From £19,1409

Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

For a bigger-than-average, cheaper-than-average, workaday 148bhp family holdall, the Skoda Superb Estate performs very stoutly indeed. It recorded a sub-9.0sec sprint to 60mph on our timing gear, which is what you’d expect of, say, a Jaguar XE or Mercedes-Benz C-Class with a 25 percent power advantage. It’s certainly well above and beyond your expectations for the humble front-driven bargain Czech.

More important for a big load-hauler, the Superb proved flexible, taking 12.1sec to haul itself from 30-70mph in fourth gear, whereas the like-for-like Ford Mondeo wagon we performance tested needed almost 14 seconds.

Fifth-generation Haldex clutch-based four-wheel drive is offered as an option

All of which comes as a bonus in the Superb, a car that’s fairly and squarely configured to be refined, unobstructive and easy to use. The 2.0-litre diesel engine is very seldom noisy, pulls cleanly from as little as 1200rpm and overcomes its initial turbo-lag-related hesitancy smartly before 1600rpm is past.

From there on up, the engine’s 251lb ft of torque feels more than enough to handle a fully laden cabin, a heavy load or a biggish trailer in the shorter intermediate gears. The engine revs cleanly to 4500rpm before it starts to run out of puff, and it feels smooth and well isolated at all times.

There’s a little bit of notchiness in the car’s manual gearchange, but not enough to make the shift lever baulk. Like the clutch pedal, the shift quality itself is light and the action quite short. The brake pedal action is also well tuned, with good initial response transforming into progressive retardation without the need for too much pedal pressure.

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Although estates can struggle to match saloons for cabin refinement, the Superb doesn’t, suppressing road roar and chassis noise well on the 17in wheels of our test example.