by Seán Creedon

We all like a bit of history and try to trace our roots. Skoda is one of the big success stories in the motoring trade in recent years.

However, there was a time when it didn’t have such a great reputation. But everything in life can be improved and Skoda has since it was incorporated into the VW group in 1991.

The history of the Czech company goes back to 1894 when Vaclav Klement and Vaclav Laurin formed a company to repair bicycles.

The idea came from Klement, who had bought a bicycle from a German company and after finding a problem with the bike he wrote a letter in the Czech language to the company requesting they repair it.

The new Skoda Superb. (Picture: Paddy McGrath)

The German company replied that they would only deal with his request if the letter was written in a ‘comprehensible’ language. Klement, who at that stage ran a bookshop, was so annoyed he formed a company along with his friend Laurin to repair bikes.

Laurin and Klement progressed from bikes to motor bikes and then to cars in 1905. In 2015 Skoda celebrated their centenary by naming executive versions of their Octavia and Superb after their founders.

If you give a car a name like ‘Superb’ then you have to ensure that it lives up to that moniker and there no doubt that Skoda’s Superb lives up to its name.

The new Skoda Superb. (Picture: Paddy McGrath)

Skoda has always done well in Ireland with their Superb and this third generation, certainly lives up to the good reputation the Czech company now has.

At the Irish launch of the second generation of the Superb Ray Leddy, Skoda’s Marketing Manager in Ireland said that their aim was to try and grab a bigger share of the fleet market.

Not only is the revamped version up to ‘fleet’ requirements, it’s so smooth and comfortable you could use it if you were in the limousine business.

Last week I drove the Combi version of the Superb. None of the car companies use the ‘Estate’ word anymore and Combi is the name Skoda use for their Estate or Station Wagon.

You cannot but be impressed about the space in this car. It’s also a really long motor, with the sunroof adding to the elongated look.

You would need to be wearing your ‘Skoda Anorack’ to spot the changes/improvements.

The new Skoda Superb. (Picture: Paddy McGrath)

But you might notice the narrower headlights with LED technology as standard. We got the first Superb in Ireland in 2001 and there are now over more 18,000 on our roads.

I think Volvo were probably the first brand to spell out their name across the door of the boot. Now Ford do the same with their Focus as does Skoda. I think it looks impressive to have the name printed across the boot door.

Prices for the regular Superb diesel start at €33,407, while my test car the 2.0-litre automatic L&K Combi with lots of goodies, will cost you €53,407. Road tax is €200. Naturally there is a massive boot plus a full-size spare wheel.

There is a plug-in hybrid version called the Superb iV coming next year. Only 250 units will be available in Ireland and Skoda are advising anybody interested to order now.

If you watch Skoda ads on television you will be familiar with the dulcet tones of Brian de Salvo saying ‘‘It may not be made here, but everything about a Skoda is made for Ireland.’ Yes, we Irish have certainly embraced the Skoda range.