Good: cavernous boot and cabin, good looks, great specification.
Not so good: minor refinement issues, not as cheap to buy as it was.
Apparently Skoda is planning on a global campaign of expansion, lead in no small part by the recently revealed Kodiaq SUV. It'll be interesting to see what markets, which have never had the Czech brand before, think of the company's model names. I mean, if you hadn't witnessed Skoda's rise from Eastern Bloc automotive joke to star of the Volkswagen Group that can seemingly do no wrong, what would you think about a car called 'Superb'? A bit cocky, isn't it? Never mind the fact that the name harks back to the 1930s.
But Irish buyers know better. Irish buyers know that the modern day Skoda Superb lives up to its name and has for some time. The first generation of the Volkswagen Group Superb took the China-only long wheelbase Passat as a basis, meaning 100mm extra legroom than the Passat sold in Europe - and for less money. It was a hit thanks to its space and value. Skoda built on that in the second generation, with a cavernous boot, though this time around it went its own way with the styling and the frankly bizarre 'Twindoor' hatch. We were never big fans of that car's design, though the Combi estate's look was far more cohesive - and of course its boot was even more useful.
Now we're into the third generation Superb and here we test drive the Combi estate. It really is huge. We've put it up against similarly priced rivals in the list below, but really, it's considerably bigger than them all and, in fact, its 620-litre boot makes it more capacious than estates in the class above - luminaries such as the Audi A6 Avant and the class giant, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate. Seriously, if you can't get everything you need to bring with you in the back of this car then you need to have a word with yourself about learning to pack a little lighter.
And that's not the only reason to buy the Skoda Superb Combi. We'll let you make up your own mind on the appearance, but for the record we think it's a handsome looking beast. The interior is less stylised, perhaps, but it's cleverly designed and seemingly well made (save for a bit of a buzzing vibration from behind the dashboard in our test car). There's loads of storage space and the rear bench is wide so parents that need to get three seats across there may be in luck depending on the sizes of their child seats.
The Combi range appears to mirror that of the regular Skoda Superb, with an approximate premium of €1,100 or so for the estate. Reflecting low demand for petrol power, there's a sole version powered by the entry-level 1.4-litre TSI engine. Oddly, there's a 2.0-litre TSI option producing 280hp and paired with four-wheel drive that comes in two trim levels, but starting at €47,545, we don't expect to see any of those around here. So the diesel range kicks off at €29,475 with the perfectly adequate 1.6-litre TDI 120 engine in Active specification. Few people go for that, most aiming for (aptly) Ambition or Style tested here.
Superb Styles feature 17-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen with satnav and Smartlink for smartphone integration, three-zone climate control, auto wipers and dimming rear-view mirror, electrically adjusted seats up front, reversing camera, leather upholstery and other bits and pieces, on top of the already generous level of equipment fitted to the Ambition model. There's the lavishly equipped L&K model above that too for those that want the ultimate Skoda.
We'd urge buyers to go for one of the 2.0-litre TDI diesels, as the Superb is a big car and that engine's extra torque is needed, in truth. We're testing the 150hp model here, which is fine, but go for the 190hp one if you're planning on towing or filling up the car regularly, as it's usefully faster. Strangely, when the six-speed, dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission is taken into consideration (and it should be, as it's a perfect partner to the 2.0-litre TDI engine), the 190hp Superb is in a lower tax band than the 150hp model - saving the buyer of the former €70 a year. It'll take a long time to pay back the difference in their price, mind you.
And there are no major surprises with how the Superb Combi drives. The engine is smooth, certainly when warmed up, the gearbox good and the suspension well-judged, focusing, as it should, on passenger comfort, but without allowing the big body to flop around through a sequence of interesting corners. There's a little more road noise than we'd like at a cruise, but otherwise this is a polished, competent and simply huge family car that parents should be tripping over themselves to get into. Is Skoda being a little cocky with the name? Some might say so, but most will agree that it's justified.