We get to grips with a new set of tyres as family car piles on the mileage.
As a staff photographer on a busy magazine like Auto Express, travelling long distances is an occupational hazard – and the Skoda is bearing the brunt of my busy schedule. Incredibly, our long-term Superb has racked up more than 10,000 miles since its last update in April!
No surprise, then, that the big family car has required some new rubber. I checked the front tyres recently, and saw they were getting close to the wear indicators, so I arranged a set of replacements.
The job of squeezing this into my hectic diary was made easier by Internet firm etyres.co.uk – it can come and fit new rubber on your driveway. So I simply clicked a few buttons online and waited for the technician to turn up at the agreed time.
Replacements for our Skoda’s 225/40 R18 Continental ContiSport Contact 2 tyres cost £137.70 each, including fitting. This took a couple of hours and the grip levels are now back to where they should be.
The car feels heavier going into tight corners, and traction in the wet is definitely better than it was. The only other cost I’ve incurred since my last report has been for a litre of oil at £16 – although this did highlight a quirk of the huge VW Group empire.
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The handbook states that only a VW oil is suitable for the Superb, so I visited my local dealer in Chelmsford, Essex – where the person behind the counter had absolutely no knowledge of the Czech brand.
I imagine one of Skoda’s own franchises would have been much more helpful, but I’ll have to wait to find out as the Superb has variable service intervals – and it isn’t due to make its next visit to the main dealer for another 4,000 miles!
As I explained in my last report, the car was damaged in a collision with a motorcycle courier. So since then I’ve been busy having the cracked tail-light lens fixed and the scratch on the rear bumper sorted.
What’s more, I’ve been able to solve the problem with the car’s Bluetooth set-up, which prevented me from connecting my mobile phone. Now, I can safely read text messages using the screen between the speedo and rev counter. All of my contacts can also be accessed on the main display, and I’m finding the scroll and search function useful. The speakers for the hands-free system work well and the multifunction steering wheel lets you keep both hands on the rim at all times.
Easily the biggest benefits of running the Skoda, though, are its refinement and interior quality. Every part of the car feels well made. The seats are supportive, while the dash is simply laid out, easy to use and finished with classy materials.There’s also enough legroom in the back for even the tallest passengers. And when they’re strapped into their child seats, my young daughters struggle to reach the front seats with their feet – any parent will tell you this is great news!
Other neat touches only serve to confirm the quality feel. I love the way the umbrella slides into a recess in one of the rear doors, while the sun blinds for the rear window handily stow on the parcel shelf.
So with its excellent refinement, great economy, spacious interior and punchy performance, our Superb is really living up to its name...
The Superb’s long-distance cruising ability is excellent, and for such a big car the fuel bills are respectable. However, I find one of the model’s main selling points – namely the two-way opening tailgate – a frustration. Its default setting is to open as a saloon, yet the hatchback mode is far more useful. You switch from one to the other by pressing two buttons, but the appeal of this party trick is starting to wear off.
- Dean Gibson: Senior sub-editor