The 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel isn’t the smoothest out there, sounding a bit gritty in the cabin even when it’s not under load, but it’s no louder than most rival diesels and it delivers easy torque-surfing across most of the rev range, saving the auto ‘box from the need to shuffle through the ratios too much.
When the DSG does shift, it generally executes it smoothly and into the appropriate gear at the right moment, making for properly laid-back progress. Having said that, it also throws in the odd unnecessary downshift and can be slow to respond when a downchange is needed to get up a steep incline.
It’s a bit more predictable in Sport mode, but using the paddles is the most satisfying way to thread the automatic Superb down a decent road, even at the moderate sort of pace that naturally suits this car.
The handling is just as unflappable as you’d expect. What with the new MQB platform and various other weight-saving measures keeping it from being quite as heavy as it looks, you can swing the Superb vigorously into a corner and enjoy neutral, composed manners.
In warm, dry conditions, the four-wheel drive system doesn’t make a dramatic amount of difference over front-wheel drive, other than to stave off understeer a bit more gamely, but knowing how effective this fifth-generation Haldex system is in other installations suggests that it’ll be great for pressing on unfazed through the mucky winter conditions that British buyers will want it for.
Our car came on adaptive dampers (optional on all but Laurin & Klement trim), which allow fairly pronounced body roll even in Sport mode, but more disconcerting is the amount of body float you get over undulating roads in the softer settings, with lots of loose vertical damping at the back in particular.
It’s so noticeable, in fact, that Skoda is already planning to alter the settings in Comfort mode to keep it tied down better - a change that will be rolled out in cars built from later this summer. For all that, ride in default Normal mode is settled and easy-going, apart from the odd unsettling mid-corner thump and shimmy.
The interior of the big Skoda feels anything but scrimping, despite the value factor that remains its trump card. Going for SE L trim, which gets the full 8.0in touchscreen with sat-nav, powered tailgate, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery and electrically adjustable front seats, will feel business class enough without paying the whacking £3620 extra for L&K trim.