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Skoda Outdoor is a family car that lives up to its name

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: March 22, 2014

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EVERYONE'S at it. The gentle suggestion, via plastic cladding and a mildly raised ride height, that a car might just have all-wheel drive isn't a novelty.

In fact, car manufacturers have been at it for years, in many cases without actually completing the job by building in drive to all four wheels.

Those with longer memories might remember the rather brazen Talbot Matra Rancho of the mid-Seventies, while in more recent times, we've seen cars like the Rover Streetwise, the Volkswagen Polo Dune, the Citroen C3 XTR and, to bring us right up to date, the Dacia Sandero Stepway.

So where does Skoda stand with the model we're going to look at here, the Superb Outdoor estate? The answer is that they haven't skimped.

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This is the real deal, with drive going to all four corners. As, to be fair, you would expect given that this car isn't an affordable hatchback with an SUV-style bodykit, like those already mentioned, but instead aims to compete with much pricier large luxury estates amongst buyers who prioritise all weather abilities and are interested in brand quality rather than brand image.

It's a cool, understated approach, but if you've an eye on value and like that sort of thing, then the Outdoor could be right up your street. Especially if that street happens to be on an icy hill.

Skoda could have really gone to town on this one with loads of cladding, auxiliary lights, big mud flaps and gnarly tyres but the Outdoor is, in fact, remarkably restrained.

In fact, you'll probably have to double take to check exactly what's changed from a styling perspective.

The wheel arches are now dressed with subtle plastic spats, and this theme extends to the base of the doors and the bumpers. It's a little more obvious if you specify the car in a pale paint finish, but darker Outdoor models are very low key indeed.

The 18-inch Luxon alloys are a very nice touch, although perhaps a bit big if you're really intent on bumping up dirt tracks.

The Estate version of the Superb might not have the clever tailgate arrangement of the saloon model but beneath its conventional lifting hatch is a luggage area of epic proportions.

There's 633-litres of room with all of the seats in place and when they're folded, that figure rises to 1,865-litres, larger than some studio flats.

When owners are hoisting all that cargo inside, they'll be glad of the low loading lip at 600mm and of the lighting system Skoda has integrated into the tailgate.

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