After much research and reading of reviews, we went driving.
We were originally looking at an Octavia wagon and the dealer suggested that we take the Superb 103TDI for a drive to compare them. Well, that as that say was that. Once I'd had a drive I was sold. That the Superb was $10,000 dearer at the time didn't matter at all.
Simply, what's not to like?
This car has everything you could want with the possible exception of sat nav, and even then that's being picky. We ordered two options - Lava Blue metallic paint and the pull-up rear door blinds. The latter as a nod to families and, at $200, the cheapest option that will potentially help resell the car to a family. No more suction cup kiddy blinds here!
We've dogs, not children, so blinds were purely for resale. However, we use a 'hammock' across the back seat and that traditionally blocks the rear vents. In the Superb these are in the 'B' pillar and mean that the air conditioning and heating is far more effective, reaching your face and not your knees. The two-stage luggage blind that simply needs a tap and it retracts is fantastic as are the half dozen grocery hooks in the boot, which together with the fabric and solid dividers and flexible tie-down points helps to make a vast and practical boot even more so.
Performance is simply great. The gearbox did take a little getting used to as it does drive a little differently to a traditional automatic, but the changes are good and the economy out of this car has been nothing short of amazing. How does and in-town average of 5.7 litres/100klm grab you? Yes, this is in Canberra where most roads are congestion free most of the time, but it is still amazing economy from a car weighing 1600kg and size of a Commodore wagon. On a trip to Sydney we see 4.7 litres/100klm or nearly 60mpg in old money. Since owning the Superb, we have never used more than 5.9 litres/100klm.
My only criticism, and it isn't major, is that the ride is firm if the car is lightly laden. Add a passenger, a couple of overnight bags and an esky to the boot for a weekend trip to the coast and suddenly you could be in a different car, such is the difference to the ride.
In summation, we wouldn't hesitate to recommend either a Superb or Skoda in general.