Skoda Superb Estate review
“The Skoda Superb Estate offers a huge amount of space for the money, so it’s worth considering instead of an SUV”
- Advanced safety technology
- Masses of space inside
- Very comfortable
- Plain interior design
- Not much steering feel
- Leans too much in corners
The Skoda Superb is the flagship car in the Czech manufacturer's line-up and one of our favourites. With a stretched roof, the Estate version is arguably even more attractive and desirable than the hatchback, plus it has an enormous boot. In late 2019, Skoda treated the Superb to a facelift, bringing tweaked styling and extra technology.
In terms of pricing, the Superb squares up against the Ford Mondeo Estate, Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer and Volkswagen Passat Estate, but the Skoda is actually quite a bit more spacious. It also has more luggage space than much pricier models like the BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Estate, with interior quality that’s hardly put to shame either. With less emphasis on performance, the Superb’s engines are smaller, but it’s still good to drive. A plug-in hybrid Superb iV Estate is also available, with an electric range of up to 35 miles. This gives it a low CO2 emissions figure, making it the cheapest Superb to run for company-car drivers.
Closely related to other members of the Volkswagen Group, the Superb shares its engines with the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf. They span from a 1.6-litre diesel with 118bhp to a 2.0-litre petrol with 268bhp, offering both manual and automatic gearboxes, along with front and four-wheel drive.
The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel model is the most efficient, returning up to 56.5mpg while emitting from 131g/km of CO2 – resulting in a low-ish Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company-car tax band for such a large vehicle. The 1.6-litre diesel should also offer enough performance for many drivers, and manages almost 50mpg, but we’d recommend the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel if you can afford it - it’s more economical and faster, taking 9.2 seconds to get from 0-62mph compared to 11.3 seconds for the 1.6-litre.
Drivers who travel less than 12,000 miles a year are likely to find a strong case for a petrol engine. The range starts with a 148bhp 1.5-litre, which is the most economical petrol, returning up to 43.5mpg and emitting from 147g/km. At the other end of the scale, the 2.0-litre TSI petrol with 268bhp with four-wheel drive takes just 5.7 seconds to get from 0-62mph, but only returns 33.2mpg.
With a 1.4-litre petrol engine, 113bhp electric motor and 13kWh battery, the plug-in Superb iV Estate can be charged in 3.5 hours, giving it enough range to take care of a fairly typical commute. Crucially, it's also very cheap to run for company-car drivers, helping to offset its higher list price.
The smooth-shifting automatic is available with all engines, and standard on some, while four-wheel drive is optional for both versions of 2.0-litre diesel and standard with the top petrol engine. Having four driven wheels certainly helps the Superb to feel surefooted, but it costs around £1,500 extra and has an adverse effect on running costs, so it’s only worth getting if you really need it.
While it can’t offer the sporting edge of a BMW 3 Series Touring, the Superb Estate is still enjoyable and satisfying to drive, with a well planted feel and excellent ride quality. Noise is particularly well suppressed, with hardly any thunks or thuds from the suspension and very little wind noise, even at 70mph, which only adds to passengers’ comfort in the well appointed interior.
All models are well equipped, with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, keyless entry and go, air-conditioning, DAB radio and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, as well as a system that can automatically contact the emergency services in the event of a crash. SE adds two-zone climate control, parking sensors and adaptive cruise control, while the more luxurious SE L includes sat nav, leather upholstery, an electrically operated boot and Matrix LED headlamps. There is a stylish SportLine Plus version with 19-inch alloy wheels, sports seats and a bodykit, while the flagship Laurin & Klement (named for Skoda’s founders) really piles on the comfort and convenience.
Frankly, there are enough specification combinations to have you poring over the brochure and Skoda’s website for days, but our pick of the range for private buyers is the 2.0-litre diesel with 148bhp in SE trim, with enough performance and equipment for most, along with low running costs. Company-car drivers are best served by the plug-in hybrid, thanks to its low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) liability.
The pre-facelift Skoda Superb finished 24th out of the 100 cars ranked in our 2019 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey - four places above the Skoda Octavia. Skoda performed impressively - the brand was 5th out of 30 manufacturers. The Superb was first out of the 75 cars in our 2017 survey, but newer cars tend to take the top places.
You can find even more reassurance in the Superb’s safety credentials. The car has been crash-tested by Euro NCAP and received the organisation’s full five-star rating. With a strong construction and long list of standard safety features, the Superb will protect you and your passengers well in a crash, while standard automatic emergency braking reduces the risk of that happening in the first place.
As an overall package, the Superb is not just big, but big on all those vital factors of value, economy and safety that a family car really needs.