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In-depth reviews

Skoda Superb review – peak family car takes on executive crowd

“The Skoda Superb gets a big interior upgrade, both in terms of design and tech, and it offers a smooth experience for drivers and passengers alike”

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Pros

  • Lots of space
  • Cleverly integrated tech
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • No plug-in versions
  • Average to drive
  • Keyless entry isn’t standard

Verdict - Is the Skoda Superb a good car?

The previous generation was one of Carbuyer’s favourite cars, and it’s only got better this time around. While the Superb Estate is arguably an even better pick – both for added practicality and the fact it can be had as a plug-in hybrid – the hatchback enjoys a deeply impressive interior layout and handsome looks. We’re big fans of its intuitive controls and neat touches along with the Superb’s unwavering ability to offer masses of value for money. 

Skoda Superb models, specs and alternatives

The Skoda Superb hatch sits above the Skoda Octavia in the brand’s line-up, sharing much of its technology and engines with the latest Skoda Kodiaq SUV. It’s a rival to a smaller pool of models than before as rivals like the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia have bowed out. As a result it sits in somewhat of a middle ground, rivalling the Volkswagen Passat and upmarket models like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, while undercutting them thanks to its £35,000 starting price.

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If you need more space, there’s also the Skoda Superb Estate, which we’ve already tested in full, and its rivals also come in estate body styles for added practicality. 

Another reason to go for the Estate is if you’re a company car chooser, because from launch the Superb hatchback isn’t getting a plug-in hybrid powertrain with a rock-bottom CO2 figure. Instead, the hatch is limited to a new 1.5-litre petrol engine with mild-hybrid tech and a brace of diesel engines – something of a throwback in this day and age. 

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For private buyers the 1.5 TSI and 2.0 TDI engines should both be perfectly sensible picks, with the latter best suited to long-distance drivers and people who spend a lot of time towing. Every version comes with a DSG automatic gearbox, and the 48-volt mild-hybrid hardware in the petrol makes urban stop and start driving feel smooth and relaxing, thanks to near-instant engine restarts. 

Styling is evolutionary on the outside, but the interior is a more radical step forwards. Fear not, though, because Skoda has expertly judged the switch to bigger touchscreens and fewer buttons, ushering in ‘Smart Dial’ physical controls that can be used to change the climate control and even driving modes without having to prod at the tablet-like display on the dashboard. Thanks to an increase in overall length, the Superb now offers even more interior space, so many back seat passengers won’t even be able to reach the front seats. The hatchback even boasts a 645-litre boot – more than many estate cars and SUVs. 

Trim levels

Power options

  • SE Technology
  • SE L
  • Laurin & Klement
  • 1.5-litre petrol MHEV (148bhp)
  • 2.0-litre diesel (148bhp)
  • 2.0-litre diesel (190bhp)

MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions

It’s a shame the plug-in hybrid is exclusive to the Superb Estate, but the petrol and diesel engines we do get in the UK should suit private buyers perfectly well. We’d recommend the 1.5-litre petrol to most buyers, because its e-TEC mild-hybrid hardware boosts efficiency to around 50mpg with CO2 emissions from 119g/km. The entry-level 2.0-litre diesel engine nudges closer to 55mpg but the 4x4 version is worse, hovering around 47mpg and with emissions from 154g/km making it a bit pricier to run. Read more about the Skoda Superb's MPG, running costs and CO2 emissions...

Engines, drive & performance

The Skoda Superb isn’t a car you buy for its blistering performance, but it is very well sorted and comfortable, making it a car of few vices. Again, we’d go for the entry-level petrol, which is smooth and can keep up with traffic, but is best driven in a relaxed fashion. The same goes for the diesels, with enough grunt for overtaking and towing trailers, while motorway cruising is an unflustered affair. Read more about the Skoda Superb's engines, drive and performance...

Interior & comfort

Along with practicality, interior quality is becoming the Superb’s strongest area, and more often than not we now seem to prefer the Czech brand’s cabins to those of its sister cars from Volkswagen – the Passat in this case. It’s attractive, there’s lots of kit even in the SE Technology trim and its controls are intuitive. We’d avoid the flagship Laurin & Klement, because it costs a lot more without adding too many life-changing features. Read more about the Skoda Superb's interior and comfort...

Boot space, practicality & dimensions

Put simply, the Skoda Superb has more interior space and a bigger boot than any other car in its class. As a result, it makes the ideal cut-price limousine for private hire firms, while private buyers can give their passengers the luxury treatment. Read more about the Skoda Superb's boot space, practicality and dimensions...

Reliability & safety

Skoda no longer occupies the upper echelons of our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, and around a quarter of Skoda owners told us they experienced an issue within the first year. We’ll have to see how the all-new Superb performs here, of course, but it’s loaded to the hilt with safety equipment. Read more about the Skoda Superb's reliability and safety...

Skoda Superb alternatives

Most of the Skoda’s traditional rivals from the likes of Ford and Vauxhall have gone extinct as buyers flock to SUVs, so it now finds itself competing with the remaining few mainstream saloons and more upmarket rivals.

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Should you buy a Skoda Superb?

Skodas aren’t always the budget picks they once were, but take a look at everything the Superb offers and it still undercuts most of its rivals by an impressive margin. We say rivals, but it’s impossible to find anything that can compete directly with the Superb’s rather unique set of attributes.

For a mainstream large family car – a dying breed now eclipsed by SUVs – it offers limo-like passenger room and a boot big enough to swallow all the suitcases required for a family holiday. You’ll be travelling in business class too, thanks to the Superb’s neatly designed interior and clever features like its ‘Smart Dials’, which manage to tick the ‘minimalist design’ and ‘intuitive’ boxes better than almost any other car.

The Superb hatchback’s engines are fine, but probably not the reason you’ll choose to buy it. Rather like the electric motor in most EVs, the 1.5-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesels get the job done without too much fuss, but the diesel can be a bit unrefined at lower speeds. The petrol is at least impressively efficient for an engine of its type (thanks in part to its new mild-hybrid technology), so it’s the one we’d recommend. 

We’d also say that while the Superb hatchback is a great car, it’s probably not the one we’d recommend – for most buyers the Superb Estate that we’ve reviewed separately will make even more sense. While it costs around £1,500 more, it offers even more boot space and the option of a plug-in hybrid. We also wouldn’t be surprised if it holds onto its value even better in the long run. 

What is the best Skoda Superb for low running costs?

We’d stick with the entry-level 1.5 TSI e-TEC, because it costs less to buy than the 2.0-litre diesel and has lower CO2 emissions, bagging it a slightly lower BiK band for company car buyers. While it’s a few miles per gallon less efficient than the diesel on paper, we don’t think this will make a noticeable difference unless you drive long distances.

What is the Carbuyer pick of the Skoda Superb range?

Not only is it likely to be easy on the wallet, we also think the quiet 1.5 TSI petrol suits the Superb’s refined nature the best. We’d also stick with the entry-level SE Technology trim, because it offers the same infotainment system and all the most important features on offer, making it the best value. It’s frustrating it misses out on keyless entry, but this can be added as an optional extra if you really would miss it.

How we tested the Skoda Superb

We drove the new Skoda Superb at its international launch in the Czech Republic in May 2024

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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