What could be more suited to a 600-mile round trip to Scotland than the Skoda Superb? I was more than happy to take the keys off the PistonHeads team bright and early on Monday morning and set off, straight for the borders. The enormous boot swallowed up all of the suitcases, walking paraphernalia and, of course, plenty of camera gear. The joy of this car - or one of the joys, rather - is the huge amount of space in the back seats: four adults can sit in great comfort, with all their stuff, for long distances. The miles flew by in huge comfort - this is a great car for hauling a huge amount of stuff about. 280hp is more than enough to excite on a Scottish B-road, and despite the car's size it feels composed and instils confidence to carry speed into the corners. The lack of vRS badges is welcomed as the ride comfort is not at all compromised and it doesn't try to be overly sporty. Discreet performance is always a good thing; it surprised a few people along the way, myself included!
Worth the journey then!
This trip was always going to be more about photographing rather than road testing, seeing as I am more commonly seen behind a camera than a steering wheel. In Dumfries and Galloway there are many beautiful roads and locations to choose from. With the help of some local knowledge (thanks Suzanne!) we tracked down some great locations and even with some torrential rain I came away with a memory card full of fantastic photos. All while driving some brilliant roads, too.
Heading up the M1 and across the A66 put us through some incredible scenery before we had even crossed the border. Stopping for some photos along the way was a must, though I don't think my girlfriend had quite realised what she had signed up for. Holidaying with a photographer is always the same; "Ooh let's just stop here for a few photos" was a phrase used far too often. On the second day we ventured off the beaten track to photograph the car in front of a viaduct; all-wheel drive was a reassuring thing to have, though probably not essential. With the fine weather holding we made the most of it and headed up for a view of the sea, where the car looked perfectly suited. Add a coating of grime and mud to the all-black colour scheme and it appears the true outdoor pursuit machine. Who needs a Land Rover anyway?
The next day the weather turned: solid, heavy rain. Still, undeterred, we ventured out to our next location. Turning off the A75 revealed a gem of a road: the A712 is sensational to drive, with a stunning backdrop and great sets of complex bends stretching 10 miles to the Clatteringshaws Loch. The Skoda has plenty of grunt to get you past the slower moving cars on what is a mostly quiet road. On arrival we quickly changed the plan of shooting the beautiful view across the Loch - due to the complete lack of visibility - and instead set up to shoot some moody images with the forests as backdrop.
The day after that we headed along to find a coastal fishing village where I could get down by the water with the car (without upsetting any locals, of course!). Another notable road on route was the A755 to Kirkcudbright, a short section of road with some tight turns and great undulations. With the added reward of some great fish and chips at the end!
The Skoda has another fan now!
On the final day we were treated to once again some glorious sunshine, a rainbow and then yet more sunshine. One final visit to the coast to bag the last few shots before heading home. While superb is a predictable - and painful - summation of the car, the big Skoda really is damn impressive. By easily taking all of the camera gear with such ease and providing plenty of grunt for some spirited driving, it was the perfect all-rounder. For me as a photographer with lots of gear it's a perfect fit. Its blend of comfort and space along with great performance has got me browsing the PH classifieds for vRS Octavias now - if I didn't love fast estates enough before, I certainly do now!
[Words: Chris Teagles]
Car: Skoda Superb 280 Estate
On fleet since: February 2017
List price new: £35,300 (As tested £40,255 comprising £600 for Canton sound system, £435 for Crew protection assist and rear side airbags, £750 for Dynamic Chassis control, £350 for front and rear parking sensors, £250 for heated front seats, £765 for integrated towbar, £45 for Isofix on front passenger seat, £150 for LED light package rear, £350 for rear-view parking camera, £90 for rear backrest releases from boot, £100 for temporary space saver spare wheel, £150 for variable boot floor, £600 for virtual pedal, £20 for waste bin in door panel and £300 for wireless phone charging with Bluetooth)
Last month at a glance: Holiday holdall? It's great for that too!
The big Skoda has a big job to do!
Drag racing a Skoda? Completed it