A combination of sharper looks and smarter engineering is set to make Skoda’s top model more familiar with corporate car drivers this year.
Significant improvements in styling, operating efficiency and tailpipe emissions should help the Superb finally win the recognition it deserves in the sector, believes fleet sales development manager Andrew Thomas.
“This vehicle has always been a strong fleet contender but it’s still a relative unknown in the sector and there’s no doubt we have a job to do in terms of getting it in front of more potential customers.
“We plan to do this by launching a proactive demonstration programme as soon as the cars become available and we’ll also place models with key influencers, contract hire and leasing companies well before the on-sale date,” he told Fleet News.
Speaking as the facelifted hatchback and estate range was previewed in Austria, Thomas added: “Much of our launch activity will be focused on the fleet sector. The car has performed well for us in the past but I think it still gives us plenty of opportunity for growth.”
The current model was named the best estate car in this year’s Fleet News Awards, and fleet already accounts for more than 60% of Superb registrations.
The pre-launch programme is expected to increase total sales of the model to more than 5,500 as part of Skoda’s plan to expand UK business with new and upgraded products.
Available from July 17, the revised range offers more distinctive styling along with added underbonnet refinement to boost economy by 2.3% and reduce tailpipe emissions.
The SE we tried is £440 dearer than the outgoing car but a new, super-smooth six-speed gearbox raises its profile and brings it more into line with rivals.
And despite being further honed to be a more attractive fleet proposition with improved efficiency, its trusty 1.6-litre motor still has sufficient thrust for reasonable acceleration and effortless motorway cruising in near silence.
The mid-range trim level includes chrome roof rails, cornering front fog lights, dual-zone air conditioning, power-fold mirrors, plush Alcantara upholstery and a raft of stowage bins to bolster the car’s cavernous, 1,865-litre load deck.
It might be big, but the Superb feels anything but a jumbo load carrier out on the road.
Even though its suspension is beefed up at the rear to cope with its high payload rating, it has the smooth ride and well-controlled handling that promotes relaxed travel over long distances.
For good measure, the demeanour is backed by comfort – and a degree of panache – approaching premium standards.