What is it?
Potentially a major headache for established large load-luggers from Ford, Vauxhall and Volvo. The Skoda Superb estate completes the ‘combi’ range, the Octavia and Fabia already coming in estate versions. In terms of interior space it puts some London apartments to shame, let alone its closest rivals.
Seats down, the cavernous luggage bay is 1865 litres, eclipsing the 1733 of the Ford Mondeo, its nearest competition. Rear chairs in place, 633 litres plays the Blue Oval’s 542-litre capacity.
The Superb is already arguably the best-value product in the Czech marque’s range, and while the estate version will have around a £1300 premium when it arrives in the UK, that still translate to decent value.
With a footprint around the same as a Mondeo estate or Volvo V70, the Superb is a large car, but not intimidating, and it comes with a range of diesel and petrol engines, all featuring direct injection. The petrol engines are a 1.4 TSI, 1.8 TSI and 256bhp 3.6 V6, and the diesel line-up features the 1.9 TDI and 2.0 TDI, which comes in 140bhp and 168bhp guise.
A Haldex four-wheel drive system is available on the V6 and 1.8 TSI, and the more powerful 2.0 TDI. Sales of the saloon/hatch Superb in the UK have been dominated by the 170bhp TDI, and the firm expects this to be the big seller in estate form, with just a few V6 models likely to find owners.
Spec levels are high, and even in the basic S trim (followed by SE and Elegance) the Superb gets 16-inch alloys, roof rails, electric windows all round, ‘Hill Hold Control’, and a host of other kit. Elegance spec gives you pretty much everything you’ll ever need.
What’s it like?
Visually, the transition from saloon estate couldn’t have worked better for the Superb. Whereas the current car looks a little awkward and elongated, the estate is nicely proportioned, with handsome lines and elegant side glass, which Skoda even likens to that of a coupe. That’s artistic license, perhaps, but there is no denying the Superb makes a great-looking wagon.
Folding the rear seats is straightforward, creating a flat luggage bay, and there are various straps and netting on offer to help secure wayward luggage. A side compartment on the left is good for concealing valuables and a double-level floor is available as an option. Cabin space is enourmous for any class of car, especially in the rear, where legroom is akin to that of a long-wheelbase executive saloon. The interior quality is first rate too - a match for anything in the VW range, and a cut above what most rivals offer.
The model we tested was the entry-level petrol, the 123bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre TSI, and Skoda admits this will not be a big seller. Punchy as the unit may be for such a small capacity, it struggles in the 1504kg Superb. To its credit, the small petrol engine never sounds thrashy but it quickly runs out of grunt on inclines, leaving you to stir the six-speed manual for all it’s worth. This would only get a lot worse if the car were fully laden.
Underpowered it may be, but even this entry version has levels of refinement a car of this price has no right to posess. Road noise is kept to a minimum and the ride is largely untroubled by the ruts and potholes we tested it on around Milan, wafting across them rather than crashing. Corners are disposed of in much the same way as the saloon, meaning safe, composed handling, if not quite as sharp as a Mondeo’s.