Cast your mind back a few years to the time when the MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) or ‘people carrier’ was all the rage. It was seen as the latest lifestyle vehicle for busy families, notable for its practicality.

Mums and dads loved it, and the pundits were confidently sounding the death knell of the estate car – the model which had previously fulfilled so many of its upstart sibling’s roles.

How wrong they were. The SUV (sports utility vehicle) has pretty much usurped the MPV while the estate car, often going under the title ‘sport wagon’ or some such designation, continues to do what it does with alacrity.

Skoda has been busy extending its SUV/crossover range, with the latest model – the compact Kamiq – just beginning to grace our roads. But its popular estate models are still busy serving the market so well and its largest, the handsome Superb, has had an update – as Asian Image discovered on a week-long road test.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

We found fresh design, an updated interior and more technology for the Czech Republic maker’s flagship, with new LED headlights and predictive cruise control available for the first time, six engine options, plus DSG (automatic) and 4x4 availability and six trim grades: S, SE, SE Technology, SE L, SportLine Plus and Laurin & Klement.

Our test car was an SE L model with a two-litre TSI petrol engine and DSG transmission, sporting, as standard, features including 18-inch Zenith alloy wheels, privacy glass and rear LED lights (high functionality) with animated indicators.

The SE L also features full matrix LED headlights with AFS (adaptive front light system) and LED daytime running lights. Inside, there is leather upholstery and heated front seats, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory and lumbar support and an infotainment system with touchscreen display and integrated wi-fi, with DAB, voice control and SmartLink+ for smartphone connectivity.

An electrically-operated boot-lid and colour multifunction trip computer are standard kit.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

You will also find dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and electrically folding door mirrors with puddle lights, light-assistant tech and driver-fatigue sensor. 

A number of new assistance systems are also making their debut, including predictive cruise control, while updated blind-spot detection now works at a distance of up to 70 metres.

The car’s elegant design has been subtly refined with a re-modelled radiator grille and a chrome trim between the LED tail lights. Thanks to a new front bumper, the Superb has grown a tad in length, while there is a more-than-generous amount of interior space and a mega boot capacity of 660 litres, (1,950 litres with the rear seats folded) setting a benchmark in its segment.

Inside the car, chrome highlights and contrasting stitching for the upholstery provide a fresh new look. 

The Superb Estate is a treat to drive, with the slick-changing seven-speed auto transmission laying down the power from the 188bhp four-cylinder power unit as smoothly as can be, while comfort is at a premium. I thoroughly enjoyed the heated seating as winter’s chill began to bite and the whole feeling of wellbeing that a spacious motor brings. Pace and performance are impressive, and the car feels well-planted and reassuring.

Manufacturer’s performance figures are: 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds, a top speed of 142mph and a combined fuel consumption of 37.7mpg-35.3mpg, with 141g/km CO2.

Early this year, the Superb will become Skoda’s first electrified model – the iV plug-in hybrid (PHEV), powered by a 1.4 TSI petrol engine (that delivers 154 bhp) and an 85kW electric motor. 

The combined maximum output of the two power sources is 216 bhp. The company says it will have CO2 emissions below 40g/km, along with an all-electric, zero-emission range of up to 34 miles thanks its integrated 13kWh battery.

Price: £33,790 (inc options).