Skoda Superb Estate

£20,260 - £36,365

Building on the solid foundations of the hatchback, the Skoda Superb Estate is a well proportioned, good-looking large estate car. It's also well built, has a range of modern, efficient engines to choose from, offers a solid driving experience and is very competitively priced.

Perhaps its greatest success is how it combines all the above with a fantastic degree of practicality, boasting a huge load compartment and masses of cabin space. The boot is bigger and the interior more spacious than the Ford Mondeo Estate, Volkswagen Passat Estate or the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer.

It's made even more attractive by the fact that it can comfortably outscore a good few ‘premium’ cars from the class above in a number of key areas, thanks in part to a more spacious interior than the BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Estate. If you’re looking at cars like these, the Skoda Superb Estate should definitely be on your radar too.

There's a broad choice of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines to choose from. The list of petrol engines starts with the 123bhp 1.4-litre engine and is topped with a powerful 276bhp 2.0-litre petrol combined with a four-wheel-drive system. The latter delivers serious pace but it comes at the expense of economy.

The 148bhp version of the 1.4-lire is the most economical if it's teamed with an automatic gearbox. The excellent DSG twin-clutch gearbox helps the engine to achieve 55.4mpg and CO2 emissions that result in an annual tax bill of £20. If you’re looking for performance above all, the 276bhp 2.0-litre petrol sprints from 0-62mph in just 5.8 seconds, returning official economy of 39.2mpg. Mind you that's still not a disastrous figure for the performance on offer.

The diesel choices are likely to be more popular, as their nature suits the mile-munching character of the Superb. There's a 118bhp 1.6-litre TDI and two 2.0-litre engines producing 148 or 189bhp. The best economy comes from the smallest engine in GreenLine trim. Iit manages an excellent 76.4mpg and produces CO2 emissions low enough that it's tax exempt.

In contrast, the least fuel efficient diesel combination is the 187bhp 2.0-litre with four-wheel-drive and an automatic gearbox. You’ll only get 55.4mpg from this but you also get a 7.6-second 0-62mph time. The DSG automatic gearbox, incidentally, is available as an option on all Superb Estates apart from the least powerful 123bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine.

Maximum performance isn’t really what the Superb Estate range is all about, with the 276bhp car being the obvious exception. The mid-range diesels will prove more popular and our favourite, the 148bhp 2.0-litre engine, can propel the Estate from 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds. This makes keeping pace with motorway traffic a breeze, with plenty of punch for overtaking available.

For those who need the extra grip and reassurance of four-wheel-drive it can be specified with all but the least powerful engines. However, it does cost about £1,500 extra and it's added weight and complexity has a negative effect on economy and emissions, increasing running costs.

While nobody is likely to find the Skoda Superb Estate as enjoyable to drive as the smaller, more expensive BMW 3-Series, it feels secure and planted on the road whilst offering a quiet ride. It's barely troubled by wind noise, even at motorway speeds, while passengers can stretch out in unruffled comfort in the spacious, well built interior.

There are five trim levels to choose from, all of which are well equipped, with even the base model having air-conditioning, electric windows all round and a Bluetooth equipped five-inch touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio. Things get really impressive if you opt for the SE, which upgrades the air-conditioning to a dual-zone climate control system, with rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control (which maintains a set distance from the car in front) and introduces umbrellas built into the front doors, one of our favourite Superb features.

The SE-L is properly luxurious, adding leather seats (heated in the front), dark tinted glass, a sat-nav system, electrically operated tailgate and brighter bi-xenon headlamps. The range-topping Laurin & Klement model, named after the founders of the Skoda company, is the ultimate expression of what a Superb can be, with further interior upgrades, an uprated sound system and very little left on the options list.

If you’re after a more purposeful-looking Superb Estate, SportLine trim is worth a look. This model sits between SE-L and Laurin & Klement trims and promises a more involving driving experience. It features 19-inch alloy wheels and lowered suspension, while inside sports seats and a three-spoke steering wheel echo the racy exterior styling.

There are enough different variants of engine, gearbox and trim that the number of possible combinations is a little mind-boggling. Our favourite combination is the 148bhp diesel in SE trim, which offers plenty of equipment for a relatively modest outlay, and plenty of economy and power for enjoyable everyday motoring.

With Skoda having an exemplary record in our annual Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, you should find the Superb a reliable car that's easy to live with. Although the current generation of Superb is too new to have been rated, we would be shocked if it was a departure from Skoda's usual reputation for quality and ease of ownership.

There are no doubts about the Superb's safety, either, with a full five-star rating following Euro NCAP testing in 2015. With a comprehensive list of standard-fit safety equipment, the Superb Estate is a safe haven on wheels for you and your family.