Skoda Superb Estate - Engines, drive & performance
The Skoda Superb Estate is a refined cruiser with a range of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines to suit every need
The Skoda Superb Estate is all about comfortable cruising and it really delivers. It’s not a BMW-style fun-machine, but its priorities lie elsewhere. Instead you'll find the Superb a very agreeable place to sit and let the miles fly by. The gearboxes are smooth, the steering precise and the interior quiet. You’re guaranteed to have a relaxing journey whichever seat you sit in.
However, there are optional £750 adaptive dampers to add a bit of handling prowess to your Superb Estate. With adjustable settings that you can choose depending on the road or your mood, they can make the suspension stiffer for better high-speed cornering or softer if the surfaces are bumpy.
Also available is a four-wheel-drive system to increase grip on wet or wintry surfaces. However, the Superb never feels unsafe without it and four-wheel drive increases fuel consumption, so we wouldn’t recommend it unless you need the maximum possible towing capacity or regularly drive down muddy tracks.
Skoda Superb Estate diesel engines
You can specify the 1.6-litre TDI diesel engine if you go for a Superb S or SE. It produces 118bhp and can be chosen as a six-speed manual or excellent seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. It takes an acceptable 11.3 seconds to get from 0-62mph.
However, the 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel is even more fuel-efficient and is usefully more powerful, helping if you're towing or carrying a full complement of passengers and luggage. It can be chosen on all trims except entry-level S and is worthwhile if your budget can stretch to it, reducing the 0-62mph time to 9.2 seconds and providing a top speed of 132mph. There’s also a 187bhp model bringing an 8.4-second 0-62mph time and a top speed of 142mph.
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Our favourite combination is the 148bhp engine and the manual gearbox. This slots between gears with precision and minimal effort and is perfectly suited to the car's laid-back character while being very competitively priced.
Recent advances in petrol-engine technology have brought petrol back into favour after years of diesel being the default choice for cars like the Superb Estate. In keeping with this trend, there’s a choice of a 1.5-litre petrol engine with 148bhp or a 2.0-litre with either 187bhp or a huge 268bhp for the top-of the-range models. While that line-up might be surprisingly small, we reckon the 1.5-litre engine is most people will ever need.
It incorporates cylinder-deactivation technology, essentially reducing the engine size when full power isn’t required, and reducing fuel consumption. However, it can still take the Superb from 0-62mph in just 9.1 seconds, increasing to 9.3 with the DSG automatic gearbox, and on to a top speed of 131mph.
The 2.0-litre petrols are unsurprisingly quick, but do involve making a sacrifice in fuel economy and emissions. Choose the 187bhp version with the standard auto gearbox, and 0-62mph takes 7.7 seconds. The range-topping 268bhp version with four-wheel drive is seriously rapid and driving enthusiasts will like the noise it makes under hard acceleration. 0-62mph takes just 5.7 seconds - faster than the SEAT Leon Cupra and Honda Civic Type R. However, it doesn’t quite feel suited to the Superb’s overall character.
The Superb Estate SportLine Plus offers a sharper driving experience thanks to adjustable suspension settings and a driving mode selector. This allows you to choose from Eco, Normal and Sports modes, sharpening or softening the chassis, steering, gearbox and accelerator responses accordingly. It’s an appealing model and certainly gives the Superb a sporting appeal it has lacked before.
The SportLine Plus can be paired with any engine apart from the 1.6-litre diesel, and all come with Skoda’s DSG automatic gearbox. Pick the four-wheel-drive 268bhp 2.0-litre petrol if you’re not too fussed about running costs and purchase price, while the 148 and 187bhp diesels offer enough performance and more palatable fuel economy. For many drivers, the 1.5-litre TSI will also be an ideal all-rounder, with impressive refinement and low running costs.
The Superb iV Estate is fitted with a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, a 113bhp electric motor and a battery pack. A total of 215bhp is available, getting the Skoda from 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds, which is 0.5 seconds quicker than the Peugeot 508 plug-in. The Superb iV also has the Peugeot licked for refinement, as it juggles electric and petrol power almost seamlessly; you'll often only know which is propelling the car by looking at the power dial on the digital instruments.
There are several driving modes to choose from, including E-mode that prioritises electric running, Hybrid and Sport. These have a noticeable effect on the Superb's character, with its adaptive suspension very soft as standard but firming up in Sport mode.