Review

Skoda Superb hatchback

Price  £18,690 - £32,645

Skoda Superb hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Superb practicality
  • Great engine range
  • Excellent value for money
Cons
  • Dull to drive
  • Conservative design
  • Skoda badge lacks prestige

At a glance

The greenest
S GreenLine 1.9 TDI PD 105PS DPF 5dr £20,200
The cheapest
S TSI 125PS 5dr £18,690
The fastest
Elegance 3.6 V6 260PS DSG 4x4 5dr £30,655
Top of the range
Laurin & Klement 3.6 V6 260PS DSG 4x4 5dr £32,645

"The Skoda Superb is a large family car that boasts great practicality, equipment levels, value for money and some of the most satisfied owners around."

There was a time when the Skoda brand was a bit of a joke – but those days are long gone. It's now one of the most respected carmakers around, and it produces some of the most critically-acclaimed cars.

The Skoda Superb is a great example of this - it's a large family car that's built using the same parts and the same high standards that go into making Volkswagen and Audi cars, but it's priced to compete with the likes of Ford, Vauxhall and Toyota. It may not be the most exciting car to look at, but when you consider the build quality, practicality, engine range and excellent equipment levels, you’ll struggle to find a rival that offers the same kind of value for money.

There are five engines to choose from, all of which are smooth and efficient, and available with the Volkswagen Group's superb seven-speed semi-automatic DSG gearbox. And there are five specification levels to choose from: S, SE, SE Plus, Elegance and top-spec Laurin & Klement. Plus there is a range of neat little touches, like the split-opening boot for added practicality, or the umbrella storage compartment in the door of SE and Elegance cars. All-in-all, the Superb is one of the best family cars on the market and should be on every buyer's shortlist.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.8 / 5

Running costs are low across the range but not best-in-class

All diesel engines in the Superb range come with stop-start and brake energy recovery fitted as standard to make them as efficient as possible. The most efficient engine in the range is the GreenLine III model, which has a 105bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine that will do 67.3mpg and 109g/km CO2. That's good enough to put it in tax band B, making it free for the first year and £20 per from then on. That may be on a par with the ultra efficient BMW 320 ED, but it's also a little underpowered and it comes with special eco tyres and lowered suspension that reduces comfort levels. A better balance of performance and economy comes in the shape of the 140bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel, which will do 52.3mpg and emits 143g/km CO2 – putting it in tax band F with an annual cost of £140. Those who crave more power should look to the 1.4-litre petrol engine, which will do 41.5mpg while still providing enough pace to keep a smile on your face.

Interior & comfort

4.3 / 5

Excellent suspension makes for a smooth ride over even the bumpiest of roads

The Superb is one of the most comfortable cruisers you can buy thanks to a soft and supple suspension setup that easily smoothes out bumps in the road. It's nothing less than we’ve come to expect from Skoda, which has established itself as one of the best family car brands around.

The cabin is really well insulated, too, so you won’t be troubled by wind and road noise. All the engines are smooth and quiet as well, so even at motorway speeds you won’t hear the wheeze of a straining diesel engine.

There's plenty of space in the front and rear for the driver and passengers to stretch out and get comfortable. The driving position is really good, too, and the light steering and excellent semi-automatic gearbox ensure maximum comfort levels even in busy stop-start traffic.

Practicality & boot space

4.3 / 5

One of the most practical cars in class

The Skoda Superb is based on the impressively comfortable Volkswagen Passat - the Superb, however, takes it to another level. This is partly down to its fantastic TwinDoor boot lid, which features a double opening that can be used as either a saloon opening for loading small items or as a hatchback for squeezing in bulkier items. It's easy to use, too, as there's a separate button for each function – one to open the saloon shaped boot and another that lifts up the whole back window, too.

Boot capacity is really impressive - there is 565 litres of space, which is more than you get in a Ford Mondeo or Mazda 6, and if you fold down the rear seats you expand that space to a huge 1,670 litres. On the downside, you can’t trigger the seat folding mechanism from the boot – you have to access it from the passenger door, but that's a minor complaint.

There's tonnes of space for passengers in the back, with plenty of head, leg and shoulder room, even for three adults. The seats are really comfortable, too, and there are plenty of storage cubbyholes throughout the cabin.

Reliability & safety

4.6 / 5

Top owner satisfaction and five-star safety rating

Skoda is one of the most beloved brands in Britain, and the Superb is extremely highly rated by customers. Don’t believe us? Just check out its performance in recent customer satisfaction surveys. Skoda has topped the Driver Power manufacturer chart for years, and came second out of 32 in 2013 after narrowly losing out to Lexus, while the Skoda Superb was the second most highly rated car in the Top 100 Cars league table, beaten only by the Skoda Yeti.

Reliability and service from the Skoda dealer network is among the very best in the industry and the level of quality inside the Superb is really very good. The car also picked up a five-star safety rating in the Euro NCAP crash tests.

The Superb comes with an array of safety equipment as standard, including seven airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, tyre pressure monitoring system, ABS, traction control, and ISOFIX points for child seats. So not only is the Superb one of the most highly rated cars in the UK, it's one of the safest, too.

Engines, drive & performance

3.2 / 5

Capable, rather than fun, thanks to decent comfort, economy and performance

The Skoda Superb is solid, dependable and practical rather than fast and fun. If you’d rather have the latter then you’re better off looking at the Mazda 6 or the Ford Mondeo, which are both more focused on driving thrills. The Superb is very competent, offering plenty of grip, accurate steering and a comfortable ride that makes driving it enjoyable if not exciting. You can make it a little more thrilling by picking one of the faster engines on offer. The 3.5-litre V6 petrol, for example, will accelerate the Superb from 0-62mph in under seven seconds – which is faster than most cars on the road – but if speed is what you’re interested in then you’re probably better off picking a different car.

The smaller engines in the Superb range don’t offer that kind of performance but they’re smooth, powerful and relatively frugal. Both the 125bhp 1.4-litre petrol and the 170bhp 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engines are fast without generating huge fuel bills, and the 2.0-litre TDI diesel offers an excellent mix of power and economy. You can have it with either 140bhp or 170bhp and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either one. The seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox is also well-worth considering, as it's really smooth and brilliant to use - the six-speed manual is perfectly capable, too.

Price, value for money & options

4.2 / 5

Cheaper and better equipped than its rivals

Kit levels are excellent on the Skoda Superb, which makes its low price tag all the better value. Even entry-level S spec models come with all-round electric windows, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, a multi-function steering wheel, air-con and 16-inch alloy wheels as standard. Opt for the slightly more expensive SE spec and you’ll get dual-zone air-con and suede-effect Alcantara fabric on the seats. SE Plus adds a built-in sat-nav to that list of equipment, and top-spec Elegance cars come loaded with leather seats, xenon lights and an array of other accessories while still costing less than many rivals with shorter equipment lists.

Skoda's excellent reputation and the generous kit lists also ensure that demand for the Superb in the used market is high, which keeps resale values very strong.

What the others say

4.5 / 5
based on 3 reviews
  • 5.0 / 5
    If cabin space is a priority, then the Skoda’s limousine-like interior will be strong draw. But the newcomer’s real party trick is the innovative split rear tailgate. At the flick of switch, the Superb can be transformed from a traditional saloon into a practical hatchback.
  • 4.5 / 5
    Skoda has pulled out all the stops for the Superb – the biggest and most expensive model in the range. It gets a wide range of modern engines and gearboxes, has limousine levels of legroom inside and is very well equipped. But it’s the innovations – the ‘magic moments’ throughout the car – that are most impressive. The biggest of those is at the back, because the Superb is both a saloon and a hatchback. Push one button and the bootlid opens, push another and the whole tailgate raises up - just as you’d expect a hatchback to.
  • 4.0 / 5
    Innovative boot/hatch arrangement, cavernous cabin and executive build quality, but all for family-car money.

Last updated 
26 Mar 2014

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