Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

Lifting the 1.4-litre petrol-electric powertrain directly from the new Volkswagen Passat GTE was never really going to be a recipe for disaster. In fact, given the Superb iV’s comparative absence of performance intent, you might well argue that it makes for a better fit under the bonnet of a nondescript Skoda than an electrified Volkswagen with mild sporting pretensions.

Viewed through a purely pragmatic lens, there’s a lot to like. Petrol and electric power sources are integrated cleanly and transition from one to the other is smoothly governed. The petrol engine itself is generally refined and well isolated and it can be used to charge up the 13kWh battery should you want to.

Opening up the taps for a climb makes the steering go numb and can create a bit of directional corruption, but nothing too serious

Admittedly, the throttle response can feel a touch muted in both electric and hybrid drive modes, but our testers agreed that what the Superb sacrifices in cut-and-thrust responsiveness, it more than makes up for in laid-back, refined ease of use.

With both power sources engaged, straight-line performance is brisk enough to garner praise but not so rapid as to be an entirely memorable characteristic. On a damp track, the run from standstill to 60mph was dispatched in 7.3sec and 30-70mph took 5.8sec – both times representing notable improvements over the previous Passat GTE (7.6sec and 6.1sec respectively). Although this translates to a useful amount of real-world urgency, it’s also worth noting that the Superb did display a tendency to tug at the wheel slightly during hard acceleration – particularly on unevenly surfaced stretches of road.

Back to top

As for the car’s electric-only capability, our testers didn’t quite match Skoda’s claimed 39-mile range. Having set off with its 13kWh battery fully charged, the Skoda’s petrol engine came back to life after 28 miles on a mixture of roads that incorporated speed limits ranging from 20mph to 70mph. Given that the Superb was driven in a largely everyday fashion, it seems entirely reasonable to expect this figure to increase if a more sympathetic driving style were to be adopted.