"The Skoda Superb estate is the most spacious car in its class, but is also well built, impressively luxurious and fantastic to drive."
The Skoda Superb estate takes the best of Skoda's range-topping model, and combines it with increased practicality and an enormous load area. It's just as comfortable and easy to drive, but offers 633 litres of boot space that expands to a vast 1,865 litres when the rear seats are folded down, beating all its rivals for storage capability. You also get a button that automatically opens the electrically powered bootlid, which is particularly handy when it is pouring with rain and you have your hands full. When you’re behind the wheel it feels no different to the hatchback, well built and comfortable, with lots of space for passengers. The Skoda Superb estate comes in four main specifications – entry-level S, SE, Elegance, and top-of-the-range Laurin & Klement.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
The most efficient engine on offer in the Superb estate, is the 1.6-litre TDI CR Greenline diesel, which returns a claimed 65.7mpg in combined fuel economy and emits 113g/km of CO2, which places it in tax band C so will cost £30 a year in road tax. The least efficient is the 3.6-litre V6 4x4 DSG automatic petrol model, which returns 30.4mpg in fuel economy and emits 217g/km of CO2 (tax band K, £280 a year in tax). All models are generally cheap to run and while the petrol engines are smoother, they're generally less efficient. All of the diesel models come fitted with stop-start and brake energy recovery technology as standard, both of which help to lower overall emissions. You can get the more efficient Greenline on every model now, except the top of the range version, which instead gets special eco tyres and lower suspension, which makes it slightly less comfortable than the standard car. A six-speed gearbox is now also standard.
Interior & comfort
Good luck finding a more practical car that's as comfortable as the Superb estate. It has well-sprung soft suspension that irons out even the bumpiest of road surfaces, easily dealing with potholes and ruts. The interior is very quiet, with virtually no wind or road noise getting through the effective sound insulation – even the diesel engines fail to make much of a noise. There's plenty of room for passengers, who can very nearly stretch their legs out if they so wished. Headroom is a bit cramped for taller passengers, though, especially in the back.
Practicality & boot space
This is where the Superb estate truly excels, especially in terms of its massive load-carrying ability. The boot offers 633 litres of space with the standard-fit split-fold rear seats in place, which expands to a class-leading 1,865 litres when you fold them down flat. Furthermore, the low boot floor makes it very easy to load and unload large or bulky items, which is helped even more by the electrically powered bootlid. It's easily the most spacious car in its class, and even has a false boot floor that creates even more storage space. The rear seats do have to be flipped up to create a totally flat loading bay, but that's a small thing for what is otherwise one of the most practical cars you can buy. While passenger space is generally very good thanks to an abundance of legroom, headroom is a little cramped for any passengers over 6ft. You even get the option of have a removable torch built into the boot, and an umbrella that's housed in each rear door. There are also lots of storage cubbies and compartments dotted about.
Reliability & safety
The Superb estate is a Skoda, so – shock, horror – it's a reliable car. Skoda may technically have dropped one place in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, being knocked off the top of the manufacturers rankings by Lexus, but that number two placing isn’t actually anything to do with Skoda's performance. For instance, Skoda had the top two cars in the survey's list of top 100 cars – and the number two car just happens to be the Skoda Superb. And just like that standard hatchback model, the Superb estate uses top-drawer build quality and expensive-feeling materials that give the interior a truly luxurious feel. Side, curtain, driver and passenger airbags are all equipped standard, with the Superb earning the maximum five-star rating Euro NCAP crash safety tests. A Superb Outdoor, which gets extra plastic cladding on the bodywork, is also available, but while it may be well built, it doesn’t have any extra off-road capability than the standard Skoda Superb 4x4 estate.
Engines, drive & performance
The steering is precise and there's plenty of grip, which inspires the same confidence as the excellent handling in the standard Superb hatchback, especially when driving through corners. The estate also comes with four-wheel drive as an option, and all engines offer good performance. However, if speed is the key for you, we’d recommend avoiding the 1.4-litre TSI petrol, which can feel decidedly underpowered and is a bit expensive to run considering. The more powerful engines come with a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox that provides quick and seamless gear changes. Having said that, the six-speed manual gearbox is also a pleasure to use and means better fuel economy.
Price, value for money & options
It's one of the most spacious estates you can buy – and it's great value, too. This is the secret of the Skoda formula, the method that builds such committed customer loyalty. Entry-level S models come fitted with electric windows all-round, air-conditioning and 16-inch alloy wheels as standard, plus cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and a multifunction steering wheel, too. The SE specification also gets suede-effect Alcantara upholstery and dual-zone climate control for extra comfort. The top-of-the-range Elegance models are by far the most expensive, but they do come fitted with full-leather upholstery and sat-nav included in the list price. The Superb will also have strong resale value in the used market, so there won’t be any nasty surprises when you come to sell it second-hand.