What is it?
It would be easy to consider the sheer size of the 4.8-metre long Skoda Superb estate, match it to thoughts of a 104bhp turbodiesel engine and assume that the performance compromise would be too great regardless of economy.
Not so. As it turns out this Skoda Superb estate Greenline II, which actually weighs a respectable 1471kg despite its size and now gets the 1.6-litre common rail diesel and five-speed manual, is arguably one of the most relevant real-world cars on sale.
What’s it like?
Performance is a little on the tardy side. Set off in the Greenline Superb and until the turbo kicks in fully it’s evident that this is a low-powered engine towing a big car. It’s the same story if you pull out into the fast lane expecting a quick response to a stamped throttle. It will pull, but rather lazily, so you have to think ahead.
Despite this, the Superb is not an unpleasant car to drive. Keep the engine in its comfort zone, enjoy the solid gearshift and well-judged steering and it flows along nicely and with a decent enough level of performance for normal motoring.
The cabin is refined and comfortable and despite the body being lowered by 15mm to improve aerodynamics, the suspension does a good job of soaking up the flaws in the road surface, while keeping body movement under control.
There is no denying that the 138bhp and 168bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesels make for better driver’s cars than the Greenline. But the merits of a car that has limousine levels of passenger space, well-finished cabin, an enormous boot and yet will cost £30 to tax for the year, has a claimed combined economy of 64.2mpg (low 50s are more likely going by the results of our varied test route), and emits just 114g/km are very clear. Company car users will be even more tempted with benefit in kind at just £52 per month.
Should I buy one?
Most buyers will opt for the more flexible 138bhp diesel, and so should you if you regularly carry a full complement of people and luggage. But if you have less taxing motoring in mind and you just want a big, relaxing and enjoyable but affordable way to travel, this is a great option.
It feels a class above most of the cars you can get at this price in terms of size, and more importantly it doesn’t feel like you’re making any significant sacrifices for its frugal ways. It’s an excellent way to travel - the running costs are just a bonus.
Skoda Superb Estate Greenline II Elegance
Price: £24,040; Top speed: 119mph; 0-62mph: 12.6sec; Economy: 64.2mpg; CO2: 114g/km; Kerb weight: 1471kg; Engine type: 4cyls,1598cc, turbodiesel; Power: 104bhp at 4400rpm; Torque: 184lb ft at 1500-2500rpm; Gearbox: 5spd manual