The Skoda Superb has been set up with comfort in mind – it’s suspension is soft, allowing it to float over the worst that UK roads can throw at it. But underneath its spongy veneer lurks an accomplished chassis that’s capable of entertaining in bends.
The bestseller in the UK is the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel, which gets the car from 0-62mph in a swift 9.2 seconds. It provides plenty of power to shift the car when it’s fully loaded and for swift overtaking manoeuvres. It can also return a real-world fuel economy of more than 45mpg if driven carefully and has CO2 emissions of less than 120g/km.
If you want more performance, there’s a 190hp version of the same engine, which will sprint from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds and return similar fuel economy. However, if you go for the version with four-wheel-drive, it makes the car heavier, so doesn’t feel much faster than the lesser 150hp model.
The 1.4-litre petrol engine aces the class with its mix of fuel economy and performance
If you don’t cover that many miles each year or don’t often carry heavy loads, a petrol engine may make more sense. The range starts with a 1.5-litre model with 150hp, which is smooth, quiet and will return 40mpg in the real world. It’s a great choice if you do most of your driving in town, too.
At the top of the range is a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 272hp. 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 just 5.5 seconds. Trouble is, it comes with running costs to match.
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.
The six-speed manual gearbox is light and easy to get on with, while the seven-speed automatic flicks between gears quickly and smoothly when in auto mode. It’s just shame that it can dither a bit when pulling out from junctions in the Superb’s more relaxed driving modes.