% of sales are to fleet customers) isn’t going to be. It’s thoroughly impressive at just getting the job done, and it should be applauded for that.
The 148bhp unit provides enough punch for getting up to speed easily, and the six-speed manual we tried is slick and easy to use – in fact it felt just as quick as a 2.0-litre TDI with 187bhp fitted with 4x4 and a DSG gearbox.
The DSG will be more popular than the manual, and just makes lighter work of longer journeys than the manual, but you won’t be left feeling disappointing with the manual. In fact, it’s what makes it feel nippier than the higher-powered DSG which can be hesitant and all too keen to pull away in second gear.
Other than that, there’s really very little to criticise this version about. It doesn’t drone on like many diesels do – the only thing you might find is you’ll be changing down one or two ratios when the revs drop to pick things up again, but overall it’s a torquey engine that pulls strongly.
What other engines can I have?
The rest of the Superb’s engine range is familiar, ranging from a 1.5-litre TSI up to a 268bhp 2.0-litre TSI, while the diesel line-up kicks off with a 1.6-litre TDI that’s probably best to avoid if you plan on loading your Superb up with passengers and luggage, while at the top of the diesel range is a 187bhp 2.0-litre.
Most engine combinations get a choice of manual or DSG auto gearboxes, while higher-output versions come with 4x4.
While the manual is slick, the Superb’s relaxed nature suits the DSG gearbox, so go for that.
Comfort is key
That relaxed vibe is what the Superb is all about. We’ve only tried versions of the latest model fitted with adaptive dampers, and in every single version it just floated over bumps and undulations in the road.
Left in Comfort, the wafty sensation can become a little too wafty – those prone to seasickness may struggle after a little while, but you can’t complain with the way the Superb deals with bad surfaces. It’s all just shrugged off with no drama, remaining very composed.
That doesn’t mean it feels particularly wayward as a result. The large body is well controlled when you do come to a bend, but you won’t be buying a Superb to fling it around bends. If you do want to do that, you can select Sport in the driving mode selection to firm up the suspension and weight up the steering, but you may as well just leave the Superb in Comfort or Normal models. It’s where it’s happiest and where you’ll be the most relaxed and comfortable.
Skoda Superb: verdict
If you’re covering thousands and miles, the efficiency of the new diesel engine will appeal – we easily managed over 50mpg on a mix of fast A-roads, town driving and motorway stints. Exact economy figures are still TBC, but this is expected to be strong performer.
While the manual gearbox does make it feel quicker than a DSG-equipped version, that self-shifter does make life a little easier if you’re spending hours on end behind the wheel.
As for spec, SE L comes with everything you could possibly want. Large infotainment screen, comfy Alcantara upholstery, useful driver aids and the huge acreage of the car’s interior – but that’s standard on any Superb.
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