The Skoda Superb arguably offers better value for money than any other car that costs around £20-25,000. But what is it like in the real world? To find out, carwow trekked to Inverness to drive the new model and discover the five things buyers need to know.
It’s bigger than ever
Unlike its predecessor, the third-generation Superb is based on a stretched version of the Volkswagen Golf’s platform. This means Skoda’s designers have been able to increase boot space by 30 litres in both the hatchback and estate with the rear seats up.
Despite its enlarged interior – thanks to an extra 80mm between the front and back wheels – the Superb hatchback has only grown 28mm in length (23mm for the estate). It offers the same class-leading rear legroom but the new platform has also increased elbow room. It’s a great car for sharing with people you don’t actually want to be close to…
In the metal, the car looks understated but the bold character line down the side gives it a more handsome look than its predecessor. It won’t set the pulse racing like a Mazda 6 might, but it’s still a smart-looking car that doesn’t brag about its luxurious credentials.
It’s cleverly designed
Skoda’s ‘Simply Clever’ philosophy extends to its equipment with smart features such as a boot release that senses you waving your foot under the rear bumper, an optional retractable tow hook and remote control of the car’s infotainment system via a smartphone app.
Skoda Superb hallmarks such as the umbrellas in the front door pockets and a torch in the boot remain, while rear seats can now be folded from the boot with the pull of a lever – you don’t have to walk to the rear doors and stretch inside to fold them down. In the cabin, new cupholders grab drinks and allow drivers to open a bottle using just one hand.
Like the exterior, the cabin is an exercise in understatement. Much of the switchgear is shared with the smaller Octavia, but it’s beautifully screwed together and idiot-proof in use. Buyers, however, will simply be stunned with how much space is available.
Always has one eye open
There are a dizzying number of safety systems on the Superb. Autonomous emergency braking, post-collision braking to prevent additional crashes, blind spot monitoring and lane assist all ensure you’re as safe as possible.
The blind spot monitoring also covers you when reversing out of a parking space and can even brake the car if it detects an imminent collision. All this safety equipment has earned the Superb the maximum five-stars from safety experts Euro NCAP under the harsh 2015 rules, meaning you can definitely rely on it to watch out for you.
Still superb to drive
Anyone who’s driven the old Superb will feel instantly at home behind the wheel of the new car. The overwhelming impression is one of extreme stability – the car has almost endless levels of grip and the controls are light and respond predictably.
The ride is simply sublime. Rough road surfaces send small vibrations into the cabin but bigger bumps are almost imperceptible. The tyres can roar slightly on very poor surfaces but, in general, the Superb’s interior is remarkably quiet with almost no wind noise to speak of.
We drove the 1.4-litre 148hp petrol and the 2.0-litre 148hp diesel – the latter is predicted to be the best seller. The petrol is delightfully smooth and quiet yet, despite being just a 1.4, offered plenty of torque making the car feel relaxed. The diesel is smooth, responsive and only becomes noisy when driving very hard. While it’s not as hushed as the petrol, the diesel doesn’t require as much down-shifting for fast overtakes.
A brief jaunt in the smaller 1.6-litre diesel shows it doesn’t feel underpowered but makes more noise than the 2.0-litre version. Later in the year, Skoda will release a super-efficient Greenline version of the Superb – it’s predicted to produce just 95g/km of CO2, making it free to tax until 2017.
Superb for fleet buyers
The Superb has long been a favourite in the fleet sector thanks to its generous specification and strong residual values. Skoda expects 70 per cent of Superb sales to go to the fleet sector so will offer a special SE Business trim that adds sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors, and Alcantara upholstery yet has the same company car-tax value (P11d) as a normal SE.
In addition, Skoda has tested the car’s potential resale prices and found the car is expected to have best-in-class residual values. Even after three years and 36,000 miles, the Superb is predicted to hold a class-leading 48 per cent of its original value, making it a safe bet when the time comes to sell it on – it’s also likely to mean it’ll be a good car to buy on finance.
Superb prices, specs and release date
First deliveries of the Superb will take place in September 2015 and it will cost from £18,640 for an entry-level S model with the 123hp 1.4-litre petrol. An entry-level 1.6-litre diesel will cost £20,040 and the predicted bestseller – the 2.0-litre diesel SE – is £22,090. Top-spec Laurin and Klement versions with the 276hp 2.0-litre turbo petrol, four-wheel drive and a DSG automatic gearbox cost from £35,825 and feature every luxury available for the Superb.
Entry-level S cars get Bluetooth, DAB radio, autonomous emergency braking and an infotainment system. SE versions add climate control, rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control. SE L Executive versions get leather upholstery and satellite navigation. Luxurious Laurin & Klement editions get an upgraded sound system, keyless go and boot opening, driving modes and lane assist.
Read our aggregated reviews of the Skoda Superb and Superb Estate to discover what the UK’s motoring press has to say about it. Put the Skoda Superb hatchback or the Skoda Superb Estate in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save. For more options, head over to our deals page or, if you still can’t decide what car you’d like, check out our car chooser.