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Skoda Superb IV

Date: 24 December 2019   |   Author: Pete Tullin

The arrival of the latest plug-in hybrid Superb couldn't be more timely, should you be looking anywhere else for your next company charge.
Standard equipment:
17in alloy wheels, leather upholstery, four electric windows, remote central locking, electrically adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, multifunction steering wheel, 8in infotainment system, Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
Engines:
1.4 plug-in hybrid
Equipment grades:
SE Technology, SE L, Sportline, Laurin & Klement
Transmissions:
Seven-speed auto

You needn't look much further than the latest Skoda Superb IV plug-in hybrid to get an idea of the effect WLTP-based taxation will have on the fleet market. 

While the Superb has always provided a strong proposition to both business and private users - thanks to its impressive driving manners, immense interior space, and strong, efficient powertrains - Skoda predicts 80% of its new plug-in hybrid models will find homes in the fleet market. 

It is easy to see why when the hybrid's official CO2 output of 35g/km will currently command a 16% BIK rating and that figure will fall to 12% in the upcoming 2020-21 tax year.

Contrast this with the similarly powerful 190hp, 2.0-litre diesel engine's 31% and 32% figures, and the hybrid's appeal becomes quite stark.

Granted, the hybrid does cost in the region of £2,275 more than the equivalent specification 190hp diesel, but even taking that into account the savings are substantial.

Precise engineering

So, other than the BIK advantage, what do you get for your money?

Well, the Superb uses the same hybrid powertrain as the one in the recently launched Volkswagen Passat GTE, and this powertrain will eventually find its way into every nook and cranny of the VW empire. Consequently, you would be right to assume it has been developed with some pretty exacting scrutiny.

Using a combination of a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine and an electric motor mounted within the gearbox to produce a combined power output of 218hp, it is an impressively powerful and immensely cultured device.

This is true not only of the way it amalgamates the two power factions to deliver strong, linear performance, but also in the way the electric motor squeezes additional torque in-between the gearshift pauses to deliver near-seamless transitions. Of course, the big advantage of any plug-in hybrid lies in its ability to be driven purely on electric power alone.   

Charge the battery to the max - which takes around three-and-a-half hours from a typical home wall box - select E-mode, flick the automatic shifter into drive, and the Superb caresses the tarmac and slips away from the mark in near-silent fashion.

Bringing the noise

Well it would, had Skoda not decided to warn pedestrians of the Superb's imminent arrival by emitting something akin to a ghostly wail. Although an outward aural alert is clearly essential when driving in this stealthy E-mode, Skoda's decision to pipe the wail into the cabin so vehemently seems a strange one.      

37_superb _iv

More positively, providing you use a moderate right foot, you can maintain the Superb's electric-only propulsion for up to 34 miles, and providing you stay away from the floor-mounted kick-down button, you can coax the electric motor up to 80mph. 

You can also decide how to best utilise your battery life by choosing to drive solely under petrol power and deploy electric drive when you deem it most appropriate; something that will no doubt appeal to those who endure lengthy motorway journeys before tackling city traffic conditions. 

Soft touch

Although it is a very large car, the Superb makes light of its dimensions thanks to delectably weighted and extremely precise steering, and if you are a fan of limo-like body float at lower speeds you won't be disappointed by the innate comfort the hybrid's suspension provides. 

It is even capable of feeling quite sprightly down a twisty road if you select the sports damper mode, but the downside to this is a degree of abruptness, even when driving over relatively minor lumps and bumps in the road surface.

Very few cars at this price point offer a classier cabin than the Superb and even fewer provide as much interior real estate. The fit and finish of all the fixtures and fittings is wholly impressive, and the hybrid retains the same vast acreage between the front and rear seats as the rest of the Superb range - despite the requirements of the substantial battery pack.

As a result, even basketball players can stretch out on the classy rear seats. This is made possible because the battery pack and most of the electric shenanigans reside under the boot floor, which means cargo volume is reduced, but only from an elephant-enclosure-dimensioned 625 litres to a hippo-accommodating 485 litres.

Skoda Superb 5dr Hatch 1.4TSI SE L DSG

P11D: £34,700

Residual value: 35.7%

Depreciation: £22,325

Fuel: TBC

Service, maintenance and repair: £2,100

Cost per mile: TBC

Fuel consumption: 188.3mpg

CO2 (BIK band): 35g/km (16%) 

BIK 20/40% a month: £93/£186

Boot space: 485 litres

Engine size/power: 1,395cc, four-cylinder petrol engine, 115hp electric motor/combined power output 218hp


Verdict


8/10
  • Tax-efficient powertrain
  • Masses of interior space
  • Smooth performance
  • Annoying synthetic whirr when driving in E mode
  • Reduced boot space
  • Substantial premium over diesel models

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