It’s more sophisticated under the skin too, with lighter, stiffer underpinnings that have improved driving dynamics and efficiency, while also allowing for the fitment of extra hi-tech driving aids. The result is a very complete package that should prove likeable to live with. As Skoda points out, you’ll end up spending three years of your life in a car: important then, to choose the right one. If customer satisfaction surveys are to be believed, few Superb buyers ever doubt that they’ve done just that.
On the move, as ever in a Superb, the ride and refinement are exemplary. What’s changed though is the car’s dynamic demeanour. Thanks to the adoption of the Volkswagen Group’s lighter, stiffer MQB chassis, the car feels far more agile through bends you’ll be able to attack with a little more gusto thanks to sharper steering and a standard XDS+ Electronic Differential Lock that reduces understeer and improves stability as you turn. Under the bonnet, most drivers will want a TDI diesel, possibly the entry-level 1. 6-litre 120PS unit but more likely one of the 2. 0-litre TDI powerplants.
The 150PS unit, an engine capable of making 62mph from rest in 8. 8s, yet still returning 68. 9mpg on the combined cycle and 108g/km of CO2. If you want this kind of frugality with a bit more pace, then a 190PS version of this engine is also available and both these 2. 0-litre TDI variants are offered with the extra-cost option of 4WD. Those Superb drivers in search of petrol power have the choice of a couple of 1. 4-litre TSI derivatives at the foot of the range. These develop either 125 or 150PS, with the more powerful unit featuring clever ACT technology for more efficient returns. At the top of the line-up lie a couple of 2. 0-litre TSI derivatives that come only with the DSG auto gearbox that’s optional on other models. There’s a 220PS 2WD version and a flagship 280PS 4WD model.
The third generation Superb is a larger car than its predecessor, but that’s not the perspective you get from first glance. Somehow the Skoda looks more compact and agile than its predecessor and the previous model’s boxy, forgettable shape has developed into a stylish silhouette that Chief Designer Jozef Kabaň and his team evolved from their dynamic ‘VisionC’ concept car. Clean-cut lines, smoothly shaped surfaces and sharp edges have been integrated to create one of the most striking and elegant designs in the sector. It’s quite a turnaround.
From a side perspective you appreciate the flowing shape of the extended roofline and the extra length of the design, it’s 28mm longer in the hatch guise and 23mm longer if, like the majority of buyers, you choose the Estate bodystyle.
Take a seat behind the wheel, pausing as you enter to admire a classic Superb touch – an umbrella that sits in its own waterproofed compartment. Providing you avoid entry-level trim, it’s a standard feature and this time round, you’ll find it in each front door.
As the door closes with a reassuring ‘thunk’ and you take a seat inside, you find yourself in a cabin that’s simpler, cleaner and classier than before. This may not be quite a Mercedes S-Class for the masses but it’s still very nicely finished indeed.
Like all the latest Volkswagen Group products, the Superb’s centre console is dominated by a colour infotainment touchscreen, one either 5-inches, 6. 5-inches, or 8-inches in size, depending on the trim level or the options you select. Either way, it’s the clear and intuitive portal through which you access the usual stereo, phone and informational functions, plus of course the optional sat nav system. Most models get the screen with ‘Smartlink’ functionality which enables access to ‘Apple CarPlay’ and ‘Android Auto’ technology that’ll replicate all of your smartphone functions into the system, so use of your preferred apps and your favoured forms of social media will be no problem.
Take a seat in the rear, where you start to fully appreciate the benefit of the third generation model’s 80mm increase in wheelbase. The designers could have used this to further increase legroom but there wasn’t really any point given that in offering 157mm of space to stretch out, the previous model was already easily class-leading in this respect. As for what has changed, well elbow room has been improved, so it’s now easier to comfortably transport three adults over long distances than it would be in any other car in this sector.
And out back, get your stuff over the rather pronounced boot lip and you’ll find that the 625-litre space on offer is 39-litres bigger than you’d get from a Volkswagen Passat, 84-litres bigger than a Ford Mondeo and a huge 95-litres bigger than a Vauxhall Insignia.
Unfortunately, the cargo floor isn’t completely flat but it can be if you choose the Estate model and select the optional variable-height boot floor. In that Estate model, there’s a 660-litre boot that can be extended to 1,950-litres on demand.
At last, the Skoda Superb looks the part, making it easier than it's ever been to convince those whose automotive perspective is at least a decade out of date that a Skoda deserves a place on your shortlist if you're in the market for a Mondeo-segment medium-ranger.
It's a car that can do more than simply courteously court more mature buyers with a comfortably spacious laid back demeanour. Depending on the variant you choose, it can now offer Golf GTI performance, supermini-style economy or leather-lined luxury. It can drive itself in traffic, park itself and connect you to the internet. And, as a proposition, it's full of little practical touches that make life just that little bit easier.
This then, is a far more convincing flagship for Skoda's increasingly impressive model line-up, offering real luxury in an everyday package that, as I've been suggesting, is a huge step forward for loyal Superb drivers. If to date, you've not been one of them, then we'd understand why. We'd also suggest though, that it's time to look at this car with a fresh perspective. If you're looking in this segment, we think it's one you have to try.