What is it?
A mid-cycle refresh of the venerable Skoda Superb, beloved by fleets, business users and minicab firms alike but largely ignored by private buyers.
Perhaps that’s a touch harsh, but the figures speak for themselves: of the roughly 8500 Superbs that rolled off forecourts last year in the UK, 83% are said to have been supplied to the fleet sector. Skoda isn’t ashamed of that, and nor should it be.
Five years ago, you would have been able to say with a healthy degree of certainty that if your neighbour, Mike the Area Manager, proudly announced that he would be receiving one as a sparkly new company car to help him nail his KPIs, your first experience of it would be the unmistakable clatter of its diesel engine emanating through your kitchen window.
But times are changing and the diesel mix of fleet and private cars alike is dropping off. The Superb mix is down to 66% oil-burners this year - still the dominant fuel but falling away. There’s every reason, then, that a user-chooser might look towards this 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine instead.
That engine joined the Superb range very late last year, but for 2019, there’s also some mild visual updates: a lightly redesigned front end, new matrix LED headlights, extra chrome all round, ’Skoda’ spelled out across the bootlid, as has become the fashion, and a couple of new colours.
The interior tweaks are even more minor, centring around a new infotainment screen design and the addition of the firm’s Virtual Cockpit digital instruments as an option. But there’s now also a suite of more advanced safety systems, including predictive cruise control that reads road signs and an emergency assist function for multi-lane roads that's claimed to be able to steer you out of the path of a stationary car in front if it can’t brake in time.