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In-depth reviews

Skoda Superb review - Engines, drive & performance

“It’s no speed demon, but the Superb is comfortable and smooth enough that the miles will slip by”

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

So far we’ve tried the 1.5-litre petrol with Skoda’s latest mild-hybrid technology, which complements the Superb’s smooth and unhurried character. It may not be as sharp as a BMW, but the suspension does a good job of filtering out bumps from the cabin while still providing a reassuring feeling of stability at higher speeds and through corners.

Is it good to drive in town?

We’ve only driven the car at its launch event so far, but the signs are pretty good. Its suspension is soft enough to absorb potholes and while it’s not completely free of resistance at lower speeds, the steering is easy enough to twirl to make manoeuvring easy. 

Is it good to drive on long journeys?

You can bet your bottom dollar on it. The Skoda Superb is intended to spend lots of its life cruising along the motorway network, and it does a fine job of sitting at the national speed limit. Its long wheelbase and supple suspension mean it never feels twitchy, and its new design is very aerodynamic (with a 10% reduction in drag to just 0.23Cd). There’s a bit of road noise at higher speeds, but very little wind noise.

Is it good to drive on B-roads?

While it’s hardly designed to carve up your favourite back road, the Superb should at least leave you feeling unruffled. Perhaps the kindest thing we can say is that it doesn’t feel especially big from behind the wheel, even if at 4.9 metres from bumper to bumper it’s almost as long as a Range Rover.

Petrol models

Three petrol engines are in the works, but while the 2.0-litre versions will offer extra power, we expect the vast majority of UK buyers will be interested in the one we’ve tested – the 1.5-litre petrol with e-TEC mild-hybrid assistance, which represents the first time the tech has been seen in the Superb.

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It uses a starter generator to harvest some energy into a small battery under deceleration, allowing for engine-off coasting and a helping hand of electric power under acceleration. The stop-start system works well in heavy traffic and the Superb accelerates pretty smoothly, although sometimes the DSG automatic gearbox holds onto gears for a bit too long, resulting in a drone from the engine.
 

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Superb 1.5 TSI e-TEC DSG

148bhp

9.2s

139mph

Diesel models

Unlike quite a few rivals that have ditched diesel lately, the Skoda Superb is still offered with a 2.0-litre TDI engine. We’ve already tried the 148bhp version in the Skoda Superb Estate, and found it more responsive at lower speeds than before, making it very easy to drive. However, it was also a bit grumbly, which isn’t the best fit for the Superb’s executive and otherwise pretty quiet cabin.

It’s also worth noting that, for now at least, the range-topping diesel is your only option if you need four-wheel drive. This isn’t likely to affect how the Superb feels in most driving situations, but could help out if you live in a rural area in winter, or with towing heavy trailers.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Superb 2.0 TDI 148bhp DSG

148bhp

9.2s

139mph

Superb 2.0 TDI 190bhp DSG 4x4

190bhp

7.5s

147mph

Plug-in hybrid models

It’s a shame the PHEV powertrain isn’t offered in the Superb hatchback, coming only in Estate form. It’s likely that Skoda is expecting the more practical bodystyle to be the bigger seller in the UK, and you can read our in-depth review on that model. It features a 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor for a combined 201bhp, while a larger battery pack than before extends its electric driving range to an impressive 62 miles.

Electric models 

There’s no sign of an all-electric Superb on the horizon, so if you’d like a zero-emissions car in this class the closest equivalent is the Volkswagen ID.7. It boasts an impressive range of up to 384 miles, but prices start from around £50k, so it’s pricey to buy.

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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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