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Our Skoda Superb stretches its legs on trip to Manchester and back

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Simon Davis has been behind the wheel of the Skoda Superb during a journey from Portsmouth to Manchester and back. How did it get on? Let him explain

After multiple trips to and from the airport, and even shorter trips from the office to home, this month I finally got the chance to take our Skoda Superb long-termer out on a proper long-distance journey.

The destination? Manchester. Reason for travel? Radiohead were playing at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground and there was no way I was going to miss it. From Portsmouth to Manchester and back added up to about 500 miles and close to nine hours on the road. A proper slog, then.

I was incredibly pleased the Skoda was my weapon of choice for the journey. The Czech manufacturer reckons its 2.0-litre, 148bhp diesel engine will manage 62.8mpg on the combined cycle, and thanks to its practical estate layout, there was plenty of room for my two housemates as well.

The Skoda's large boot made it ideal for a long journey
(PA)

With all of our bags packed into the Superb’s ginormous 660-litre boot (there was a ridiculous amount of room to spare, too), we set off out of Portsmouth, hit the first of a number of motorways and engaged the car’s adaptive cruise control.

Now, adaptive cruise control seems to be a feature that divides opinion. When turned on, it will detect any cars in front of you, and match your speed to that of the vehicle ahead. If you then indicate and pull out to overtake, it will automatically accelerate and bring you back up to your set speed.

Some people find this speed-matching feature a bit annoying – mainly because they won’t realise that their car has slowed down and been travelling at 60mph for the past couple of miles. However, if you stay alert and anticipate slower vehicles ahead of you, adaptive cruise control is a brilliant thing to have. I can probably count on one hand the number of times my feet touched the pedals while on the motorway.

The Superb remained frugal over the length of the journey
(PA)

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There was one feature that did get a bit irritating on the journey, however – the satellite navigation. This wasn’t annoying because it didn’t work, but because the announcements were far too frequent, and often unnecessary. At times, it seemed like every mile we travelled the system would pipe up and tell us to “continue driving straight”, even when there wasn’t an option of turning off anywhere. This constant repetition of a singular soundbite in a not entirely human voice eventually earned the sat nav the not-so-affectionate nickname ‘Theresa’. Thankfully, there was a setting that could change the frequency of the announcements so they weren’t as intrusive.

Eventually we arrived in Manchester. The journey had gone incredibly smoothly – aside from a small amount of animosity towards the sat nav. However, parking proved to be a bit of a challenge. This wasn’t because we couldn’t find a space, but rather because the Skoda isn’t exactly a small car, and the car park itself was incredibly tight. That said, after a considerable amount of manoeuvring we were parked up and off to the hotel.

The journey home to Portsmouth the next day was just as stress-free, and while we didn’t quite match the Skoda’s claimed 62.8mpg economy figure, we still managed 56mpg or so – which isn’t bad! For the entire trip, fuel came to £60 or so.

All up, the Skoda was really impressive. This sort of journey is what the car is made for, and the ease with which it undertook the journey cemented it as a proper long-distance cruiser in my eyes. There was only one thing that really overshadowed the Skoda, and that was the fact that the Radiohead gig was hands-down the best live show I’ve ever been to.

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