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Skoda Superb: 19,231 miles

Fourth report: Whether we’re driving or being driven, family car is a star of our fleet..

  • The twin opening tailgate on the Skoda is more than just a gimmick. Initially, it can be fiddly to swap between hatchback and saloon modes, but once you’ve lived with it for a while, the operation becomes second nature. The huge tailgate makes the spacious Superb an excellent load carrier. It’s easily big enough to carry all my camera and car cleaning gear.
  • It’s hard to say – even after 10 months behind the wheel I have few complaints about the Skoda. In fact, I’ve already turned my attentions to what car will replace it – and I’m getting worried. Finding something with the Superb’s range of talents will take some doing, so the worst thing about it is that I’ll have to hand it back! And what’s more, I love the way the car looks – especially in silver.

Our long-term Skoda Superb is annoying to drive! Don’t get me wrong: I love spending time behind the wheel and can think of few bad things to say about it. So, what’s the problem?

It’s simply that I don’t get to spend much time in the back! I’ve mentioned the incredibly comfortable and spacious rear seats before, but I really have been missing a trick. While the Skoda brand doesn’t shout limo luxury or executive car calm, the Superb should change all that.

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Sat in the back, suited and booted, you feel every inch the big city tycoon. The clever design and long wheelbase mean you’re never short of legroom, and ride comfort is excellent. That makes the Skoda great for performing car-to-car photography for Auto Express, as keeping the camera still is vital. Refinement is also excellent and deteriorates only on the very worst road surfaces.

It’s not just the Superb’s back seats and sharp dynamics that have won me over. I’m also a big fan of the styling. I’ve really grown to appreciate the striking grille and imposing proportions.

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I particularly like the shape of the rear side windows – very similar to a Bentley Flying Spur’s – and the headlights, which are etched on the inside with the Superb name. And although it doesn’t look like a workhorse, all the Skoda’s qualities have been put to the test in recent weeks.

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I drive thousands of miles every month, but have been particularly busy of late. A trip to Anglesey in north Wales for our Performance Car of the Year shoot proved that the big Czech is perfect for long stints behind the wheel, yet it is also fun on twisty roads.

The diesel is economical, too. Even driven hard it’s returning an impressive 42.5mpg – not bad considering that it’s usually loaded with heavy camera gear.

The odometer reading has rocketed, and at 18,391 miles I booked the car into Preston’s of Writtle, Essex, for its first service. Luckily, nothing else was required and the total bill came to a very reasonable £126.57. For a car of this size and performance, I was impressed.

Variable servicing means the Superb will have left the Gibson home by the time it needs to see the inside of a workshop again. But I can see why Skoda performs so strongly in our annual Driver Power survey – it was awarded the overall manufacturer prize this year.

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The Superb hasn’t won over only myself and our readers, though. It’s also convinced our road testers. Its mix of value for money, comfort and practicality saw it take the Family Car trophy at our New Car Awards in last week’s issue.

This high-profile victory should encourage people who might not have bothered to check out the Superb. Add in the firm’s Driver Power victory for customer satisfaction, and it is a convincing package. So I doubt it will be long before I start to see a lot more people driving – or, if they are lucky, being driven in – a Superb.

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As with Pete, I’m a huge Superb fan. Its combination of space, refinement and quality is unbeatable at this price.

He and I don’t live far away from each other, and after a long, hard day on a road test, I’ve often wished I could get chauffeured home by our snapper in the back of his luxurious long-termer – so I understand exactly where he’s coming from.

And the more time I spend with the Skoda, the more its styling grows on me.

It’s not pretty, but distinctive and imposing in equal measure, which does the trick for me.

Owen Mildenhall Senior road tester

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