Skoda Superb Estate: Camping

Skoda Superb hits the road to Wales

Big estates are not known for their driving prowess. Apart from the odd notable exception such as BMW's M5 or Audi's RS6 - that are both ridiculous fast and ridiculous expensive - most are tarred with the slow-mo brush.

However, the Superb is impressing not only with its comfortable ride but also its handling and alacrity in dispensing with corners. So much so that on a long drive to a date with a camping site in North Wales I found myself grinning from ear to ear as I swished and swooped from corner to corner along the along the A570 and A598.

From the driver's seat the Superb feels more like a performance hatch capable of hovering up twisty mile after twisty mile. I had to get out to look and remind myself that not only is the Superb an estate car, but a long and capacious one at that.

On the motorway the ride feels compliant, and combined with the supportive part-leather seats it's an accomplished motorway cruiser. What's more, rear passengers get the same luxurious treatment with lots of leg and shoulder room. This car can genuinely take five adults and their luggage on a long journey in comfort.

Slotting my racing bicycle into the boot for the long weekend did involve removing its front wheel as well as folding the car's rear seats. The boot dividers proved of great use - especially the strap version which stopped the bike sliding around.

The good news is that you can fold the rear seats for a flat load area, though moving the rear seat bases involves an almost origami approach to flipping them up and forward. However the rear seat backs fold at the press of a button - it's all easy once you know how.

Gripes? The sat nav is not the best in the business and isn't familiar with some Welsh places. The system could not look up Capel Curig or Betws-y-Coed, but could find locations using the postcode look-up. The screen isn't massive but the combination of that and the display between the speedo and the rev counter means there is little risk of taking a wrong turn.

Fuel consumption remains around the 36mpg mark, which isn't bad, and the long motorway trip meant I finally clocked more than 400 miles to a tank (412 as it happens). I will be testing to see just how efficient the Superb Estate can be and if I can't increase the number of miles it can squeeze out of a tank full.

Current mileage: 1,204

Average mpg: 36.0

Enough room even for Pavarotti to sit and sing