Currently reading: Volvo V70 v Skoda Superb
Estates go head-to-head in Autocar's twin test
Autocar
News
3 mins read
15 February 2010

The Volvo V70 has been the suburban load-lugger of choice for a generation, but its supremacy is now being challenged by the Skoda Superb.

Autocar pitted the two estates against each other, to see which is better. On paper, the 175bhp 2.4d V70 and 170CR TDI Superb Estate are well matched. The Skoda is lighter but the cars are virtually the same length and they have similar power, fuel economy and 0-62mph times.

See the Skoda Superb estate versus Volvo V70 estate pictures

Volvo V70

In practice, though, they could not be more different. We have long been critical of the V70's so-so ride and lacklustre handling. And the SE-spec V70 gets sports suspension as standard, making things worse.

Sadly, Volvo has got most things wrong when tuning this car. It is plagued by a lack of precision and poorly weighted controls. The R-Design chassis is both too stiff on poor surfaces and short of body control in most other situations.

At least the distinctive five-pot engine is reasonably smooth; it has plenty of punch and feels cultured. But the chassis is prone to a surprising amount of torque steer and a touch of front-end lift under hard acceleration.

It's not all bad news, though. The V70 feels liek a premium car, especially inside, where the dashboard is a triumph of upmarket Scandanavian simplicity.

Also, there's impressive details such as an excellent heating system, a totally flat and wide load bay, folding front seat and underfloor storage in the boot.

Skoda Superb

In contrast, the Superb feels as if it has been developed purely for the great British back road. Where the V70 struggles, the Superb's handling is crisp and accurate without being overly 'sporting'.

Thanks to exceptional body control, even during brisk cornering the Skoda practically surfs across broken road edges, allowing side forces to build progressively and helping the driver to flow the car along at an impressive rate.

The engine helps here too, revving freely, more like a petrol unit. The Superb also benefits from good pedal weights and shift action. The main downside is some tyre roar on coarsely chipped surfaces.

The Skoda also has exceptional interior packaging. Rear leg room is extraordinary, and it feels extremely spacious up front thanks to the wide cabin and deep footwells.

The interior lacks the clean modernism of the Volvo, but our tester, Hilton Holloway, was more comfortable in the Skoda's cabin. It does lose out to the V70 under the tailgate, though. Seats up, the Skoda has more useable space, but its taller load bay is offset by being narrower. Worse still, teh Superb's rear seats don't fold flat, but you can retract the back of the front passenger seat until it's flat.

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Conclusion

Ultimately, the Superb runs rings around the V70. The Skoda is a much more satisfying driver's car and one extraordinarily well suited to teh UK's roadscape. It also offers much more passenger room and build quality that's at least the equal of the Volvo.

The fact the Skoda is also £5500 cheaper than the similarly specified V70 seals the deal.

The full test is available in this week's Autocar magazine, on sale now.

Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Skoda Superb reviews, news and videoSee all the latest Volvo V70 reviews, news and video

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trademarkuk 4 May 2014

Why Does AutoCar Hate Volvos

I have driven both cars and the skoda doesent even come close to volvo. External looks of the skoda are not even close to V70. The D5 engine in a Volvo will run as new until 250,000 miles the skoda wont unless you take out a second mortgage for repairs, the interior of the skoda is "low rent" appearance in comparison to the Volvo. What is the comment about the Volvo not been to brill on the back roads?? The V70 is a motorway car you numpties! why do you think the police use them. If you can write a meaningful report dont write one. This report has zero value and as usual never has a good comment volvos, why dont you just say Autocar hates Volvos because they are so good.
Leslie Brook 16 May 2014

trademarkuk wrote:I have

trademarkuk wrote:

I have driven both cars and the skoda doesent even come close to volvo. External looks of the skoda are not even close to V70. The D5 engine in a Volvo will run as new until 250,000 miles the skoda wont unless you take out a second mortgage for repairs, the interior of the skoda is "low rent" appearance in comparison to the Volvo. What is the comment about the Volvo not been to brill on the back roads?? The V70 is a motorway car you numpties! why do you think the police use them. If you can write a meaningful report dont write one. This report has zero value and as usual never has a good comment volvos, why dont you just say Autocar hates Volvos because they are so good.

Angry arsehole

tolis 25 June 2010

Re: Volvo V70 v Skoda Superb

How many years is it since Autocar have said anything good about a Volvo? When will a Volvo car be compared with an equivalent car in the premium segmen? It's a shame for a magazine like yours to show how you get funded in a so silly way....

val. 16 February 2010

Re: Volvo V70 v Skoda Superb

rescueman989 wrote:

The rear seats in the Skoda will fold fully down, perhaps the vehicle used was an odd one or the tester did not know how to do it. I always take tests by magazines with a large pinch of salt. Facts can always be checked at a dealer or using the internet.

Agreed, you have to pull the seat squabs foward then the seat backs will lay flat.

Sounds like a great car, the Suberb, must test drive it soon.