The modular potential of VW’s MQB platform continues to surprise us. The Golf’s platform has been deployed beneath the new Superb, and although the finished Skoda may be only 23mm longer than its predecessor, its wheelbase has sprouted by a far more considerable 80mm.

Much of the additional length appears to have been concentrated in the voluminous boot, where Skoda claims the largest luggage compartment in the class, at 660 litres, which is 85 litres more than before with the rear seats up, and far more than offered by the latest generation Insignia Sports Tourer, Mondeo Estate and 5 Series Touring, and just bigger than the equally cavernous Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate. This is of particular benefit to the hatchback version, which offers an improved 625 litres as recompense to buyers for losing the aforementioned Twindoor boot access.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Editor-at-large
Sharp shoulder line adds definition to the Skoda Superb's bodywork and breaks up its visual mass

Ignoring its weight and complicated manufacturing process, the double-jointed hatchback wasn’t the old Superb’s prettiest feature, and its junking improves the normal hatchback’s appearance significantly. So do overhangs that were easily shrunk in the redesign, thanks to the MQB underpinnings.

The new Superb emerges as a better-proportioned model, helped no end by a lower front end and almost 50mm of additional width. Unlike rear leg room, which is said to remain constant, the greater width does transfer inside, with Skoda claiming additional elbow room for passengers in both front and back rows.

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Predictably, again because of the MQB’s cleverness, none of this comes with a weight penalty. Skoda suggests that a saving of 75kg separates the new Superb from the old. A proportional doubling of the high-strength steel content means the car is now 13 percent stiffer, too.

The suspension has been comprehensively reconfigured. The Superb’s front MacPherson struts may distinguish it from some upmarket rivals, but Skoda is keen to talk up the advantages of its new multi-link rear axle – another component made lighter than before.

The Superb’s handling response is helped along by the latest version of VW’s XDS+ electronic stability control system, a torque vectoring system that now activates at a lateral acceleration of just 0.15g to subtly brake the inside wheel when cornering. As an alternative to front-wheel drive, the Superb can also again be had with all-wheel drive on the more powerful engines; its adaptive torque split facilitated by a fifth-generation Haldex clutch.

Power comes from the broadest selection of engines yet offered with the Superb. All are four-pots and all – save the newly developed 277bhp version of the 2.0 TSI that replaces the venerable petrol V6 – are shared with Skodas elsewhere.

The 123bhp 1.4 TSI props up the range, but it’s the updated 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesels that dominate sales. The 2.0 TDI is available in 148bhp and 187bhp variants, both of which can be had with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. While the 118bhp 1.6 TDI is available in Greenline eco-efficient form.

The Superb will be the first Skoda to gain a plug-in variant, though not until 2019, when the car adopts the Passat GTE hybrid powertrain from the Czech brand’s parent firm. 

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