From £19,1408
The Superb never had a problem with space but for 2015 it gets even more. It's also lighter, cleaner, more frugal and better equipped.

Our Verdict

Skoda Superb Estate

Skoda plots to grab a bigger slice of the pie with its likeable and hugely practical Superb range

30 April 2015

What is it?

The Superb is a car with a confusing brochure. Flicking through the dimensions and equipment pages convinces you you're dealing with a large executive. However, turn to the price list and the numbers don't stack up, because Skoda is adamant it can sell you one for family car money.

The previous Superb's trademark feature was its segment-defying rear legroom. Amazingly, the new model is wider than before, as well as longer with a longer wheelbase. Despite this, its more advanced MQB platform means it's a considerable 75kg lighter, too.

This recipe of big space for small outlay has seen more than 42,000 people sign up for a Superb in the UK since 2002; not a volume seller but an important one nonetheless. An estate is on the way, along with an ultra clean and frugal GreenLine model. Here, though, we drive the hatch in best-selling diesel manual flavour. 

Its competitive pricing and big cabin give the Superb a wide spectrum of fleet-biased rivals, but it's ultimately the likes of Ford's Mondeo, Volkswagen's Passat and BMW's 3 Series that Skoda will want its new Superb to be elbowing out of the way. 

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What's it like?

Good to drive but not great. This 2.0-litre diesel feels no less punchy than it does in the lighter Octavia, being committed from as low as 1400rpm and properly together by 1800. Revving it out reveals a usefully wide band of torque, too, with no steps in the power delivery.

Our car was fitted with Skoda's six-speed, twin-clutch automatic which continues to frustrate in the same areas as almost all other applications. It dithers from standstill and lags on some manual down changes. Left to its own devices, though, the changes are generally quick and smooth on the move.

It's a hushed engine at idle, this 2.0-litre, and settles down quickly on the motorway in sixth gear. Push hard, however, and it starts to get vocal in the cabin and send back some vibration at the pedals. That said, it's no worse than a Passat or 3 Series-equivalent diesel.

Versions with adaptive dampers, such as our 18in-wheeled test car, have three modes - Normal, Comfort and Sport. While the Superb's steering is always vague, Sport gives it some weight and inspires more confidence in exploring what are actually fairly high levels of grip, as well as stiffening the dampers and keeping the body on its best behaviour.

Make no mistake, though - while the Superb's front end isn't entirely without urgency, this is no Mondeo and certainly no 3 Series in the handling department.

The Superb's ride hinders its mid-corner composure, too. In Normal and Comfort modes, initial contact with bumps is less abrupt but there's too much vertical body movement. Stiffen things up with Sport and undulating roads are better tamed, but sharp edged imperfections are more prominent in the cabin. Again, a standard Mondeo or an adaptive damper-equipped 3 Series or Passat are far more accomplished here.

None of these rivals can match the Superb for space, though. Four tall adults enjoy executive levels of head- and legroom, while three adults can be comfortably accommodated across the rear seats. 

These same seats can be split 60/40 and folded down using standard boot wall levers. The result is a long square space, even if there's a pronounced boot lip to lift heavy bags over and a step-up in the boot floor caused by the rear seatbacks. With the rear seats returned to their upright position, boot space is an impressive 625 litres for 2015 - markedly more than all of the car's rivals.

Our Laurin and Klement model's cabin looked and felt suitably well built and classy. Soft, dense plastics are to be found on the dash and door cards. There are areas of stitched leather, too. From SE trim and upwards, the Superb now comes with two umbrellas, one in each front door - a nice touch. Ultimately, it's not a BMW 3 Series inside but the Superb is verging on Passat territory and is some way clear of a Ford Mondeo.

Its infotainment system is better than a Mondeo's, too, and is the same basic system as found in VW's Passat. Our car had the biggest 8.0-in touchscreen which was bright, responsive and easy to navigate. BMW's even more intuitive iDrive system continues to lead the way, however.

All Superbs come with 16in alloy wheels, a leather multi-function steering wheel, air-con, Bluetooth, DAB radio, city braking technology and a 5.0in touch-screen infotainment system. SE models add bigger alloys, lumbar support, rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control.

It makes more sense to buy SE business, though, as it gets more kit than SE but for the same money. It adds Alcantara seats, climate control, front and rear parking sensors, and electronic parking brake and Skoda's larger 6.5in touchscreen with built-in sat-nav.

The more expensive SE L Executive, and Larin and Klement trims, don't make much financial sense but add luxuries such as bi-xenon headlights, an electronic tailgate, leather heated seats, keyless entry and the even larger 8.0-in touchscreen system.

Should I buy one?

If you put value first, yes you should - although not as this range-topping L&K model. In more sensible trims the Superb is considerably more spacious and practical than its nearest rivals, is better equipped and competitively clean and frugal. That's good news for both private and company buyers alike.

However, if you put driving pleasure first, probably not. A Mondeo and 3 Series are both more fun, and both manage to be more comfortable at the same time. VAG group has made sure its more expensive Passat feels it inside, too.

The final verdict will have to wait until we've sampled a smaller wheeled Superb with the standard chassis on UK roads but should its ride improve, then we'll have a very well-rounded car on our hands. 

Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI 150 Laurin and Klement DSG

Price £30,140; Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power 148bhp at 3500-4000rpm; Torque 251lb ft at 1750-3000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1500kg; Top speed 135mph; 0-62mph 8.9sec; Economy 68.9mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 109g/km, 19%

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Comments
18

28 April 2015
A Passat in a cheaper Suit......?,not a bad thing really,but,what i'd like to see is a Car that is all Skoda,there design.

Peter Cavellini.

28 April 2015
I can't make my mind up about these Passat/Skoda/Seat clones. All very 'good' cars no doubt, but they seem like well-built Toyota Camrys to me; the German equivalent of a white-good.

28 April 2015
Looks like the odd rear end has been sorted which now gives a modern clean looking large saloon. It is a white goods product which everyday motoring is really. It doesn't inspire me to spend my money.

28 April 2015
Walking wrote:

Looks like the odd rear end has been sorted which now gives a modern clean looking large saloon. It is a white goods product which everyday motoring is really. It doesn't inspire me to spend my money.

The old rear end has a bit of distinctiveness, a bit of the old fashioned luxury look about it. The new model just looked like a rejected passat design with some lights from the SEAT part bin and has no personality at all.

Skoda has built up a bit of a reputation for being VW Group's miscellania drawer. A combination of the most practical cars (Octavia, Fabia) and the most distinctive ones (Roomster, Yeti, Superb) with VW and SEAT handling the customers with a more conservative ideas about how a car should look

Lately though with models like the Rapid, Citigo and new Superb Skoda do seem to be becoming more generic. I can't see it doing much for the brand and if they sell a few more cars will that be at the expense of similar looking models from VW/Audi?

28 April 2015
EndlessWaves wrote:
Walking wrote:

Looks like the odd rear end has been sorted which now gives a modern clean looking large saloon. It is a white goods product which everyday motoring is really. It doesn't inspire me to spend my money.

The old rear end has a bit of distinctiveness, a bit of the old fashioned luxury look about it. The new model just looked like a rejected passat design with some lights from the SEAT part bin and has no personality at all.

Skoda has built up a bit of a reputation for being VW Group's miscellania drawer. A combination of the most practical cars (Octavia, Fabia) and the most distinctive ones (Roomster, Yeti, Superb) with VW and SEAT handling the customers with a more conservative ideas about how a car should look

Lately though with models like the Rapid, Citigo and new Superb Skoda do seem to be becoming more generic. I can't see it doing much for the brand and if they sell a few more cars will that be at the expense of similar looking models from VW/Audi?

I do prefer the distinctive looks of the last generation Octavia, Fabia, Yeti but can't defend the previous generation Superb with that most awkward rear 3/4 view and back elevation (easily the worst looking VW product). The new range certainly looks less distinctive apparantly because customers didn't like the heavily chromed front grille. So out goes the more muscular & chunky look and in comes more generic styling that nevertheless communicates precision engineering instead of, say, robustness.

28 April 2015
abkq wrote:

So out goes the more muscular & chunky look and in comes more generic styling that nevertheless communicates precision engineering instead of, say, robustness.

I think you're onto something. The outgoing superb had a robust and solid look that, particularly in estate form, reminded me of the W124 series 1990's Mercedes E-Class. I think it was something about the radius of the curves that made the bodywork steel look thick and heavy. In contrast, the ultra sharp creases of the new model may look precise and "technical", but it also makes the body look thin and somehow lacking substance as does the new Octavia in comparison with its predecessor...or is it just me?

29 April 2015
I agree with Daniel Joseph completely about the radius of the curves making the car look "thin". Mercedes used to manipulate the sheet metal radius to great effect. Now their models just look bulbous. I also think that the ultra sharp creases are there to show off VW group's precision panel fit, whereas Mercedes's nausea inducing creases are there to distract the eye from its appalling panel gaps - just look at the gap where the turned-down bonnet meets the top of the front wing in any E class (saloon, coupe, cabriolet) or the outgoing C class or the A class !

28 April 2015
For a Skoda. Let that number sink in for a moment.
I know it is a high spec one, but the new Jag starts at £27k.

I looked at the pictures first and thought, yes it looks a lot better than before. No silly front and rear over hang, where it used to look as though they used the Polo wheel base on a Passat body. Even the interior seems nice. I thought 'it has great showroom appeal; the vectra, Mondeo and Passat will surely lose sales to it.' Then I saw the price. Eye watering.

28 April 2015
What equipment levels and space does the £27K Jag have though? I'm not criticising your point as I like the idea of the Jaguar, just asking.
It all depends on what you want, I do about £35,000 miles PA, and spend too much of it in traffic waiting for an accident to be cleared, or in a road work queue, or generally looking in weary disbelief at the latest individuals having some road rage battle. The high spec is the winner for me (though in Octavia's as the Superb doesn't fit on the drive) over super precise steering, others may be more fun on an open road but the Skoda is likely more than good enough- and I rarely ever get to an open road anyway, and those that do are riddled with speed cameras.
Interesting the poor ride has been picked up, the Octavia 3 is taking a lot of flak for the same thing.

28 April 2015
Outoftowner1969 wrote:

For a Skoda. Let that number sink in for a moment.
I know it is a high spec one, but the new Jag starts at £27k.

I looked at the pictures first and thought, yes it looks a lot better than before. No silly front and rear over hang, where it used to look as though they used the Polo wheel base on a Passat body. Even the interior seems nice. I thought 'it has great showroom appeal; the vectra, Mondeo and Passat will surely lose sales to it.' Then I saw the price. Eye watering.

100% agree with you all but for your Jaguar comment - it doesn't even begin to draw a like for like comparison. Highest trim level with all bells and whistles -v- the most basic car in range. 2.0Tdi auto -v- small petrol manual. Cavernous space for class -v- tight space for class. Why on earth would anyone compare this car to a basic new Jag? It's chalk 'n cheese. As for price! Well Skoda will entertain discounts on this car from the word go. Good luck obtaining a discount on that Jag that let's face it... nobody wants. When you buy a perceived 'luxury' mark, you don't buy the basic model with smallest engine in manual form.

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