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Old-school Skoda hits all the right notes: big, comfortable, quiet, well equipped and good value

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In a decidedly old-school format, the latest Skoda Superb Estate follows the theme set by its predecessors. This large estate (and hatchback, to follow shortly) has plenty of equipment and is cavernous inside, and comes with a range of pure-combustion, or mild or plug-in hybrid, engines. Even a diesel. Crikey.

It’s a car that has typically been received well in the UK, which is among the biggest markets. And it’s a market that cars – Ford MondeoVauxhall Insignia – have been leaving.

“That gives us the opportunity to fill the gap for customers looking for a traditional offering,” says Tatiana Cizmar, from Skoda’s product marketing. She says they want “roominess, practicality, usability, a good range of equipment…” I mean, that does sound quite straightforwardly compelling. 

Prices start at £36,165 for a 1.5 petrol and rise to £43,680 for a top-spec 4x4 diesel. Plug-in hybrid prices are to follow. 



The fourth-gen Superb (if you don’t count the one they made in 1934, which I’m inclined to) is built, like the latest Volkswagen Passat, around the Volkswagen Group’s MQB Evo platform, and has grown a little over its predecessor. 

Not so much as to be a worry: it’s 40mm longer, at 4902mm, but pleasingly 15mm narrower, at 1849mm across the body. Hallelujah. Height is up only 5mm so it’ll have a slightly smaller frontal area than before and, with the drag coefficient down from 0.30 to 0.25, Skoda reckons it’s up to 15% more efficient than before.

Skoda has a range of electric crossovers elsewhere, which leaves the Superb to be the car it has typically been: in the UK, there’s a 1.5-litre petrol (mild hybrid) with 148bhp, a 2.0 diesel with 148bhp, a 2.0 diesel with 190bhp and four-wheel drive, and a 1.5 plug-in hybrid with 204bhp and an all-electric range of 62 miles on the WLTP cycle.


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Inside? Well, let’s start with the rear, because a voluminous boot has been front and centre of the Superb’s appeal and that’s no different this time. Luggage capacity with seats in place is 690 litres, up 30 litres from before.

There is a storage cubby to the left, latches by the tailgate to drop the rear seats, luggage hooks, Velcro barriers to secure loads from sliding and even now an electric load-bay cover. If you want the best estate boot in the business, there’s a strong chance this is it.

It gets 80 litres smaller in the plug-in hybrid version, which has a higher load floor, but not by much – enough to make the load-bay flat, rather than having a lip up to the rear seats.

Those rear seats offer large amounts of leg room, head room is good, which takes us up to the front seats: also spacious, comfortable, with a roomy and straight driving position.

The business end of the cabin is mostly successful. “We have closely listened to our customers and brought haptic controls back,” says Johannes Neft, Skoda’s technical development chief.

Sometimes it feels like listening to customers is a novelty, so as well as a large, 13in landscape touchscreen in the dash centre, there are three multi-function rotary dials and some supplementary buttons beneath it.

You can preset what the dials do, then give them a push to change the function, then rotate them to change the settings. So: temperature, fan speed, drive mode – that sort of thing. All straightforward.

The round, broadly adjustable steering wheel has real buttons too, plus two pushable scroll wheels. (A press of one button brings up the driver assist systems and the scroll wheel pings them off.) 

The gear selector has moved to the right-hand stalk to free up space on the centre tunnel, so the left handles indicators and wipers. There’s a separate light-switch panel. Mirrors and even each individual window get actual buttons. I know, it’s 2024, I shouldn’t have to say this, but here we are.

If it is less successful, it’s in the feel of some materials. All look good, and most feel solid – stuff you touch regularly, like the doors, particularly.

But those rotary dials feel a bit flimsy and if you push some places on the dash, it’ll creak and move under-thumb a bit, not unlike a modern Mercedes (likewise more about show than solidity). Not a big deal, but feels worth mentioning because it’s unusual, a little sensibility given over to style, at a cost.


As I write I’ve tried three of the engine options. The 1.5-litre petrol is my favourite so far, being quiet and reasonably responsive. It drives through a smooth seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

It’s not fast, not accelerative like an EV (0-62mph is 9.3sec) and in its regular drive mode it’s reluctant to kick down – hence it’s a reasonable 47.9-53.3mpg on the combined WLTP cycle – but you can take control via steering wheel paddles if you like. 

The lower-powered diesel uses the same transmission – there’s no manual alternative – and on paper is marginally more economical: 52.3-57.6mpg. It’s grumblier at low speeds, of course, and drives less smoothly through its transmission.

In a world of electric assistance or near-silent small petrol engines, it does feel a bit clunky. But it quietens right down to inaudible on a motorway, spinning at around 1500rpm at a cruise, and there’s something to be said for glancing down at a range readout that says over 500 miles.

Our time in the iV plug-in hybrid has been short, just a few miles, and not that sweet, because it’s all around town.

But it’s very happy to remain in electric-only mode where it’s smooth (of course) but I doubt you’ll see 62 miles out of its 25.7kWh battery, which is said to accept up to 50kW charge speed. In the right regular commuter case, it could be just the choice.


Whatever engine option you pick, the Superb drives similarly. There are nuances about how well they steer and their agility based on engine weights, of course: the petrol is the lightest (from just 1575kg unladen), deftest, most pleasing to drive, and therefore, this being an enthusiast’s publication, would be our choice.

But whatever you pick, you’ll find a car that’s refined, has very little wind noise, and rides well too. Higher-spec cars (and that’s all we’ve been exposed to) have adaptive dampers.

They’re widely adjustable but, from their presets, we found the Comfort option suited the car best. This is a big wagon, there’s only so tied-down you want it to feel. With those eased back, while you hear some bumps you don’t feel them, it’s absorbent and easy-going, relaxed and stable. 

It steers well; consistently, with a relaxed, oily slickness, and good straight-ahead stability. With the diesel, in particular, wound up to motorway cruising speeds, you could eat motorways like they weren’t there.


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It's all very old-fashioned, I know.

A big, relaxed, voluminous but low estate car that feels nice inside, gets all the kit you could want and goes a long way with minimal fuss.

So many cars used to be like this. Now you can’t even buy a Volvo that does it.

If you can bear what almost feels like a slur of wanting a 'traditional' offering, I don’t think anybody today does it better.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes.