It's 2011 and we've all become a little bit older, a little bit wiser and a little bit fatter (well, that's the case in the N2G office at least). It's that middle point we need to focus on, the 'wiser' bit. With that wisdom should come warm feelings towards the manufacturer that once only offered warmth via the medium of a heated rear screen on your hands whilst pushing said car along the A12 - probably because a con-rod had fallen out or something.
Yes, be wise and embrace the fact those days are gone! Skoda is not a laughing-stock any more; it's a force to be reckoned with and one which has produced some great cars of late, cars like Not £2 Grand fave, the Octavia VRs. We're choosing to ignore the Roomster as that's one odd looking fish, and because it's still really bloody expensive. Anyway, we digress.
The car we're getting all giddy about this week is the Superb. As names go, the Superb is rubbish. Seriously, Superb? Then again it is better than Skoda S'not Bad, or Skoda Fantastic. Actually, we would have gone with Fantastic, because it is (see how we wrote that whole paragraph to meet our own needs? POW! That's snappy journalism for you).
The Superb was released around 2002 and, quite frankly, it is the biggest slab of internally combusted plagiarism to ever hit the road. Stay with us though, because in the context of the Superb it's not a bad thing.
The early 2000s were a time when people started looking at Skodas as a viable option for getting the family from A to B. The Octavia and Fabia were big sellers, robbing sales from Ford, Vauxhall and VW in impressive numbers. Skoda wanted a bigger slice of the pie, though, and the slice they wanted most was the executive sector. Yeah, an executive Skoda. Who'da thunk it? Still, Skoda had Lingyu in its crosshairs, which helped.
No, not this fella...
...that's Pingu, children's favourite and plasticine hero. No, we're talking about this...
...the VW Passat Lingyu. Never heard of it? Nope, neither had we until about four seconds ago. Basically it's a Chinese Passat with an extra 100mm (or 3.9inches) stuffed into its middle, making it like a limo, sort of. It's an ironic twist that a nation populated by people of a stature which ensures the top of the wardrobe remains a permanent mystery have brought us one of the largest cars in its class. Odd.
Now, as Skoda are owned by VW, the cheeky scamps at Skoda Design HQ thought it would be fine to nick the China-only Lingyu, slap a Skoda badge on it and sell it to Europeans on the basis that it was a swish Passat WHICH THEY'D COME UP WITH ALL ON THEIR OWN. VW tussled Skoda's hair, gave them a wink and let them crack on. Wise move.
When it hit UK dealerships everyone knew what Skoda had done, but no one cared. Why should they? I looked as good as a Passat, but it was longer and it had UMBRELLAS IN THE DOORS. LIKE A CHUFFIN' ROLLS ROYCE! It also had leather, electric everything, sat-nav (in most cases) and more. It was the flagship of the Skoda brand, and rightly so. It sold well, too. Mainly because it was cheaper than a fully-loaded Passat while being 100mm longer, and that 100mm is crucial *there was a penis joke here, but we edited it out*.
Now you can expect to get a 2.8 V6 (that's a VW engine, folks) with all the gizmos for your £2000, really shop around and you might get a diesel with less than 6,000,000 miles on it. Try getting a Passat of the same spec and year for the same moolah and you'll come up short, by more than 100mm (see what we did there, yeah, wordplay). We would go for the petrol, mind. Thirsty, yes, but much less likely to have been a taxi (a lot of diesels suffered that fate once they hit the used car market).
We'd buy one, and then every time we saw a Passat we'd giggle because ours is longer (we'll stop with gags now, honest). Seriously though, a sub 10 year-old 'flagship' car for less than £2000? If that's not great value we don't know what is. Never has a car embodied what we're about here at Not £2 Grand as much as the Superb does. Get one bought!
Oh, and in a media savvy way, we'd like to tell you that this very update has been featured on Motors.co.uk which is nice. It's a good place to get hunting for sub-£2000 cars.