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Skoda Superb 2.5 V6 TDI Elegance review (2001-2006)
Engine: 2.5 V6 turbo
Fuel type: Diesel
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Date of test: May 2002
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What is it?
A large family car that is both comfortable and well-equipped. It is designed to appeal to a purchaser looking for a big car with a low price tag, but who also has one eye on quality. Skoda is part of the VW group, and although the Superb does not share its basic design with any other model on sale in the UK, it does use a number of common VW parts.
Where does it fit?
While not enormous, the Superb is a surprisingly large car, offering similar space to a Ford Mondeo. It’s not a run-about, but a cruiser that can easily accommodate a family motoring holiday or an executive’s mobile office.
Is it for you?
Skoda’s brand image is an asset rather than a liability these days. However, this is the first Skoda in this market segment for decades and it’s likely to be seen as a slightly quirky choice. Second-hand values probably won’t match the best of its rivals, but in this segment some of the most popular choices from Ford and Vauxhall have abysmal resale prices, and the relatively rare Superb could do well in comparison. If you want a large, good-looking but subtly styled car that offers plenty of equipment and high build quality standards, the Superb could be for you.
What does it do well?
It’s a comfortable and refined cruiser, equally pleasant around town and on the motorway. It offers value for money, not because it’s stuffed with bolt-on extra equipment (though it is well equipped) but because the equipment is clever and well thought-out: seats are comfortable and supportive, plastics are high quality, lights, wipers and switches are quietly efficient; extras like the ‘Coming Home’ feature that keeps the headlights on after you lock the doors for 30 seconds to see you in the door are attractive. The 2.5TDi V6 is highly refined and provides enough power to make the Superb a respectable turn of speed; an official figure of 40mpg for a car of this size is also praiseworthy.
What doesn’t it do well?
With its bulk and considerable length, the Superb is not the most agile car, and it won’t be tempting many enthusiastic drivers out of their BMWs. The 2.5TDi is substantially more expensive than the 1.8T petrol option, which offers slightly better performance at the price of fewer miles to the gallon. The 1.9 TDi, (excellent in other VW and Audi cars, but at the time of writing not yet available in the Superb), is likely to be a better option for the diesel purchaser.
What’s it like to live with?
It’s a large car and not the easiest for tight spaces, but the cabin’s generous elbow room feels luxuriant. Rear visibility isn’t ideal but sensors at the back (some models) that beep when you’re about to hit something help. Long, variable servicing intervals will keep running costs down. Diesel engines offer good economy, while emissions are low which will help with tax discs and company car tax. We think the car’s classic looks are likely to age well.
Would we buy it?
We’d be happy to own one. It is strikingly well built and a lot of car for the money. Yet although it’s large and has a generous equipment list, more established rivals are close to its low prices. While the Skoda bears comparison with almost anything at the price and is unlikely to disappoint, in a very competitive market segment with some outstanding offerings from other makers, it’s not a standout winner.
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