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Driven: Skoda Superb 2.8 V6 Elegance



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Smooth. Luxurious. Elegant. Three years ago motorists would rarely associate these adjectives with a Skoda. But its Volkswagen parentage has brought the brand forward to become a strong contender for retail and fleet buyers, and led to it entering the upper-medium saloon market in 2002 with the Superb.

At its heart of this range-topping model is a smooth, powerful V6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission which can hustle the car along at speeds well in excess of the legal limits. At motorway speeds the car remains very quiet and relaxed, so much so that a glance at the speedometer becomes a regular necessity if you want to remain on the right side of the law.

The top specification Elegance trim provides a high level of luxury for a relatively low cost, adding 17in alloys, chrome trim, part leather upholstery with heated, electric front seats and a wood-effect console to an already comprehensive equipment list which includes climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors and a 6-disc CD changer. This is a car which delivers so much, yet for a price tag which leaves buyers with enough change for a decent holiday when compared to its rivals.

Strengths: Quality finish, smooth ride, torquey engine, value
Weaknesses: Sat-nav is not standard
Opportunity: Savvy executives and brand rebels
Threat : Car park snobs
USP: Audi quality at a great price
Price: £21,540
Engine: 2.8-litre, 30v, V6, 193bhp
Transmission: five-speed auto, fwd
Performance: 0-62mph 9.4secs, top speed 144mph
Efficiency: 27.2mpg combined, 250g/km CO2
Rivals: VW Passat, Audi A4, BMW 3-Series

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