Provided by Independent.ie

Skoda has several reasons to be jolly this Christmas, and even more for 2020.

The shape of Skoda’s upgraded all-new Octavia, the best-selling model, has been revealed to almost universal critical acclaim and will be here by the middle of next year with hybrid and plug-in hybrid options.

And the company now has a full SUV range. The Kodiaq, which is available with seven seats, and the mid-size Karoq, a Qashqai rival, are to be joined by its Kamiq in the all-important compact SUV market where it will compete with such top guns as the VW T-Cross and Citroen C3 Aircross nest year.

All Skoda models are moving upmarket and into the luxury class of specifications on the new models. Nowhere is this more true than in the flagship Superb model which has recently had a facelift and is ready for the off.

It has already been available in petrol and diesel versions and will arrive in plug-in hybrid form early next year with the iV badge designation. Only 250 units of the electric/petrol model will be available next year, so those eager to get behind the wheel of one will have to be quick off the mark.

There be a bit of a battle for sales in the VW family. The Passat GTE (which has gone on sale with the same electric/petrol technology as the Superb iV at a heavily reduced price of €42,495 with all grants included) is now nearer the entry price of the Superb iV which, in Ambition trim, costs €40,350.

The Passat price adjustment is probably more to woo the diesel brigade, and makes the point that the GTE level of trim in the Passat is more in line with the higher specification Sportline version of the Superb which costs €45,850.

The Superb offers a comfortable and quiet drive, even when the petrol motor kicks in. In hybrid electric mode (which Skoda says has a range of 63km), it is so quiet that it has an ”e-noise” sound generator to warn other road users. Commuters can now, for instance, make a Naas to Dublin round-trip without using any petrol – so substantial savings can be made.

The savings come from the combination of a 156bhp 1.4 litre TSI petrol engine working alongside an 85 KW electric motor that generates 115bhp (combined 218bhp). An overnight charge from a domestic plug takes five hours and just 3.5 hours from a more powerful wall box.

The battery can also be charged on the go through brake regeneration, so you can build up reserves of power on out-of-town runs and drive totally pollution free in cities and urban areas. Both power units work together with their interplay controlled – and this, Skoda claims, can deliver a combined consumption of 1.5l/100km which reflects in CO2 emissions as low as 35g/km. Annual road tax is €170.

A test drive over mixed terrain and some urban routes resulted in 3.3l/100km, which is over 85mpg but more careful driving could improve these figures. A combination of both drive modes gives the Superb a total range of 930km. The top speed is 244km/h. There are three driving modes to choose from – sport, e-mode and driving – depending on the urgency of the journey.

Excellent build quality, loads of boot space and rear legroom have made the Superb a top choice for price-conscious large families and taxi drivers. Now, however, the battery, which is a hefty 130kg, had reduced the boot area by 100 litres to 484 litres.

Prices start at €40,350 for the entry Liftback Ambition model with the Style version (boasting a high level of safety and infotainment technology and expected to be the big seller) costing €43,850. The Combi versions are priced from €41,850 to €49,850.

Provided by Independent.ie