Skoda Superb Estate (2015-2019) review
If you need a large family car with loads of room in the back and a massive boot, then the Skoda Superb estate fits the bill perfectly. It provides more space inside than alternatives like the Ford Mondeo estate, Volkswagen Passat estate and the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer.
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The Skoda Superb estate is one of those rare cars, where there is very little to criticise. You want space, practicality and excellent value? The Superb gives you all of that, plus a fine drive as well.
The first Superb was launched back in 2001, with a new model arriving in 2008, and perhaps one of the few criticisms that could be levelled at those old models was their ungainly styling. However, Skoda has well and truly sorted out that issue with this latest version. Its angular front grille gives it new-found character, while there’s something quite German and upmarket about the design, which is no great surprise, given that Skoda is part of the Volkswagen Group, alongside Audi.
Inside, too, the car looks and feels very high-quality, even if it’s not quite as classy as a VW or Audi. It’s also packed full of handy little touches – including umbrellas hidden in the front doors and a removable torch in the boot on most models – that make it a joy to use in everyday life.
As soon as you start driving the Superb, you’ll realise that it’s been designed to be comfortable. Rather than being firm and sporty, the suspension has been set up to absorb bumps in the road. Even so, when you get going a bit more quickly, the big Skoda is still fun to drive, without too much lean in corners.
There’s a wide range of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, so you can decide how to strike the compromise between performance and economy. The most economical model can return more than 70mpg, for example, whereas the quickest versions are as fast as any hot hatch you care to mention. And, if you want all-weather grip, four-wheel drive is available, too.
Skodas are renowned for their value for money, and the Superb is a perfect example. Standard equipment on every model includes alloy wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, an eight-speaker stereo and electric windows all round. At the top of the range, you can take your pick of luxuries such as three-zone climate control, a WiFi hotspot, heated windscreen and automatic parking system.
Thanks to its range of qualities, the Superb Estate is just the car to prove badge snobs wrong
With sharp looks on top of everything else it does so well, the Skoda Superb is one of the best cars on sale. Admittedly, it may not be quite as sharp to drive as an Audi, but that’s not really important: most families will be more interested in the comfortable suspension that absorbs bumps, yet is still perfectly happy if you do up the pace.
Badge snobs may prefer a VW or Audi, but they’ll be missing out, because the Skoda offers 99 per cent of those cars’ perceived quality for significantly less money. As a family estate car, it’s extremely hard to fault.
The Superb Estate is way bigger than most similar-size alternatives (and even some much larger cars), but you don’t get remote-folding back seats as standard
The amount of legroom your back-seat passengers get might tempt you to bribe one of them into driving for you…
If you want to carry tall passengers, you’ll struggle to find an estate car that’s better at the job than the Superb. There’s more than enough room in the front for six-footers, and any passengers in the back have some serious legroom at their disposal. The panoramic sunroof (optional on every model except the most basic S) is expensive, but highly recommended, as it makes the interior feel light and airy and doesn’t make as significant a dent in headroom as it does in some cars.
It probably won’t surprise you in the least to hear that a car as practical as the Superb has well thought out storage areas. The door bins and glovebox are bigger than in alternative models and there’s a huge number of lidded storage areas for nick-nacks. However, you need to pay extra for boot dividers so, unless you do that, things might slide around in the cavernous space.
It’s hard to imagine ever needing a bigger boot than the one in the Superb estate. Even with the rear seats up, it offers 660 litres – which is much more than a Ford Mondeo estate and even bigger than in a Mercedes E-Class estate, a far more expensive car. When you drop the Skoda’s rear seats down – something that’s done in seconds by yanking a couple of levers – the cargo capacity leaps to a massive 1,950 litres.
It’s easy to use, too, thanks to the movable floor that you can position flush with the boot lip, making it easy to slide large items in. There’s enough room for objects up to 3.3 metres long, and top-spec L&K models also get an electrically operated tailgate that lets you adjust the amount it opens – handy if you need to open the boot in a low-ceilinged multi-storey car park, for example.
You might be surprised to know that the Superb is based on the same structure as a Volkswagen Golf and its advanced design means it is lighter than you’d think given how big it is.
The diesel engines are a perfect fit for the sensible Superb
The bestseller in the UK is the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel, which gets the car from 0-62mph in a very decent 9.1 seconds. It provides plenty of power to shift the car when it’s fully loaded and for swift overtaking manoeuvres. It can also return fuel economy of well over 60mpg and has CO2 emissions of less than 120g/km, but the same engine is quieter in the new Audi A4.
If you want more performance, there’s a 190hp version of the same engine, which returns fuel economy of up to 61.4mpg. However, if you go for the version with four-wheel-drive, it makes the car heavier, and despite its 0-62mph time of 8.1 seconds, it doesn’t feel much faster than the 148hp model.
If you don’t cover that many miles each year or don’t often carry heavy loads, a petrol engine may make more sense, and among the options is a 1.4-litre model with 150hp. It can return fuel economy of 53.3mpg and produces CO2 emissions of 122g/km.
At the top of the range is a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 280hp. It’s the same engine that’s used in the high-performance Volkswagen Golf R and it’s able to blast the big Superb from 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds. Trouble is, it comes with running costs to match: fuel economy of 39.2mpg and 164g/km CO2 emissions.
You and your passengers will appreciate the soft suspension in the Superb, as it means everyone feels cushioned from bumps in the road. It does allow the car’s body to move around a bit, especially along an undulating road, but that movement never feels uncontrolled, even if you’re going fast down a twisting country road.
In fact, the Superb is very sure-footed, has plenty of grip and gives you a lot of confidence, thanks particularly to the reassuring feeling you get through the large steering wheel. If you want, you can add a bit more weight to the steering by switching to Sport mode in the Drive Select system, and enthusiastic drivers should consider the optional adaptive dampers, which give you a choice between ‘sport’ and ‘comfort’ settings. The former means the car leans less in corners and feels a little more responsive to drive, while the latter allows the car to cushion the bumps even more effectively.
If you spend a lot of time on the motorway, the Superb will suit you down to the ground. It’s very quiet and comfortable, and you can specify adaptive cruise control and lane assist systems, which mean that the driver doesn’t have to do much more than guide the steering wheel at a cruise, making the Superb easy and relaxing over long distances.
Some models come with a DSG twin-clutch gearbox and, although it can occasionally be slow to change down in automatic mode, the problem can be avoided by using the paddles on the steering wheel to change gear manually. Finally, if you regularly drive on wet or slippery roads, or use your car for towing, you should consider one of the models with four-wheel drive.
While Skoda has kept the design of the Superb’s interior very simple, it feels extremely well built and its clear layout makes it very easy to use.