Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Big Car, for Little Money

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Big Car, for Little Money

Article excerpt

Byline: By Bill McCarthy's

Size isn't everything, the old saying goes, and in most cases this is true. But in the case of Skoda's giant flagship, size is the key.This is a lot of car for the money, a luxury limo at a knockdown price.

It is based on the VW Passat, but is bigger and cheaper, with the base model starting at pounds 14,000 for the two-litre Comfort.

At that price you have a refined motorway cruiser that keeps passengers in comfort and won't cost the earth.

That cruising ability does come at a bit of a price. While it doesn't wallow like a bathing elephant, its cornering abilities are similar.

Performance is good from most of the range, with the diesels performing particularly well. The 150bhp 1.8-litre turbo-charged petrol engine I drove showed good acceleration initially, but gradually ran out of steam. No doubt due to the huge weight it has to propel - although that is being hypercritical of what is a smooth and hushed unit. Economy is not bad, returning around 30mpg.

Some words conjure up immediate images, so imagine the level of expectation in buying a car called Superb. In the risky game of car naming this was an audacious move, and the company managed to hit the nail on the head.

It was built to compete with the big boys. Although in some circles of car snobbery it will always be lacking in the badge department, this car would be a welcome addition to most families.

They would make best use of the cavernous passenger space, big enough to accommodate the Waltons, headroom for a baby giraffe and a boot skip size.

Generally the look is OK, but I have a couple of reservations. The big alloys, modern shape and metallic paint combine to give it an individual look, but I don't like the big grille and the amount of chrome up front.

The drive is good, if not enthralling, with a razor sharp gear box, responsive steering and a very quiet ride. …

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