Yet that hasn’t stopped Skoda pulling the wraps off an all-new Superb that promises to be bigger, better to drive and offer more value than ever. More importantly, it aims to inject a dose of desirability by mixing eye-catching styling with an interior that rivals premium brands for quality and design.
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This push upmarket hasn’t come at the expense of Skoda’s reputation for value, though. Prices start at £18,640, while the 2.0 TDI SE Business tested here is £22,090. Factor in the low emissions and long list of kit, and it has considerable appeal.
However, before Skoda can celebrate, the Superb must go head-to-head with the latest VW Passat, which went straight to the top of the class on its debut earlier this year.
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Featuring classy yet understated looks, a top-notch interior and sharp driving dynamics, it sets new standards in the sector. It’s also really cheap to run, particularly for the business users who make up the vast majority of big saloon sales. So which is the family car king?
Click the links above to read individual reviews, and scroll down to see which car comes out on top...
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The previous Superb was the most spacious car in the family class, and the new model retains that crown. While the Twindoor layout’s been replaced by a hatch tailgate, it opens to reveal a maximum 1,760-litre capacity. The Skoda has 30mm more rear legroom than the VW, too. Yet the four-door Passat is still a roomy, versatile choice.
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Both cars get halogen headlamps as standard, but the Superb can be specified with £1,295 bi-xenons with distinctive LED running lights. For £710, you can fit your Passat with full LED lamps that feature distinctive ‘sweeping’ indicators. A £1,205 Premium LED upgrade adds dynamic cornering function.
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Superb emits slightly more CO2 than the Passat, at 108g/km, but lower list price means it’ll cost higher-rate earners £239 a year less in Benefit in Kind. However, VW has just announced a 95g/km Passat BlueMotion, while a sub-100g/km Superb is coming, too.
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We always knew it would take something special to topple the Passat; we just didn’t expect a new star to arrive so soon. The latest Superb delivers the same unrivalled practicality and value, but it now adds head-turning style and an upmarket interior to the mix. It’s also supremely comfortable, good to drive and loaded with cutting-edge kit. This new model is Superb by name and nature.
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Make no mistake: the Passat is still a fine family car choice. It’s sharp to drive, practical, beautifully built and, in SE Business guise, comes with all the kit you’re likely to need. The four-door body isn’t as practical as the Skoda’s hatchback layout, but it features more than enough space for most growing families. However, it looks expensive next to the Superb.
Price: £23,900 Engine: 1.7-litre 4cyl, 139bhp
Recently revised i40 looks as sharp as ever and comes loaded with kit, while its 1.7-litre diesel features a boost in power. It isn’t as composed to drive as the Superb, but it’s great value and backed by a five-year warranty.
Price: £23,995 Engine: 2.2-litre 4cyl, 148bhp
If you value driving thrills above all else, the punchy, sharp-handling Mazda 6 should be at the top of your list. It also looks great, is attractively priced and comes with plenty of kit. However, it’s not as roomy as rivals.
|Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI SE Business||VW Passat 2.0 TDI SE Business|
|On the road price/total as tested||£22,090/£22,090||£25,240/£25,240|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||N/A||£11,535/45.7%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£837/£1,675||£957/£1,914|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,285/£2,142||£1,394/£2,324|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||19/£598/B/£20||19/£598/B/£20|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£139/£259/£139||£288 (2yrs)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,968cc||4cyl in-line/1,968cc|
|Peak power/revs||148/3,500 bhp/rpm||148/3,500 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||340/1,750 Nm/rpm||340/1,750 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||6-spd man/fwd||6-spd man/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||66 litres/foam||66 litres/space saver|
|Boot capacity||625/1,760 litres||586/1,152 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||11.1 metres/N/A||11.7 metres/N/A|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (60,000)/1yr||3yrs (60,000)/1yr|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||Variable/135||Variable/223|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||3rd/4th*||22nd/31st*|
|0-60/30-70mph||8.7/8.0 secs||8.7/7.7 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||3.8/6.5 secs||3.5/6.1 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th||7.3/9.8 secs||7.5/10.2 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||135mph/1,850rpm||136mph/1,850rpm|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||51.3/11.4/745 miles||47.3/10.5/687 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||148/108g/km/19%||160/106g/km/19%|
|Auto box/stability/adaptive cruise ctrl||£1,400/yes/yes||£1,600/yes/yes|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||Yes/£200/£250||£595/£1,795/£280|
|Met paint/xenon lights/keyless go||£360/£1,295/£400||£540/£955^/£395|