Of all the Volkswagen Group oddballs nurtured under the Skoda badge, the Superb surely ranks as one of the most intriguing.
Originally a product of VW’s mania for economies of scale (the manufacturer having already produced a lengthened version of the Passat for China), Skoda’s modern flagship saloon landed in 2001, offering vast rear leg room for not a lot of money. Despite being a resolutely old-fashioned four-door (the engines went in longways and plans for an estate were dropped), it struck a chord.
The second-generation Superb, launched in 2008, went much further. Along with a capacious wagon, the regular model received what Skoda dubbed the ‘Twindoor’, a tailgate that could be opened as either a saloon-style boot or a full hatchback, making it as prodigious a handler of luggage as it was knees and feet. Accolades followed, bolstered by the decision to add an extensive list of optional extras to the Superb’s already generous kit list in higher trim levels.
Skoda has cemented this approach with the most recent version, which was introduced in 2015. Where previously it was recognisable as a flagship for its incontrovertible size, the latest, sharper-suited Superb is intended now fills out the role on style, too, its angular and elegant looks given a subtle refresh in 2019 in an effort to draw a closer family connection to the brand’s big-selling Kodiaq and Karoq SUVs
For our test it’s the cavernous estate version that looms large in our crosshairs, offering a maximum boot volume of almost 2000 litres, which makes the wagon variants of everything from a BMW 5 Series to the soon-to-die Ford Mondeo look meagre.
The hatchback starts at just over £25k, with the estate incurring a £1280 premium, a price that’s increasingly attractive in an ever dwindling pool of large family cars from mainstream brands.
Our test car is a 148bhp 2.0 TDI in SE spec, the entry point of a four-strong range and fitted with the oilburner that is likely to prove the most popular choice in both hatch and estate forms despite the recent dip in diesel sales.