For just over six months I was the proud ‘owner’ of a Skoda Superb plug-in hybrid hatchback. We ran it in our long-term fleet and it was the perfect companion through lockdown and a pandemic-disrupted summer.
It’s spacious, comfortable and well-equipped, so when Skoda offered us a new one, I couldn’t say no. Normally, I like to keep things varied, trying a wide variety of different car shapes, sizes and powertrains for long-termers, but with my next long-termer not arriving until the new year, I’ll be holding onto this for a few months. And honestly, I have no complaints.
This version is nearly identical to the car I had before, except for being an estate, a different colour, and a different trim level.
Okay, so that’s pretty different… but the point is, from the moment I drop into the seat it’s like being at home. Except there’s more car in the rear-view mirror.
It’s even got the same powertrain. I really enjoyed life with a plug-in hybrid, especially during this year of Covid restrictions where long journeys have been few and far between, so I was pleased to pick up another one.
It uses a 1.4-litre petrol engine combined with a battery-powered electric motor. The battery provides almost 40 miles of zero-emission driving, so if you keep it topped up, running to the shops or the gym rarely requires the use of any petrol at all.
As is often the case, with an engine that’s pretty small for such a big car, once you drain the batteries your MPG figures nosedive. I’ve got into the habit of using the infotainment system to tell the car to replenish the batteries during long motorway stints, which means I can use electric power once I reach my destination, optimising fuel usage.
So what’s new to us? For a start, this is a Sportline Plus model, which is one off the top trim. As such, it’s incredibly well-equipped, with 19-inch alloy wheels, a lovely grey paint job offset by black trim pieces, Alcantara sports seats and a 9.2-inch infotainment system.
One particularly useful bit of kit is the wireless Apple CarPlay support. It means I can jump in the car and my phone automatically connects without the need for any wires.
The saloon I ran previously already had tonnes of boot space, but in the Superb, the luggage capacity is positively cavernous. With 510 litres of space and a tall roof, it has proved the perfect companion for a recent Ikea trip, swallowing all of the flat pack furniture I required it to. My bike slides in easily, too.
Any complaints? Only the same minor grumbles I had with the previous car, which are the fact it defaults to EV mode when you turn it on instead of whichever mode you were in when you turned it off, while the gearbox is slow to switch between drive and reverse.
Something that might be imaginary, though, is that I’m sure the gearbox is less responsive when pulling away from stationary, so there might have been a minor update between my two cars being built.
Meanwhile, a few times I’ve noticed the car struggling to switch from electric to engine mode, so that will need investigating – more on that when I’ve had longer in the car. I think it just doesn’t like the cold, which isn’t ideal in December. Not that I can say I can blame it…
Model as tested: Skoda Superb iV
Price as tested: £41,410
Engine: 1.4-litre petrol plus electric motor
Max speed: 140mph
0-60mph: 7.6 seconds
Emissions: 37g/km CO2