Skoda Superb hatchback (2008-2015) - Engines, drive & performance
The Skoda Superb is more of a comfortable long-distance cruiser than a sporty saloon car
If you're looking for something big enough for the whole family, but sporty enough to go for a back-road blast when you don't have the kids in the back, it's probably best to consider the Ford Mondeo or Mazda6 first. Both of these rivals are sharper to drive and more responsive to inputs than the Skoda Superb.
However, if you're after a quiet, comfortable and easy-to-drive car, then the Superb should be right up your street. There’s lots of grip in corners (especially from the 4x4 models) as well as nicely weighted steering. You always feel well insulated from the outside world, with very little road and wind noise making its way inside the car.
Go for the range-topping 3.6-litre V6 model (only available with four-wheel drive) and the Superb rockets from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 155mph. It's hard to see this car suiting anyone, really, as performance enthusiasts will want something that handles better and family motorists won't like its high running costs.
For most people, either the 1.6-litre TDI or one of the two 2.0-litre TDI diesels will fit the bill perfectly, offering good acceleration even when the car is loaded up. The 168bhp 2.0-litre TDI model will do 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds, but still return 60.4mpg fuel economy. That makes it particularly good for motorway drivers, families or those who want a good tow car.
If there's a downside to the diesel engines, it's that they can sound a little gruff when you first start them up and under hard acceleration. In contrast, the 1.4 and 1.8-litre TSI petrol engines are virtually silent when you turn them on and provide silky-smooth acceleration. The 1.8-litre TSI is a good alternative to the 3.6-litre V6, as it can go from 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds, but is 10mpg more efficient. A six-speed manual gearbox comes as standard. It's smooth and easy to use, but the optional quick-shifting six-speed DSG automatic gearbox is well worth a look, too.
Regardless of what model you go for, the Superb's suspension feels just firm enough to control the large body in corners, but soft enough to let it flow along the road nicely, absorbing any bumps with minimum fuss. This combination of comfort, quiet and acres of rear legroom makes the Superb feel like a much more expensive car than it actually is.