Skoda Superb estate

£19,840 - £35,940

The Skoda Superb estate is one of the most complete cars on the market. It's huge (easily bigger than other rival estates and even those from the class above), looks good and is extremely well made. It's also good to drive, has a wide range of powerful and economical engines and is great value for money. And if all that weren’t enough, it's sold by dealers with a reputation for good customer service.

For the record, the Superb's rivals include the Ford Mondeo estate, Volkswagen Passat estate and Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer. From the class above, there's the mighty Mercedes E-Class estate. However, none of them can match the Superb's sheer load capacity, which is, presumably, what most buyers want these large estates for.

The Superb estate offers a choice of petrol and diesel engines. The petrols come in four flavours: a 1.4-litre producing 123 or 148bhp and a 2.0-litre producing 217 or 276bhp. This last engine powers the four-wheel-drive version. Automatic transmission is available on all but the 123bhp engine. Fuel economy ranges from a best of 56.5mpg (the 148bhp 1.4-litre automatic) to a worst of 39.3mpg (the 276bhp 4x4 automatic).

However, due to its superior economy and pulling power, diesel is generally the engine of choice in this class. There are three: a 118bhp 1.6-litre and two 2.0-litres, producing 148 and 187bhp. The 2.0-litres are available with four-wheel drive and all engines can be ordered with an automatic gearbox. Fuel economy ranges from 76.4mpg (the 1.6-litre TDI GreenLine, which is also free to tax) to 55.4mpg (the 184bhp 2.0-litre 4x4 automatic). Our pick of all these is the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which offers a great blend of power and economy.

The optional four-wheel-drive system gives the Superb estate better grip on slippery roads – it's not intended to turn it into some sort of mild off-roader. It hurts fuel economy and since the standard two-wheel-drive model is grippy and secure enough, you might want to think twice about ordering 4x4.

The Superb is secure and very comfortable, but it's not as much fun to drive as the rear-wheel-drive BMW 3 Series Touring, for example. However, it's far roomier than that car (and most of its other direct rivals) and certainly has a far larger boot, making it practical as well as comfortable. On that point, the interior looks conservative yet upmarket and boasts impressive fit and finish.

There are five trims levels: S, SE, SE Business, SE L and top-of-the-range Laurin & Klement. Standard equipment on the basic S model includes alloy wheels, a multifunction steering wheel and a five-inch touchscreen. Our pick of the range is SE Business, which adds leather and sat nav at no extra cost over SE. Otherwise, it has the same features as SE – the highlights being dual-zone air-conditioning, rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control.

The Superb estate is a very reliable car, with lots of very happy owners to prove it. It's also safe, with Euro NCAP awarding it five stars for crash protection. Standard safety kit includes seven airbags, tyre-pressure monitoring and post-collision braking.