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Road Tests

Skoda Superb SE Greenline III, motoring review: Buying one of these cars is a very cunning plan


Price: £23,295 (as tested)
Engine capacity: 1.6 TDI Diesel
Power output (PS @ rpm): 105@4,400
Top speed (mph): 122mph
0-62 mph (seconds): 12.2secs
Fuel economy (mpg): 67.3
CO2 emissions (g/km): 109

If you have a good memory, and a taste for celebrity trivia, you may recall that some of the papers got excited the other week when someone spotted Rowan Atkinson in a Skoda Superb: "Mr Bean ditches £3m supercar and gets behind the wheel of... a Skoda!", ran the headline. It was noted that it was a "far cry from his 240mph McClaren F1 worth £3m that he bought in 1997". I guess they were making out he is some sort of skinflint. In fact, I think Mr Atkinson simply had a cunning plan for his motoring needs. Indeed, like Blackadder, he might well sit back and congratulate himself on adopting a plan so clever "you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel". Or a Skoda Superb.

My test car certainly looked clever enough. Sober dark "Pacific Blue" bodywork. Big, chunky alloy wheels. Restrained yet muscular lines. No wonder, then, that it was mistaken for a BMW and a Mercedes-Benz. As most people know by now, a Skoda is pure VW/Audi underneath, but carries a cheaper price tag. What a cunning plan, my Lord Blackadder!

Now, like Rowan Atkinson, as a Skoda driver myself, I know what I want from a Skoda. First, bags of space for all the junk I carry around, and the Superb meets this challenge easily. I would recommend you take the hatch version over the saloon, to maximise the Skoda's practical appeal, or the estate car with its vast boot. Indoors, the legroom stacks up well against its posh cousin, the Bentley Continental Flying Spur.

Second, I demand comfort. Here, the Super was a bit of a disappointment. Those fashionable big alloys and thin tyres make for a harder ride; and I suspect that Skodas are now tending to the suspension set-up of their sportier siblings in the VW Group.

Third, I must have low running costs, and reliability. The Octavia I have owned for five years now has developed faults, and the prices dealers charge for, say, changing a clutch are steeper than you might imagine. However, the diesel version of the Skoda Superb Greenline, which I tried out, boasts a remarkable 67.3mpg.

So, my tips for a prospective Skoda Superb owner are: buy a used one, go for petrol rather than diesel, and the hatch version, and keep it for a long time, so any depreciation issues become irrelevant. I assume that was Blackadder's cunning plan, anyway.