A week with a Skoda Superb

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AWWSuperb01Day one: This car has been out for about five years. There’s a maroon estate in my neighbourhood that I often walk past and think, ‘Well that might be all you need.’  I’ve never driven one though. When they announced a facelifted model I thought I probably should, but then forgot about it for a bit. So here we go then, a test of a five year old car they facelifted ages ago. This is why I don’t work for What Car?

First drive home in the Superb is very cheery. Mind you, I was listening a compilation of Italo Disco music, officially the jauntiest music in the world. That might have something to do with it. The only flaw I could find with the car is that at night there are very bright lights in the footwell  I don’t want to see my own feet as I drive along. But wait, on the dashboard menu you can adjust their brightness. I turn it down to a lower setting and don’t have to tolerate the appalling state of my own shoes.

Day two: This Surpeb has an electrically powered tailgate. This morning I have to put something in the boot. When it opens it makes an embarrassingly loud beeping noise. When it closes, it makes a different sort of beeping noise, closes about three inches, detects something non-existent in its path and opens again. Eventually, I evade the neurotic sensors but only by pushing the button and then running away from the car.

AWWSuperb02A drive from London to Cheshire. The Spuerb proves to be very good at this. Quiet, comfortable, relaxing. The relaxation is promptly undone later in the afternoon when I start clearing some stuff out of our old family home: The idiotic electric boot opens fine but then refuses to close having detected another ghost in its path. Eventually I have to force it by hand. The next time I go to open it, it beeps a bit, but then stays shut. I open it by hand. Then it won’t close again. There is some more beeping. Finally, it shuts. Except the car says it is not shut. I push the button to open it again. There is a beep. Nothing happens. I force it open then push the button to close it. There is a beep. It moves a few inches, beeps and opens again. My brother comes out of the house. ‘What are you doing?’ he asks. I’m losing the will to live, I say. Finally, after lots of opening and closing and a great deal of beeping the tailgate is shut and the car is prepared to accept this fact. It has now gone dark. A short while later my brother goes out to the bin and comes back in. ‘I thought you’d sorted the boot on that car,’ he says. I have, I mutter. ‘Well the boot light is still on…’ A further 15 minutes of motorised titting about, some energetic slamming and at least three kinds of beeping, the boot is closed and the lights are out. The electrically operated bootlid is a £535 option. Even if it wasn’t wildly malfunctioning, I wouldn’t bother.

Day three: A run to the tip – I folded the seats down and put everything into the car through the back doors – and then a drive back to London. The Srupbe really is an excellent cruiser. It has enough grunt, the seats are good and it achieves a nice flat, calm motorway ride. The ride on other roads is good too. It’s not a sporty sort of car but I chucked it around on some backroads anyway and it wasn’t bad. It starts to get a bit messy if you really cane it but at what helmwrights would call ‘eight-tenths’ it can make very brisk, smooth progress.

Day four: I find the Sueprb estate a tremendously handsome car. The only bit that jars is the badge that tells you this is the top model. It reads Laurin & Klement. They were the blokes who founded Skoda. The badge is in a curly and horribly cheesy font. It’s on the seats too. You could avoid this problem by not ordering this spec but you would have to forgo the interior colouring of this car which is a subtle yet excellent shade of brown. Mind you, Laurent Garnier spec is a bit pricey. On balance, I’d save a few quid and do without brown seats.

AWWSuperb05Day five: I’m not using the Skoda today because I’m going drinking with my mate Norm who is moving to Hong Kong. His name isn’t really Norm. He really is moving to Hong Kong. I know this is of no consequence to you but I thought you should know so you weren’t thinking, ‘Why isn’t he driving the car?’ That’s why.

Day six: Something’s been freaking me out about the Skoda. For two days now I’m certain I’ve opened the electric blind on the massive sunroof and for two days I’ve come back to the car to find the sun blind closed. Sure enough, there’s a menu option for automatic sunblind. Which, if you think about it, is quite clever. You leave the car in strong sunlight, it closes its own blind in case you forget. It might be a VW thing. The Sbuper is based on the Passat. But I’ve never seen it before. And Skoda are quite good at thoughtful stuff. So I’m giving them the credit until I discover otherwise.

Goodbye: Bye bye big Skoda. Just before it’s collected I check the boot. The electric tailgate seems to be working again. I still wouldn’t bother with it. The idiotic beeping and jerking spoils what is otherwise a perfectly sensible, well designed car. It’s not especially exciting but it is practical, comfortable and relaxing. It’s the sort of quietly faithful, friendly, Labradorish car you imagine people would keep for years.

The car talked about here is a Skoda Superb Laurin & Klement 2.0 TDI 170 DSG. It has a 2-litre turbocharged diesel engine making 168bhp. Skoda says it can go from 0-62 in 8.7 seconds and on to 137mph. In this spec it costs £30,995.


  1. sounds like it is very much an Octavia for people that find the Octavia a little bit poky. Which can’t be that many people surely?

  2. I’ve driven the Suberp Laurel & Hardy too, but I don’t recall it having the electric tailgate as I don’t recall any desire to push it off a cliff.

  3. Shouldn’t it be called the Skoda Repbus, really?

  4. I had a Honda Accord estate with the electric tail gate. Generally it behaved itself, it lacked the ghost detector or even a person detector as I found to my cost one day when it smacked me on the head when I foolishly decided to grab something out of the boot after pressing the close button. Then it developed some faults, it wouldn’t stay open if I parked on a hill, turns out that was a mechanical failure which was fixed under warranty. Then I replaced it with an Octavia Estate, I missed the electric tailgate, it was useful when I had my hands full of shopping bags. Now I have mk3 Octavia hatch really enjoying it.

  5. Oh a posh minicab. How nice.

  6. As a Superb owner myself, I think you nailed it in the first couple of sentences – it really is the ideal family car; I can’t imagine why we’ll ever decide to get rid (unless it starts costing a lot of money in repairs). It still gives me an odd kind of thrill when we pick up people and they sit in the back and remark on the insane amount of legroom they have, and yet there’s still enough room in the boot for a small boat.

  7. You should me more careful with the clone stamp, if the Associated Press finds out you’re in trouble.

    I was disappointed that Skoda didn’t carry on the use of superlatives in their model naming. Think about it; the Skoda Amazing! (exclamation mark included, VW style); the Skoda Incredible (opportunities for movie cross-promotion exist); and the Skoda Unfuckingbelievable (rebadged Bugatti Veyron).

  8. Associated Press Lindsay? All pics are from the manufacturer and copyright free for editorial purposes. Although there’s nothing specific about turning them into a silly gif.

  9. I have a soft spot for these cars – I like the idea of it – like a European version of our Falcon or Commodore – a big, spacious and unpretentious car. They really are huge inside – I remember sitting in the back of one at a motorshow after sitting in a Holden statesmen (massive stretched Commodore) and despite being about 10 feet shorter having the same legroom.

  10. On paper I should buy one of these for my Airport Transfer business….but my biggest problem with it is that it just screams “TAXI!!” – especially in silver…
    Which is why I have a 5 series….

  11. Lots and lots of grey.

    I just dozed off looking at the picture of the dashboard.

  12. On a car for the non badge conscious, a special badge?

    It didn’t work for the Favorit Silver Line either.

  13. I don’t think the joke’s funny enough to survive being explained, but it was just a silly, overly obscure and pretty much unrelated joke about the AP and the clone stamp. I’m sorry.

  14. £31k???? For a Czech taxi?

  15. Really volkswagen should just keep skoda and ditch all the other shit, its a bit of a mockery really that you pick a badge based on how much you want to pay a car built on the same platform.

  16. Those berating the Spuerb for ‘being a Taxi’ should take into account the reasons why they are chosen as taxis – Comfort, reliabilty, practicality, durability, running costs etc, and then maybe they’ll realise why there aren’t many BWM taxis out there; they just aren’t good enough!

  17. The Puserb, which is emphatically not a Yugoslavian toilet insult, would be fantastic protection against weather. Just don’t use it on the Somerset Levels. The opening back door is too leaky.

  18. For £31k, it ought to make tea.
    Roll on the Jag XE estate – my X type is creeping up on 200,000 miles – might have to replace it in 3 or 4 years!

  19. The problem with the ‘Jag’ is that the Brits used to make em! I’ve had several Skoda and driven well over 300,000 miles in em, great car and mark. I don’t see any company wanting to reinvent the Allegro, Marina or any of the other shit the UK used to chuck out.

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