Image 1 of 22
Image 1 of 22
2 Dec, 2019 5:30pm Richard Ingram
The new Skoda Superb iV is the second electrified car from the Czech firm, but can it beat the more expensive Volkswagen Passat GTE?
Skoda’s rollout of electrified vehicles continues at full speed. First was the new Citigo-e iV – and just seven days later it’s the turn of the firm’s plug-in Superb. On sale now, it undercuts the Volkswagen Passat GTE by several thousand pounds.
The Czech firm expects around 20-25 per cent of Superb sales to come courtesy of this new hybrid version, and it’s easy to see why. A quick glance at the numbers suggests that both private and company car drivers could make substantial savings on fuel and tax costs alone.
From April next year, the Superb iV will attract a lowly 10 per cent rating for Benefit in Kind company car tax. Compare that with an equivalent diesel model and the savings look quite significant: a 2.0-litre TDI 150PS DSG sits in the 27 per cent bracket. Go for the higher-power 190PS variant with more comparable performance, and the difference is even greater.
Image 2 of 22
Image 2 of 22
Skoda says its new iV-badged family car will do up to 188mpg on the tougher new WLTP test procedure. In reality it could be either much more or much less, depending on your driving style and ability to charge at home or at work.
Charging is a relatively straightforward affair, taking just three and a half hours from a 3.6kW wallbox. Topping up will return a useable 34-mile range, which should be enough to get most customers to the office without using a drop of petrol.
It’ll take a keen eye to pick out the plug-in Superb from its conventionally-powered siblings. The charge port is craftily hidden in the grille, and you’ll need to walk around the back to pick out the subtle iV badges. It follows almost the same trim structure as the standard model – available in SE, SE L, Sportline or flagship L&K guises; there’s no entry-level S, nor are there any plans to offer a jacked-up Superb Scout iV.
Prices start from £31,970 – or around £4,500 less than the cheapest Passat GTE. Every version gets alloy wheels, all-round parking sensors and a DAB radio. Even a top-spec Superb iV L&K undercuts its rival in Advance trim – and that’s despite its lavish kit list, which includes ventilated leather seats, three-zone climate control and a 9.2-inch infotainment display.
On the road, the electrified Superb blends petrol and electric power brilliantly, though forcing the car into electric mode is best reserved for short urban journeys; motorway running will see your remaining charge levels plummet.
Performance is sprightly, though owners used to the gentle surge of a modern-day diesel may find the instant torque takes some getting used to. Yet away from traffic lights and junctions this new iV manages to avoid some of the failings most commonly associated with the TDI’s sometimes sleepy transmission.
Image 3 of 22
Image 3 of 22
Push the iV a little harder and the engine can feel a bit strained, but that’s common on plug-in hybrids like this. You’re better off taking things gently and making the most of the Superb’s hushed powertrain; the iV is all but silent and a cruise, generating little more than a murmur on light throttle input.
It rides well, too, with the long-wheelbase smothering all but the worst lumps and bumps in the road. There’s a level of sophistication more akin to a Mercedes S-Class than the humble MQB platform it sits on – the Superb is one of the most comfortable cars in the large family class and little has changed with this transition to hybrid power.
Pleasingly, all the electric gubbins have little impact on boot space or passenger room – another area where the Superb excels. There’s acres of leg room in the back and the boot is massive. If that’s not enough, there’s an Estate model that offers an even bigger load bay.
Quality is top notch, and there are loads of connectivity options including Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay. The screen is responsive and the digital dials can be configured to show speed, battery status, trip information or maps.
4.5 We’ve long loved the Skoda Superb, and this new plug-in variant could well be our new family car of choice. On cold, wet, European roads the car showed excellent composure and an intelligent drivetrain capable of truly remarkable fuel economy should you have the means to charge it on a regular basis. The fact no rival can offer the Superb’s blend of space and practicality only goes to bolster this car’s incredible value for money.
- Model: Skoda Superb iV SE L
- Price: £34,755
- Engine: 1.4-litre 4cyl turbo petrol PHEV
- Power/torque: 215bhp/400Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed auto, front-wheel drive
- 0-62mph: 7.7 seconds
- Top speed: 139mph
- Economy/CO2: 188mpg (est), 35g/km
- On sale: Now