From £17,0757
Skoda’s economy-minded flagship is cavernous and top-value, but isn’t as fluent-riding as the rest of the range

Our Verdict

Skoda Superb 2008-2015

The Skoda Superb offers German quality and Czech pricing, but does that add up to a great deal?

What is it?

Conventional wisdom says that big saloon cars from non-premium brands are doomed to failure these days.

The Skoda Superb is the oft-cited paradoxical exception that proves the validity of that rule: an exceptional family four door bucking that trend thanks to an emphatic selling point. You get an indecent amount of space for surprisingly little outlay here.

And to butcher a well-worn phrase, if limousine-level rear cabin space and a boot bigger than an SUV’s don’t tickle your tastebuds when they’re available for less than £19,000, there’s probably something wrong with your mouth.

Launched in 2008, the big Skoda had been beginning to show its age until earlier this year, when it was in receipt of a facelift that smartened up its styling and, just as importantly, drove up the fuel efficiency of its engine range.

This new ‘Greenline III’ model is the ultimate expression of that newfound efficiency – a version of the bountifully proportioned Superb that can rival a BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics on miles-to-the-gallon, according to manufacturer’s claims.

What's it like?

In practice, you won’t get close to the Superb's posted 67mpg in day-to-day use, but our test car bettered 50mpg on a mixed route that took in very little high-speed cruising: commendable stuff from something so big.

Partnered with a six-speed gearbox in place of the five-speeder with which it’s matched in smaller VW Group cars, the 104bhp engine actually copes quite well with the Superb’s mass. There’s more than adequate performance in most scenarios. It’s close to its most refined in the Superb, too, and even under full load doesn’t kick up much of a racket.

But there are less favourable findings to report about the Superb Greenline’s rolling comfort. Something this big ought to be compliant and cosseting, but the 15mm of suspension travel that Skoda takes out in order to deliver a more aerodynamic cruise, added to the impact of the car’s low-rolling resistance tyres, leaves the ride of this car poorly resolved. Just a shade noisier and more fidgeting over a patchy surface than you’d like it to be.

Otherwise, the car’s handling is more than tidy enough, and speaks of the trouble that Volkswagen Group brands seem to habitually go to in finishing their cars. The controls are all perfectly weighted, consistent and easy to use, and make the Superb very manageable indeed.

Not a dynamic standard bearer, nor even something to take much pleasure in driving, but smooth, competent and agreeable all the same.

Should I buy one?

Buy a Skoda Superb with our resounding blessing; just think twice about making it this particular one, because the Greenline is definitely not quite everything it might have been. It’s the meanest, thinnest, sourest slice of an otherwise excellent pie.

If you don’t need the limo-like space, there are rivals that’ll return 10mpg better in the real world.

And if you do, a non-Greenline 1.6 TDI would only be cheaper and only a few mpg poorer.

Skoda Superb 1.6 TDI CR Greenline II SE

Price £21,535; 0-62mph 12.2sec; Top speed 122mph; Economy 67.3mpg; CO2 109g/km; Kerb weight 1444kg; Engine 4cyls, 1598cc, turbodiesel; Power 104bhp at 4400rpm; Torque 184lb ft at 1500-2500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
8

13 November 2013
Some facelifts make a car look worse, but this is one rare example where a car's appearance has improved following a mid-life refresh.

A34

13 November 2013
"If you don’t need the limo-like space, there are rivals that’ll return 10mpg better in the real world." Really? Like what? Some imaginary £22K BMW 318ED?

13 November 2013
They can gift all the plaudits they want on the Superb saloon/hatch - it remains one of the ugliest cars on sale. Good to see VAG finally introduce 6 speed to their economy engines but as the text implies, it's difficult to see how placing such low powered engines in such a big car is beneficial to real world economy. Would have thought the 2.0tdi more economical and at 119g/km costs hardly anything more to run.

13 November 2013
You got to be kidding me. Such a bulbous car fitted with such a puny engine! Some could probably pedal faster, I guess. Don't want to imagine how miserable driving this would be like.

14 November 2013
It actually drives very well, more comfortably than a Mundano or Insignificant. Take the opportunity to try before you deride. I notice it's the usual anti-VW brigade out again!

14 November 2013
Ive had a test drive my self, and I'm sorry its soo dull, i had an Octavia vrs spent alot of cash keeping it on the road and for a 3 year old car its a joke.

14 November 2013
[quote=skorob]It actually drives very well, more comfortably than a Mundano or Insignificant. Take the opportunity to try before you deride. I notice it's the usual anti-VW brigade out again![/quote] Absolutely so and with justification! Sampling the late pattern Octavia was pure disappointment and it is equally disappointing, judging from reviews read of various models, to see the inadequacies of ride, seating and diesel engine refinement continuing.in the Skoda range. Scales fall from eyes please ladies and gentlemen.

14 November 2013
One of the reasons for buying a largish car without "sporting" pretentions is surely a decent ride quality.

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