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Skoda ushers in hybrid technology with its most emblematic model

Skoda will give us no fewer than 10 new electrified models between now and 2022, and it starts here, with the Superb iV plug-in hybrid.

Along with every other manufacturer that sells cars in Europe, the marque finds itself facing the imminent introduction of severe fines linked to average fleet emissions. This electrification strategy therefore has more to do with economics than altruism, but the application of Skoda’s utilitarian thinking to the type of cars that have traditionally struggled with the concept of ‘utility’ nevertheless sounds like good news to us at Autocar.

Any Superb is fantastically dull yet you can’t help but wholeheartedly buy into their utilitarian appeal. It’s hard to imagine one of these iV hybrids, in estate trim, wouldn’t improve the everyday motoring lives of almost anyone

In the case of the Superb iV, approximately £10 million has been spent adapting Skoda’s Kvasiny factory in the Czech Republic, where the car will be built exclusively. The facility is now geared up to handle and install numerous lithium ion batteries and electric drive motors, and to weld the new car’s unusual floor, which is just as well because the plug-in hybrid Superb is expected to make up one-third of sales almost from the moment it’s launched.

The battery pack itself is made two hours’ drive away at Skoda’s Mladá Boleslav plant, which provides the same service for other Volkswagen Group plug-in hybrids, such as the VW Passat GTE, and is where the all-electric Skoda Citigo-e iV will be constructed.

What, then, does success look like for this incipient generation of cleaner-driving Skoda models? The answer is normality. In this respect, the Superb provides an enviable starting point. Being spacious, comfortable, fine riding, economical on fuel and, perhaps above all else, priced aggressively against the opposition, it embodies the brand’s strengths better than any other model.

At less than £32,000, the iV hybrid would seem to play the price game smartly, but if it can meaningfully improve fuel efficiency and lower owners’ tax burdens – and do so with few or none of the usual hybrid drawbacks – it could be something special indeed.

The Superb line-up at a glance

Superb buyers are spoilt for choice when it comes to specification. In addition to hatchback and added-practicality estate bodystyles, there’s also a wide range of conventional petrol and diesel engines to choose from. Four-wheel drive is available, as is the plug-in hybrid iV model tested here.

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The trim line-up is familiar, starting at S and moving up through SE, SE L, SportLine Plus to Laurin & Klement.

Price £34,755 Power 215bhp Torque 295lb ft 0-60mph 7.3sec 30-70mph in fourth 9.0sec Fuel economy 45.0mpg CO2 emissions 35g/km 70-0mph 48m

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