Skoda Superb Estate
By Bill McCarthy
IT is a sign of the continued confidence of Skoda and its products that it can produce a huge estate as its first plug-in hybrid, bucking the crossover trend.
Not resting in its well-earned laurels the firm is advancing into electric cars in a big way, starting with the smallest in its portfolio the all-electric Citigo and the largest, driven here, the Superb iV.
Skoda says that by early 2025, up to 25 per cent of all vehicles are to be electrified and the CO2 emissions of the entire fleet are to be reduced by 30 per cent compared to 2015.
Its first plug-in-hybrid, the Superb, can cover up to 38 miles on electric power only, emitting zero emissions and offering low running costs. With a full tank of petrol the 1.4 litre engine and the 85 kW motor gives the car a range of up to 575 miles. The battery can be charged overnight in about five hours using a standard household plug socket or using a more powerful wall box this takes just three and a half hours.
The charging cable for plug sockets is part of the standard equipment, whilst a Mode 3 charging cable is optional.
Revamped recently, just like the saloon, this estate has swooping, elegant lines. It looks the part with 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome plated grille which conceals the charging socket, neat decorative door sills front and rear slim LED headlights and clever puddle lights projecting the Skoda brand.
The interior is just as attractive with high-end materials and solid fixtures and fittings more often seen in executive class. Centrepiece is the dash with eight-inch colour screen which controls major functions like navigation, infotainment and Bluetooth connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An optional extra on this mid-range model is the virtual cockpit, which is customsable to display relevant information such as energy consumption, the battery’s charge level or details on brake energy recovery.
In typical Skoda style, it is packed with standard kit, including the usual array of electric goodies and creature comforts like multi-function steering wheel, dual zone climate control, heated and powered door mirrors, powered tailgate, front and rear parking sensor, headlight washers and privacy glass, plus a host of other goodies.
It is worth pointing out Skoda Simply Clever features which provide real added value and really do improve life for occupants. These include two umbrella compartments, (just like Rolls Royce), LED torch in the boot, kick sensor to open the tailgate, ice scraper in the filler cap, automatically retractable boot cover, front and rear USB ports, retractable sunblind on the side windows and gesture control for selecting on the touchscreen without actually touching it.
The cabin itself is light, airy and spacious with electrically adjustable heated leather front seats, and excellent head and legroom for all occupants, with three seated in relative comfort in the rear with the armrest folded.
As you would expect, stowage capacity is huge, with standard boot space of 660 litres opening up, with seats folded to a massive 1,950 litres, enough to climb into and have a kip in comfort.
Awkward-shaped loads can be fairly easily accommodated, while there are plenty of anchor point to tie down bags or cases. In addition there are plenty of storage bins, cubby holes and spaces dotted throughout the cabin to make this a hugely practical vehicle.
Skodas are no longer cheap cars, but are great value for money. At more than £37k for the tested model you are acquiring an electric vehicle that would cost substantially more if it carried a different badge on the boot or grille.
The car offers lively and, obviously, excellent economy with a nominal 218mpg claimed with extensive use of electric power, but probably nearer 60mpg in the real world. Having said that, if your daily commute is just over 30 miles, visits to the filling station will be rare.
Mated to a six-speed DSG auto box, it delivers excellent performance and when switched to sport mode and using the steering column paddles, is extremely lively, hitting 60mph from a standstill in under eight seconds and on to a top speed of 135mph.
There are three driving modes, electric, hybrid and sport. Switch to sport for a livelier drive, and this can also help recharge the battery for when going through low emissions or congestion charge areas where electric only is required.
The motorway is where the car feels particularly at home, cruising with ease while the cabin is well protected from road and engine noise. Handling is good for such a big car and the standard stability control ensures while the ride is comfortable and smooth.
For safety most of the boxes are ticked with a comprehensive lift of active and passive features including front, side and curtain airbags, plus a driver’s knee airbag, driver fatigue sensor and electronic stability and traction control systems.
Skoda has been going from strength to strength – it’s obvious why. But now it is literally on a charge.
Skoda Superb Estate iV SE-L
Price: £ 37,370
Mechanical: 1798cc, 156PS, four-cylinder petrol engine and 85kW 115 ps electric motor (218ps combined) driving front wheels via six-speed DSG auto transmission
Maximum speed: 138mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds
Economy: 201-148 mpg
Insurance group: 27
CO2 emissions: 33-42g/km
Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles