What is it?
The third-generation Skoda Superb in Estate form. It’s an all-new version of the Czech manufacturer’s flagship car which aims to offer improved comfort and refinement and lower running costs than its predecessor.
Immediately apparent is the new Superb’s sleeker design. Taking inspiration from the firm's VisionC concept car, it features a large honeycomb grille and more aggressive-looking headlights, which, along with the radiator, are positioned closer to the road compared with the previous model.
The new Superb adopts the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform and is up to 75kg lighter than the outgoing model, despite having grown 23mm longer and 47mm wider and having an 80mm longer wheelbase in this estate guise.
Skoda has armed the Superb with seven engine options - four petrols and three diesels - from launch. With the exception of the 123bhp 1.4 TSI motor, every engine can be paired with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The engines range in power output from the entry-level 118bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel unit up to the range-topping 276bhp 2.0-litre TSI petrol that replaces the outgoing model’s 3.6-litre normally aspirated V6 as the flagship petrol engine.
Five trim levels are available on the Superb: S, SE, SE Business, SE L Executive and the flagship Laurin & Klement. We’re testing the 118bhp 1.6 TDI SE variant mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
What's it like?
Despite being the entry point into oil-burning Superb ownership, this 1.6-litre diesel motor is both surprisingly refined and a decent performer - considering its cubic capacity.
On cold start-up there’s minimal vibration through the foot pedals and the cabin. There’s still a gruffness to the engine note below 1400rpm when pulling away but it’s no louder than its rivals under the same conditions.
Getting up to speed is no issue in this Superb; keep the engine spinning between 1400rpm and 3000rpm and it’s possible to make adequately decent progress in an estate car that tips the scales at a not inconsiderable 1485kg.
It doesn’t feel particularly brisk when riding the torque band, but there’s enough poke to get comfortably up to a national speed limit cruise and stay there, with the needle registering just shy of 1900rpm in sixth.
However, when faced with slow-moving motorhomes and the like you really do need to plan an extra 100 yards or so in advance before darting out for an overtake. It's something you probably wouldn’t give a second thought to in this car's 148bhp 2.0 TDI bigger brother.
The six-speed manual gearbox is as you’d expect from a Volkswagen Group product, which means you get a shift with relatively short throw that’s well weighted and precise. It’s the type of gearshift that works with you when slotting home each ratio.
Pushing the Skoda into a bend does reveal some considerable body lean and the car’s size does make itself known, but there’s ample grip. Wheels are 17in alloys as standard on this variant.