Aston Martin celebrates its 100th anniversary with a radical one-off concept car
Skoda Superb Estate: month three
On fleet since: September 2010
Total mileage: 3,292
Official combined mpg/CO2: 51.4 mpg - 145 g/km
Actual mpg: 45mpg
Costs: £0 so far
Engine: 2.0 TDI Common Rail turbodiesel, six-speed manual
Performance:0-62 in 10.2 seconds, 127mph top speed
Power/torque: 140hp/235 lb ft @ 1750 rpm
Insurance group: 18
List price: £21,395
Options fitted: four spoke steering wheel w/ bluetooth (£385), floor mats (£55)
park assist (£425), sat-nav (£1,305), panoramic sunroof (£960)
Price as tested: £24,525
Pros: Class-leading boot space, massive rear legroom, good standard equipment
Cons: questionable rear looks, no 7 digit sat-nav postcode entry, annoying locks
Where we've been this month?
On half-term - which for us meant a short trip to my family's stamping ground in Essex with some friends - and putting our boat away for the winter. Traditional family stuff in other words - and perfect family estate activities.
What do I like?
As promised last month, I said that we would be having a detailed look at the engine, ride and overall driving experience. First up is the engine: this is a 140hp common-rail unit that has just arrived on the Superb Estate but has been on other cars in the VW group range for a year or so.
It is much smoother than the unit it replaces, and around 10% more economical. This new engine is frankly a peach; yes there is familiar clatter after a cold start-up, but when it gets going it whirrs around quietly, in a manner reminiscent of the equally refined i-CTDI engine in the Honda Accord Tourer we ran two years ago.
This means that one can cruise in almost complete silence at 70mph on smooth tarmac, which is great if the children are asleep. And the long legs of the six-speed gearbox mean that you do this at under 2,000rpm into the bargain; on a flat road this equals over 50mpg, which we find can really up our average if we can keep it up.
All of which leads to a very relaxed driving experience. The car is too large and biased towards comfort to be a B-road blaster, but the chassis on this modern car is perfectly capable of being given a good workout within reason.
The steering is reasonably direct but, as is so often the case with modern electrically-assisted systems, it feels a bit dull and uncommunicative. But most drivers will not notice this I suspect.
Generally, however, this family car continues to excel, and worked very well as a workhorse, ably assisting us with our clearing up at the sailing club. I will look more closely at its all-rounder abilities next month.
What don't I like?
The downside of having a car that is beautifully composed on good surfaces is that things go wrong on bad ones. This is of course not Skoda's fault, but the fact remains that the UK has some of the worst road conditions in the developed world. And though I'm sure Skodas are thoroughly tested - and tweaked - on UK roads, my suspicion is that they ultimately work better on the smooth roads of its parent company's homeland.
Our mixed leather and Alcantara seats are absolutely fine, but they do not soak up the bumps like the amazing soft leather seats on say the Volvo V70 we had. And they do show up the bumps. Also, the Alcantara is that much harder to clean than leather, which is something we discovered when our two-year-old went clambering all over them in muddy shoes.
I'm not entirely sold on the driving position; I am tall and have not quite settled on the ideal wheel-and-seat position; the former is adjustable for height and reach. And a minor niggle that I have with many cars: my left knee spends a lot of time leaning on the centre console, and it would be nice to see this padded to accommodate.
The brakes are highly effective but take some getting used to; you need to feather them correctly to avoid jerkiness.
What next for the Superb Estate?
Christmas is rapidly approaching, so we shall doubtless be doing some shopping, and endless children's parties. Next month I'll be taking a close look at the 'liveability' factor of this car - how do we as a family unit 'work' with the car
Report 1: Skoda Superb Estate arrival
Report 2: Skoda Superb Estate: month two
Report 3: Skoda Superb Estate: month three (this report)
Report 4: Skoda Superb Estate: month four
Report 5: Skoda Superb Estate: month five
Review: Skoda Superb Estate
Gallery: Skoda Superb Estate
Find a used Skoda Superb on Auto Trader
Compare the Superb Estate with the Vauxhall Insignia, Mazda 6, Citroen C5 and Ford Mondeo estates
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