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(Pocket-lint) – Let’s face it, if you are going to give your automobile a reputation like Very good you then’ve both bought a superb sense of humour or have nice religion within the product. However on condition that the Very good comes from a model like Skoda, there is a affordable risk that each are true.

The Skoda model has adopted fairly an offbeat, likeable, and (within the UK the place it was as soon as the butt of jokes) a intelligent, tongue-in-cheek vibe through the years. However the joke’s been on the doubters, as Skoda’s gross sales have soared, the merchandise have gone from energy to energy and, for savvy customers the model gives Volkswagen platforms, expertise and design qualities at a number of value rungs under the everyday VW degree.

Our fast take

It’s totally exhausting to not just like the Skoda Very good. It is an sincere automobile that provides quite a lot of bang to your buck, delivering plenty of room and much more tools as customary than vehicles at an equal value level.

It is actually sufficient to make you suppose twice about choosing certainly one of its group stablemates from VW – if it had been a alternative between the 2, we actually wrestle to see why you’d select a Passat over a Very good. The angle of the manufacturers is, paradoxically, summed up by the CarPlay factor. Within the Skoda you get it customary, totally free. VW makes you pay £100 further for “AppConnect” to ensure that it to be enabled.

The Very good exhibits simply how far Skoda has moved on. Its picture appeals, the design is nice, the standard is excessive and the automobile is – on this Enterprise format – good worth. It won’t fairly reside as much as its identify in each single division, however the Very good is an excellent automobile certainly.

Skoda Superb review: At the business end

Skoda Very good

4.5 stars – Pocket-lint advisable

For

  • House
  • Design
  • Consolation
  • CarPlay/Android Auto performance as customary
In opposition to

  • Lacks wow issue
  • Inside lacks tech-modernity of Audis
  • Drive lacks sparkle

Skoda Very good 2.0 TDi SE Enterprise evaluate: Taking part in its personal sport

Very good consumers have come to worth a degree of house and tools that you simply’d solely anticipate in vehicles from the sector above, at costs from the sector under. Or to place it merely: for the £22k that our Skoda Very good SE Enterprise prices in 2.0 TDi format, you’d not usually look forward to finding adaptive cruise management, electrical seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, and a boot capability that is practically 600 litres giant all as customary.

The entrance chairs really feel heavyweight spec (puny frames may get misplaced of their luxurious padding), the rear chairs present sufficient leg room for the Very good to double as a limo, and the boot of this hatch is barely bested by the cavernous (however presumably higher trying) Property model.

Skoda Very good 2.0 TDi SE Enterprise evaluate: Sharp suited

And it is within the seems to be division the place the Very good has taken the best step ahead when stood towards the automobile it replaces. The house and tools values have been plain to see all through the Very good mannequin’s historical past.

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However the seems to be have at all times been barely of the “is that an Octavia? Oh no it is the larger one” high quality. Now the Very good is arguably one of the best trying automobile within the Skoda vary. What notably impressed us was the sharp, crisp panel creases – the form of factor that exhibits Skoda has invested in its metallic stamping expertise to a degree the place, in the event you cowl up the badge, you would simply mistake it for an Audi.

What’s extra the entrance lights (£1,295 non-obligatory super-white, vivid Xenons with computerized excessive beam on our check automobile) are bejewelled, angular items that give the Very good an intense stare. As we discovered on our many miles up and down the M1, it turns the Very good right into a, er, excellent quick lane clearing machine.

Skoda Very good 2.0 TDi SE Enterprise evaluate: Merely intelligent

Inside, the charcoal plastics, black lacquer finishes and gray alcantara seats of our check automobile make this an inoffensive, however character-free inside. What you are served up is Volkswagen  ranges of easy-to-use switchgear, clear shows and slush-moulded plastics that give a notion of high quality that is exhausting to inform other than a VW.

The Skoda lacks the tech prospers of the newest Audi fashions, nevertheless it will get the job carried out simply high-quality with none of the irritating ergonomics of, say, a French automobile, or needy security reminders and blue display screen 80s-ness of Japanese merchandise.

What we notably get pleasure from is the vary of sensible options (branded “merely intelligent”): there are two umbrellas hidden (one in every entrance door); the nets and cubby holes are precisely the place you’d need them; the plastic dividers which snap out of the boot facet panels; the Velcro onto the carpet, which implies in the event you’ve something small like a bag of buying or single bottle of wine then you possibly can simply lure it in and cease it rolling round.

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Skoda Very good 2.0 TDi SE Enterprise evaluate: In-house system?

Up entrance, the Very good is effectively off within the tech stakes too. This SE Enterprise spec nets you a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Skoda’s personal navigation software program, plus DAB radio, a media interface that can permit music streaming by Bluetooth, and nearly the whole lot else you’d anticipate in a contemporary automobile.

These conversant in the VW group’s touchscreens and navigation software program will probably be unsurprised to listen to this technique is principally the identical because the one present in Seat and VW merchandise. It is pretty quick-reacting, contains a proximity sensor which pops-up the secondary menu at any time when your hand approaches the display screen, and you’ll replicate nearly any operate. As well as changes for issues just like the radio can occur through steering wheel controls, and there is a very clear, intuitive show in-between the speedo and rev counter.

As touchscreens go, we discover it straightforward to make use of. It is mounted a bit low within the general dashboard, however its menus aren’t too deep and the exhausting shortcut buttons flanking the display screen make it straightforward to leap between nav, media, radio, and cellphone.

The dangerous factors are that it typically would not deal very effectively with postcode entry, the map graphic’s colors aren’t at all times clear – notably when it comes to the route you are following  – and, nowadays, a 6.5-inch display screen frankly feels a bit small. That final difficulty’s averted by upgrading to a much bigger 8-inch “Columbus” Display screen/Nav system, which you get as customary from the following degree SE L mannequin and above within the Very good vary.

Skoda Very good 2.0 TDi SE Enterprise evaluate: Or CarPlay?

What the Skoda system provides on high is the power to make use of your cellphone to do all of the stuff you are usually leaving to the automobile – as a result of you possibly can run Android Auto or Apple CarPlay with the usual App Join system. For this evaluate we have centered on utilizing CarPlay, the Apple system which we’ll convey a fuller evaluate of sooner or later – as soon as we have sampled it in just a few extra automobiles

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You’ll be able to’t use CarPlay through Bluetooth, because it solely works when the cellphone is plugged in through USB. All of the menus are straightforward to make use of as a result of they’re immediately recognisable out of your cellphone, simply in a paired again consumer interface with larger icons.

Of the non-standard apps, Spotify struggled, typically needing a tough restart through the cellphone if it was interrupted by a name otherwise you flicked to the radio. This can be a identified and ongoing difficulty throughout many producers (we have skilled it in Audi setups too). Apple Maps remains to be fallible, leaving us preferring Skoda’s. In the meantime Siri nonetheless cannot perceive our northern accent at 60mph on the M1 – and voice is the first (or solely within the case of textual content) interface you need to use to name when shifting.

Maybe the largest difficulty, nonetheless, is the best way CarPlay (and Android Auto has the identical points) combine into the automobile’s wider techniques. You start to see clues as to why Apple is supposedly growing its personal automobile: as a result of proper now the system feels hobbled. Within the Very good, you possibly can’t management any of CarPlay’s capabilities through the steering wheel and gauge pack show (like skipping a music).

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And in the event you come out of CarPlay to do one thing like change the radio station, then to get again into CarPlay you are one exhausting button press and a few display screen prods away from the place you had been – as a result of it’s good to discover it once more within the Skoda’s dwelling display screen menu. Which turns into tedious in little time. A bodily CarPlay shortcut button can be ultimate, nevertheless it’s not going to occur in any automobile quickly. 

Even so, if CarPlay was an possibility in any car – and types like Volkswagen are asking for £100 for the performance – then we might nonetheless take it for the positives it provides, akin to Siri voice integration.

Skoda Very good 2.0 TDi SE Enterprise evaluate: Turning the wheel

As a big saloon automobile geared toward these doing a lot of miles, we by no means anticipated our 2.0TDi Very good to set the world on fireplace with its driving dynamics. And whereas the Very good’s driving expertise errs in direction of the “equipment” facet of issues, it’s refined.

Having spent 500-miles of our time was on motorways, we have been attaining round 55mpg (emissions of 108g/km CO2, so is corporate automobile tax pleasant), and the drive feels excellent for its 150 horsepower. The journey, on the small-ish wheels of our SE Enterprise spec automobile, is comparatively tender and comforting, however while you decide up the tempo it would not collapse.

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Whereas the 6-speed handbook field is inoffensive and slick to make use of, had been we doing a lot of miles we might be tempted to go together with the DSG auto. The upper-powered 190bhp TDi can be excessive on our precedence listing too, however to get it it’s good to step-up to SE L Government spec, and with the DSG field that automobile begins at £28,720. Which some will say is some huge cash for a Skoda. Given it nets you the larger sat nav display screen and a number of different tools, although, we might say it is nonetheless quite a lot of automobile for the cash.

To recap

Practically lives as much as its identify, and makes you query spending extra on a VW or Audi. Oodles of house, top quality, impressively refined design and the drive is sweet sufficient. Skoda has really arrived.

Writing by Joe Simpson.

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