IF you want to get a grip without the pose-factor of a ‘Chelsea tractor’, there is a way. You don’t have to join the regular off-roader or SUV (sports utility vehicle) set – with all the rugged styling cues – to drive a sure-footed motor. For, four-wheel drive can be yours with certain estate cars that have enough ability in poor conditions without being kitted out like an entrant for the Dakar rally. Flush Magazine took the opportunity to run the rule over a member of this select club, the Skoda Superb Outdoor.
The only visible difference froma regular Superb estate is astyling package that includes protective elements such aswheel arch and side sill extensions, side mouldings and a loadingsill cover – useful but understated. This five-door estate gives new meaning to the term ‘spacious’. Rear seat passengers get limo-like legroom and the car excels as a load-lugger, offering a mighty 633 litres capacity with the back seats in place, extending to a prairie-like expanse of 1,865 litres with them folded down.But items such as a variable boot floor and luggage nets are options, features you might welcome as standard on a load-carrier. The Superb range consists of five trim levels: S, SE, Elegance, L&K and Outdoor, with each model featuring high equipment levels.
There are six engine options: three petrol units and three diesels. Power outputs range from 105bhp for the entry level 1.6 TDI to 260bhp for the 3.6 V6 engine. Transmission options include six speed manual and DSG gearboxes. Our test car, an SE 2.0 TDI, sported a two-litre diesel unit with the positive-changing six- manual box. The car is also offered with the ‘GreenLine’ technology, delivering lower CO2 emissions and better fuel economy. Available on S, SE and Elegance models, it features optimised gearing, special aerodynamic components and low rolling resistance tyres.
As a result of these measures, models have CO2 outputs of 109g/km and combined fuel consumption of 67.3mpg.Four-wheel drive comes courtesy of a Haldex clutch, with a control unit allotting the right amount of power to each wheel when needed. Hill hold control also helps to make the going easy, delivering smooth starts on inclines without using the handbrake.Kit includes dual zone air con, sat nav, boarding lights integrated into the electrically-folding door mirrors, 18in alloys, heated washer nozzles and front headlight washers, cornering front foglights, rear parking sensors and a removable LED light in the boot,The overall feeling is of high quality, with pleasantly tactile cabin surfaces, well-weighted switchgear and top fit and finish throughout.The driving experience is confidence-inspiring and rewarding. I found the big car offering responsive handling on twisting country roads, while smooth motorway hauls are meat and drink to the Superb.The model’s name isn’t an example of the company boasting about its products, for the monicker is an integral part of Skoda’s history, both in the early days and during the brand’s
renaissance in later years.
First launched in 1934, the Superb was a showcase for Czech engineering and more than 2,500 units were built over the course of the next 15 years, with the final model rolling off the production line in 1949. Following the fall of the Iron Curtain and the 1991 merger with the Volkswagen Group, the Superb became the third completely new Skoda to be launched into the European market , providing the brand with a new flagship model.
Make/Model: Skoda Superb SE 2.0 TDI Outdoor Estate.
Technical: 1,968cc diesel engine;
Performance: 0-62mph, 10.1 seconds, top speed, 131mph;
Fuel: 61.4mpg (combined);
Price: £24,055 OTR (inc options).
For more info visit www.skoda.co.uk