Credit must be given to Skoda for making the Superb’s cabin a more upmarket, well-equipped and materially pleasing place in which to travel, but your primary motivator for buying the car is still likely to be space.
In either hatchback or estate bodystyles, this is a big family car in the truest sense. The previous version had celebrated quantities of leg room and boot space, but this one emphatically completes the picture.
Although previous Superbs have been long but disproportionately narrow cars, our tape measure confirms the presence here of a wider interior across the second row of seats than either a Mondeo or a Passat – both rivals deserving recommendation as relatively spacious models.
In the cargo bay – and never has the term been more accurately applied to a volume-brand estate car – you’ll find significantly more carrying space than those rivals, the Skoda’s advantages measurable in inches rather than millimetres. The hold is both long and deep. You get up to 820mm of loading height, whereas a Mondeo wagon provides fully 120mm less.
As for width, the Superb’s load bay could actually be more generous, but removing the covers on the two side cubbies just inside the main aperture would allow you easily to accommodate a couple of sets of golf clubs crossways.
But here’s the catch: all that space could have been made even more usable. Amazingly, on all Superbs, remote seatback release latches at the boot opening is an optional extra, while cargo netting, a retractable parcel shelf and variable boot floor are options on all grades of the estate, while a powered tailgate is only available on SE L Executive and Laurin & Klement trimmed cars. The folding second-row seatbacks are split 40/60 – the wrong way around, we’d argue, for optimal carrying practicality in a right-hand-drive car – and a 40/20/40 split isn’t offered on the options list. There’s also nowhere on board to stow the load bay cover once you’ve removed it.
All of which, for us, takes the edge off the Superb’s practicality score. Our test car’s load bay had handy carrying hooks near the back of the car, a 12-volt power supply, a battery-powered torch and some clever flexible plastic load bay dividers that velcro to the boot floor – nice touches, but you’d swap all of them for just a couple of items from the preceding list as standard kit.
As for the standard equipment you get on the Superb range, there are five trims to choose from. Entry-level S models comes with 16in alloy wheels, front fog lights, rear LED lights, tinted rear windows, electric windows, and electrically adjustable and heated wing mirrors fitted as standard on the outside. Inside there is air conditioning, manually adjustable front seats, a cooled gloved box and Skoda's Swing infotainment system complete with a 6.5in touchscreen display, DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
Upgrade to the SE trim and you’ll find 17in alloy wheels, climate control, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, two umbrellas, auto wipers, smartphone integration and an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment display included as standard.
The mid-level SE L Executive models coming with bi-xenon headlights, 18in alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats,a DVD drive and sat nav, while the newest trim – Sportline – comes with a sporty bodykit, 19in alloy wheels, Alcantara upholstery, electrically adjustable seats and ambient LED interior lighting.
The range-topping Laurin and Klement gets numerous additional luxuries including tri-zone climate control, all-round heated seats, a Canton sound system, adaptive dampers and a range of Skoda assistance systems – such as lane assist, self-parking mode and an automatic opening bootlid. For those after the more efficient Greenline versions of the Superb, you will be pleased to know that those models get 17in alloys, a tyre repair kit and a rear spoiler added to the package.
Skoda can be rightly proud of the multimedia features of its new flagship, but getting all of them isn’t cheap. In principle, the car offers its own 4G wireless hotspot, multimedia remote control from a paired tablet or smartphone, a Canton premium audio system and even a TV tuner.
To get access to any of these, though, you first need to order the full-house Columbus multimedia system. Its 8.0in touchscreen is a good size and makes the navigation system easy to follow. But laying out a sizeable chunk of money on one extra, only to open up the option of further spending, may look indulgent to a long-standing Skoda owner.
SE trim has a Bolero multimedia system with a 6.5in colour screen but no fitted sat-nav. We haven’t tested that system but can report that Skoda’s SmartGate smartphone mirroring option should work as happily with the standard system as with the optional one.
Compatible with Apple and Android-based devices, via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, it allows many of the apps on your phone to be relayed directly to the multimedia screen. So this way, the chances are that you don’t need a fitted sat-nav.