If you like big cars and do a fair bit of your driving on British A- and B-roads, you’re going to like the new Skoda Superb, mainly because of the way the suspension suits British roads. I went to the Czech Republic last month to drive the all-new version of Skoda’s biggest model, expecting a solid and well-engineered car (as befits a car whose underbits are also found in the latest VW Passat and Skoda Octavia models) with the usual somewhat stiff-legged German-inspired suspension. Instead, I found a car with a suspension that could have been tuned specifically for Britain: terrific at soaking up bitumen ruts, Mercedes-quiet over potholes, tolerant of the kind of confused cambers we have in this country, nice to steer, long-legged and economical. The star of the show was the new-to-Skoda, VW-sourced 173bhp common-rail diesel, which gives this bulky car a top speed close to 140mph (hence ultra-quiet cruising at 90ish) yet will surely deliver 40mpg when sensibly driven by the owner. Chuck in limousine comfort, a very well-appointed interior, a boot lid that can also be a hatchback, deep equipment in a three-tier model range and prices that start (for a 125bhp, 1.4-litre litre petrol turbo) not far over £15,000, and you have an appealing car.
Downsides? The size, for some. A Honda Accord in the same class feels much more chuckable. The name, too. I’m not suggesting “Skoda” is laughable the way it was, but VW, Honda and even Ford – all in the same size-class – carry more prestige. Wouldn’t matter to me, though. I’d be proud to drive one of these for a while.