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Skoda Superb Comfort V6 TDI - 2,309 miles

Skoda

Review

AS little as five years ago, most people would have scoffed at the notion that a Skoda could be regarded as an alternative to a Jaguar.

But it has happened!

Amazing though it seems, the latest model to emerge from the Czech manufacturer revitalised by Volkswagen takes a tilt at the lower end of the premium segment (in Jaguar's case the X-type) as well as mounting a robust challenge to the volume brands in the mainstream area of the company car market.

And the Superb, a swish saloon that revives a badge from the days before Skoda was all but wrecked by Communist bureaucracy, seems all set to register an impact in both areas.

A longer version of the Passat, this is a Volkswagen by another name, of course, and because it comes from a country that has lower labour costs, it is a car that offers considerably higher value than you'd expect from either of the sales sectors it straddles.

Pleasingly styled, the Superb is just as well-built as its German cousin and, with striking alloy wheels and a flawless silver paint finish, our Comfort 2.5TDI long term test car has the gracious appearance of full-blown executive transport. What should concern its rivals is that it has the demeanour to match.

Six weeks into our spell with the Superb, the ability of its engine continues to surprise: smooth and always subdued, the VW Group's big V6 turbodiesel is up with the best in terms of refinement, and with the boost coming on stream from as little as 1,500rpm, it is nippy away from the lights and sufficiently fleet-footed for safe overtaking manoeuvres.

Yet the power to cover long distances at speed does not come at the expense of operating economy.

For most of the time, the engine is loafing along at incredibly low revs, thanks to nicely-spaced ratios and a super-high sixth gear. As a result, the car has so far returned an excellent 40-plus mpg average, a performance that equates its running costs to those of a much smaller model.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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