Despite being the entry point into oil-burning Superb ownership, this 1.6-litre diesel motor is both surprisingly refined and a decent performer - considering its cubic capacity.
On cold start-up there’s minimal vibration through the foot pedals and the cabin. There’s still a gruffness to the engine note below 1400rpm when pulling away but it’s no louder than its rivals under the same conditions.
Getting up to speed is no issue in this Superb; keep the engine spinning between 1400rpm and 3000rpm and it’s possible to make adequately decent progress in an estate car that tips the scales at a not inconsiderable 1485kg.
It doesn’t feel particularly brisk when riding the torque band, but there’s enough poke to get comfortably up to a national speed limit cruise and stay there, with the needle registering just shy of 1900rpm in sixth.
However, when faced with slow-moving motorhomes and the like you really do need to plan an extra 100 yards or so in advance before darting out for an overtake. It's something you probably wouldn’t give a second thought to in this car's 148bhp 2.0 TDI bigger brother.
The six-speed manual gearbox is as you’d expect from a Volkswagen Group product, which means you get a shift with relatively short throw that’s well weighted and precise. It’s the type of gearshift that works with you when slotting home each ratio.
Pushing the Skoda into a bend does reveal some considerable body lean and the car’s size does make itself known, but there’s ample grip. Wheels are 17in alloys as standard on this variant.
The steering, while being fairly light in feel, is precise and consistent. It’s engaging enough to encourage a bit of confidence, albeit not quite in the same league as that of a Ford Mondeo.
On a fast, flowing A-road with deep undulations the Superb takes a fraction longer to settle than you might expect. It's not as planted as, say, a BMW 3 Series Touring, but it’s not what you’d call ruffled by any means.
The previous-generation Superb was vast inside, but this new model takes cabin space up a notch. Boot space for the estate has been increased by 85 litres over the outgoing model to 1950 litres with the seats down. In their upright position there’s a 660-litre boot space, which is even more than you get in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class estate.
Skoda’s tagline for the Superb is ‘Simply Clever’, and you can’t help but think it's bang-on when it comes to the interior. There’s more than enough head and leg room whether you’re sitting in the front or the rear, to the point where this 5ft 9in tester could relax on the back seat nearly fully stretched out.
SE trim comes generously equipped with dual-zone air-con, Bluetooth, a multifunction steering wheel, a 5.0in touchscreen infotainment system, DAB radio, rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control all standard. And it’s paired with the high perceived quality of the materials and switchgear we’ve come to expect from Skoda.