Currently reading: Bangernomics best buys: Skoda Superb
There’s not a hint of aggression from Skoda’s exec barge - which suits our man down to the ground

Like any modern Skoda, the original Skoda Superb of 2001 was based on something else. It was essentially just a Volkswagen Volkswagen Passat, but what a wonderfully huge and useful saloon it turned out to be.

On the diesel side, there was a hardworking 1.9-litre four-pot and a 2.5-litre V6, while the petrols were 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre four-pots and a 2.8-litre V6. There was something of a light restyle in 2006 that smoothed the grille and lights and delivered a backlit dashboard.

Whether it is a Classic, Comfort or Elegance, there is a good level of kit. Look out for electrical issues and wear and tear (especially tired brakes and suspension), plus failing ECUs.

The second-generation Skoda Superb of 2008-2015 wasn’t just bigger and more handsome but really rather clever, too. The so-called Twindoor meant you could use a dinky bootlid or a tailgate to a cavernous hatch, depending on which button you press. And there’s an umbrella in the door, which is a novelty (but not a deal-breaker if it’s missing).

As before, there are loads of engine options. The turbo petrols are great, despite having a thirst for oil. I would go for the larger 1.8 and 2.0 fours, but the 3.2 V6 is a laugh if you don’t do big miles. Pick the 1.6 and 2.0 diesels if you do and want to get MPG in the high-40s.

Overall, it’s much more of a luxury experience, and SE trim delivers all the electricals you’re going to need. Most on the used market are diesels, and many have lived exciting lives, usually in the taxi business.

ABS sensor failure, DSG gearbox malfunction and haywire keyless entry are the main causes for concern. It’s superb by name and by nature, then, being practical and classy.

2007 Skoda Superb 2.5 V6 TDI Comfort 125,000 miles, £2000: This cheap later-model Mk1 has led a life, judging by its towbar, but it’s in decent Comfort trim so has electric most things. The diesel V6 is great for hard work and good mid-30s MPG. 

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2008 Skoda Superb 1.8 TSI Elegance 65,000 miles, £5390: This early Mk2 has a ULEZ-friendly petrol engine, a recent fresh MOT with no advisories, fresh brake discs and a full service history. Decent price, too. Worth considering.

Or try - 2013 Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI BMT Highline 115,000 miles, £5500: Some might say this is the real deal or maybe second best. It’s good value and a great spec, with the Bluemotion element delivering a remarkable 60mpg. Seems clean and tidy.

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Idol fancy - Vauxhall Monaro (2004-2006)

The Vauxhall Monaro was not a tepid Calibra resurrection but a full-on and incredibly exciting Australian import, built by Holden, with a 5.7-litre V8 from Chevrolet. This is a proper working-class supercar, because there’s little to it: basic suspension, few electronics beyond traction control and an explicit engine.

There weren’t many changes to the Monaro, although after a year on sale in 2005 it got a beefedup look with a bonnet scoop and twin tailpipes. The most significant upgrade was the terrifying VXR, which was even hairier with the V8 at 6.0 litres. 

Just two years after going on sale (it wasn’t a huge hit), the Monaro went out with a giant bang. The VXR was supercharged, and Vauxhall created a limited-edition VXR500. Models were still being registered in 2007 and slightly beyond.

What the Monaro doesn’t like is the British climate, so you do have to be on the lookout for rust. If you buy one, get it rustproofed. The engine is fairly bombproof, but oil, water and fuel leaks are a worry. 

Ultimately, a Monaro is easier and cheaper to look after than an Aston DB9, and likely to be rather rarer.

Buy now - Ford Fusion (2002-2012)

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The Fusion was essentially a Mk5 Fiesta on stilts, making it more practical. Its core buying group therefore turned out to be the hip-replacement generation, rather than the hip generation.

Both the 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrols are strong performers and good for 40mpg-plus, and the diesels will return more than 60mpg.

It’s best to aim for 2 trim, as this gets you air conditioning, electric front windows and a CD player, whereas 1 includes little more than ABS brakes and 3 adds only alloy wheels and an alarm.

Ideally buy from an OAP who has looked after it. A Fusion will often be in better nick than an equivalent-year Fiesta. Check when the timing belts have been changed on a diesel and the Durashift automatic gearbox can fail, so ensure it works smoothly.

2006 Ford Fusion 1.4 Style Climate, 58,000 miles, £2000: There are several ultra-low-mileage Fusions out there, which isn’t always a good thing. This one is a marginal miler for the year but more credible and has records of recent work, including a new timing belt and water pump plus a year’s worth of MOT. The clue is the name, but this Fusion spoils you with climate control.

Reader's corner - Find out what a car is really worth

Price guides don’t always work in a car seller’s favour. Ahead of book, behind book and all of that nonsense talk – what we actually need is accuracy. I spoke to Brego about its new system to help dealers and also a service to buyers, which starts at £9.99 and includes pricing and other information for cars that are as weird as TVRs.

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