What are you driving?
The updated Skoda Superb, specifically the Sportline version (sitting above Active, Ambition and Style models, but below the range-topping L&K variant). Our test car was powered by the entry-level engine in the Superb line-up, a 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine. In fact, until the plug-in hybrid version, the Superb iV, arrives, this is the only petrol option in the range. The four-cylinder turbocharged unit puts out a useful 150hp and it features cylinder cut-off technology to help reduce fuel consumption. Even so, it's expected that the diesel versions of the Superb will continue to be the biggest sellers this year.
Sportline versions of the Superb get a highly effective visual makeover inside and out, including lots of moody dark detailing, LED Matrix headlights and sports seats, plus a lot more. Be aware when looking at the images, however, that our test car had a few tasty options thrown in, including those lovely 19-inch alloy wheels, metallic paint and the digital instruments.
Name its best bits
Skoda may have updated the Superb, but it hasn't altered its single most prominent USP - the space on offer. The front seats are spacious, the rears commodious and the boot positively massive by any measure you care to use. That rear seat is wider than most, as well, so parents that wish to fit three child chairs across in one row may just be able to do so, depending on how bulky the seats are. Adults will be very comfortable back there.
Speaking of which, and despite a mildly tweaked 'sports suspension', the Superb also excels at being comfortable. Sure, the 19-inch rims and low-profile tyres pick up on more of the surface underneath than less sexy looking alternatives, but this eases away into the background at cruising speed. And, while the diesel Superbs should return better economy on longer runs, we managed to average a respectable 6.2 litres/100km in this petrol model.
Anything that bugs you?
It's not easy to pick holes in this car, as it's a polished creation, but if we did have one criticism it is that the Sportline Superb doesn't really live up to its sporty looking billing. This is a comfortable and refined car, not one you'll choose to go for a drive in, just for the sake of driving. Don't let the image fool you into thinking otherwise.
And why have you given it this rating?
We're big fans of the Skoda Superb in all guises (particularly the Combi estate) and the updated third-generation model is no different. Most will automatically go for a 2.0 TDI diesel engine (and the new 'Evo' unit is a cracker), but for those that don't spend every day on the motorway, this petrol model is well worth checking out. Whether you reckon the undoubted visual appeal and equipment of the Sportline trim merits the extra cost is down to personal taste.
What do the rest of the team think?
The Skoda Superb Sportline is a simple car, but a massively impressive one. It's smooth, refined, surprisingly economical and has a massive and comfy cabin. Not much of a driver's machine, but never mind the cornering, feel the width.
Neil Briscoe - Editor-at-large