Long-term report: The Skoda Superb iV electrifies the fleet
We’ve been handed the keys to a new Skoda Superb hybrid – but how are things to begin with? Dave Brown finds out
You probably don’t need me to tell you that Skoda has made enormous strides as a car manufacturer in recent years.
Any jokes cracked at the Czech manufacturer’s expense belong firmly in the last millennium and it’s entering the 2020s with confidence thanks to a range of excellent cars such as the clever and compact Citigo, the eye-catching Fabia supermini and the seven-seat Kodiaq SUV.
The most recent new car sales figures show the brand is increasingly popular, too.
UK registrations of new Skodas in the 12 months to the end of February were up a solid eight per cent against a market down three.
And as part of the Volkswagen Group, Skoda is moving with the times. VW is investing a staggering £56 billion in new technology and electrification over the next five years, making the dark days of dieselgate a distant memory.
All of which brings us to the latest model to join our fleet of long-term loan cars: a Skoda Superb Hatchback iV – an example of the first electrified model to be marketed by the carmaker and one of the first from its iV ‘sub-brand’, of which more later.
It’s been available to order since the start of the year and put simply, is a facelifted Superb (the name’s been around for a while) equipped with advanced tech and a low-emission hybrid engine.
Combining a turbocharged 1.4-litre TSI petrol unit and 85kW electric motor, the car delivers a total performance of 215bhp and CO2 emissions of less than 40g/km.
It also offers a zero-emission drive of more than 30 miles and can travel up to 578 miles on a full tank and a fully-charged battery when in hybrid mode.
It certainly looks pretty sleek and stylish although with its black pearl-effect paint job, I have been asked if I have been moonlighting as the local mayor of the town in which I live!
Over the next few months, there will be time to discuss all kinds of things about this car but for this introductory report, we’ll look at the practicalities of everyday life with KY69 MPF.
First up: Does it work well as a pure EV? Answer: Absolutely – as long as you don’t want to travel more than 35 miles or so before the car switches to petrol power. That’s handy for me as a round trip to the office and home again is probably about half that.
Charging couldn’t be easier, thanks to an easily-accessed socket behind the car’s grille. Two cables are supplied – one with a three-pin plug on the end for a home-style socket; the other a ‘type 2’ cable designed to be used at public charging points or with a wall-box.
There’s no need to think about where to store the cables, by the way. A nifty compartment in the boot provides plenty of room for both.
In E-mode, the car is powered exclusively by its battery while in hybrid mode, the electronics optimise the balance between the petrol engine and the electric motor.
I’ve found charging very straightforward and the car has fitted very well into my life over the 10 days or so since being handed the keys.
The three-pin cable works fine whether I’m using the charging point in the office car park or the socket in my garage at home. A quick trip to our local Asda saw me put the type 2 cable to good use, with the help of a BP Chargemaster / Polar Plus card.
I haven’t ventured very far afield in KY69MPF so far – mainly because, like everyone else I guess, my social life is being somewhat curtailed by coronavirus concerns.
So after 10 days behind the wheel, I have yet to add any unleaded to the tank. Maybe life is a little dull at the moment but not having to spend anything on petrol is a very nice feeling!
Finally, a word about that iV moniker – the two letters representing the Skoda sub-brand, as I mentioned. I was wondering what the two letters stood for so made a few inquiries. The ‘i’ apparently stands for the characteristics that make iV models stand out, such as innovative and intelligent, iconic and inspiring. The ‘V’ simply stands for… vehicle! Stands to reason I suppose.
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