2020 Skoda Superb SE L Estate 2.0 TDI 190 PS
The metallic paint on my Superb estate is called Business Grey. That’s turned out to be an entirely appropriate choice, and as good a two-word summary of the car as you could hope for.
The ‘Grey’ bit, as well as being literally true, is also a quality the Superb proudly embraces. If grey is the opposite of fancy and flamboyant, then this is the king of grey. It makes no claims for innovation or uniqueness, and doesn’t feel any need to draw attention to itself by donning a party frock. It just aims to do the solid-estate-car thing thoroughly.
The ‘Business’ part reinforces all of the above. Business as opposed to pleasure. Business as in business suit. It does the business. In its eight months and 9006 miles with us it’s served me faultlessly, lugging me and my photographic gear the length and breadth of the country, with room to spare. And at weekends (and, during lockdown, often weekdays too), it was shopping wagon, recycling truck and spacious family transport.
It made a lot of trips to DIY stores and dumps, but fewer trips than would have been required in just about any other car currently available, unless you were towing a trailer. Being able to fit a pallet in the boot, or a fridge-freezer, is massively useful, especially at a time when you’d really rather not be calling in favours from mates with Transits.
Everything – cabin, engine, transmission – is geared to this full-on functionality. There’s excellent rear legroom, and no matter that such spaciousness rules out swoopy curves. My kids don’t need legroom, but it makes life for us very easy when we’re strapping them into child seats.
In similar spirit, the 188bhp diesel engine offers unremarkable acceleration, being geared for mpg rather than thrills, but with 295lb ft of torque from 1750rpm it shrugs off loads and hills.
SE L trim is quite smart – adaptive cruise control, matrix LED headlights, cornering foglights, some voice control – and we’ve added a towbar, ventilated front seats and a space saver, and a few other bits to enhance that functionality. Our metallic paint, all Ј595 of it, seems rather frivolous on this solid workhorse.
So, yes, okay, you end up with a Ј40k car that offers no luxury, and makes no attempt at entertaining the driver. It’s a passenger-focused car. In which context, it’s disappointing that the seats aren’t very comfortable, and there’s an unwelcome amount of wind and road noise.
It could be a bit cheaper, a bit quieter, and ideally a lot more comfortable, while still holding true to its essence. But if a big, solid, bulletproof estate is what you want, look no further.