What is it?
It’s an important sign of the times that Skoda reckons its new Superb iV plug-in hybrid (PHEV) will almost immediately account for around 30% of Superb sales in the UK, once deliveries of the saloon and estate models start in January.
The fact that the vast majority of Superbs go to fleets, combined with the news that the new models officially emit less than 40g/km of CO2, makes the iV ideal, statistically speaking, to become a keenly sought business car.
Which is ironic, because it also has impressive credentials as a great choice for private, enthusiast owners. The all-round excellence of other Superb variants is well known; what matters here is the extent to which the PHEV powertrain intrudes into a normal driving experience. The answer? It hardly intrudes at all. In fact, for those who love refinement and smoothness, this parsimonious petrol-electric setup will seem like a big step forward.
Like its close relative, the Volkswagen Passat GTE, the Superb iV is powered by a 154bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that's linked to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox with a 115bhp electric motor buried in its innards. Working together, the engine and motor yield distinctly meaty outputs of 215bhp and 295lb ft. Small wonder that the Superb iV has a brisk 0-62mph time of 7.4sec and a top speed of 139mph. In our test car, this lively performance is delivered for a spectacular official combined fuel economy of 156.9mpg and a measly CO2 output of 39g/km.
The presence of a 13kWh battery under the rear seats reduces space for the fuel tank, which now only holds 50 litres, but the combination of 30-35 miles of electric-only range and a generous, hybrid-assisted petrol range means the owner can depend on covering more than 550 miles between refills.
There are four trim levels, with prices starting at £31,970 (for the quite decently equipped SE Technology) and extending to £40,240 for the full-house Laurin & Klement. This looks especially good value beside rivals of the same size and quality.