Working at Car Throttle is demanding. There are the long hours, constantly having to monitor Alex’s hunger levels (he apparently invented the word ‘Hangry’), and much travel. The first two items I have little control over, so it’s always comforting to know that travelling in the UK is never a hardship. And that’s thanks to the Skoda estate we use, a car so deserving of its name.
So here are few things I want to highlight about my five smooth months with the Superb:
I'm In Love With The Boot Space
When it comes to making videos, we take an ‘all or nothing’ approach. That means we carry a LOT of equipment, including tripods, sliders, gimbals, cameras, mounts, lenses, batteries and monitors. And you wouldn’t believe how much space these things take up, especially because everything we have is transported in bulky cases.
Packing and unpacking usually requires Boss-like Tetris skills and spillage onto the rear seats, but with the Superb estate’s massive boot, the boring bit at the end of the day is made so much easier; thanks to 660 litres cargo capacity with the seats up, you can practically throw the gear in sideways and still have room to spare.
While we’re on the subject of the Superb’s boot, the fact that its massive struts keep the lid up at up to 50mph means we’re able to film out of it without having to stop to reset. This was always a (first world) problem with our previous Skoda Kodiaq longtermer, so saves a bunch of time during filming.
So. Damn. Comfortable.
Our Superb L&K - the specs of which you can read here - is still the most comfortable car I’ve driven. Alex, too, puts it in his top five, which is pretty good going considering all the cars he’s driven over the years.
For the purposes of shooting videos, this means that camera shake is kept to a bare minimum, but on a more personal level, this translates to a car that I’m always comfortable in. The suspension smoothes everything out like magic, and sitting in the seats for hours on end doesn’t hurt my back.
In fact, I recently drove four hours to Devon in the Superb, and my Grandad was really happy in the proper-sized back seat. He even said “I don’t always nod off when driven by other people”, so if my 91-year-old Grandad’s happy, then Skoda have clearly nailed it.
So What Don't I Like?
When we specced the car, it was the lower-powered 150hp 2.0-litre diesel engine and DSG gearbox we chose. It’s a punchy enough engine and after nearly 5000 miles of loosening up, it’s now returning 59mpg which I’m very pleased with.
The only thing I don’t like is how the Superb gets off the line. It’s got a really sluggish throttle response, even in Sport mode, so sometimes when you think you’ve got plenty of time to pull out into a road, the time it takes to get the car going can make manoeuvres difficult. I’m unsure if the more powerful 190hp version of the same engine has the same trait, so I’d be interested to know.
The Bluetooth is sometimes slow to connect and I’ve had an occasion where it wouldn’t connect at all, but overall the good points massively outweigh the negatives - heated rear seats, panoramic sunroof, cool ambient lighting, in-car sat-nav that’s better than any other I’ve used…need I go on?
Our time with the Superb estate has been excellent so far. It’s a good all-rounder, is comfortable, economical, spacious and easy to drive.
Despite its qualities, though, I think I still preferred the Kodiaq we had before. I liked the higher seating position, the fact that the boot lid could be used as a rain canopy (because it extended more horizontally), and the more immediate throttle response, which is my biggest gripe with the Superb.
Overall, though, I struggle to understand why people buy more expensive BMWs or Mercedes when they’re looking for estate cars.