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 most efficient model in the Skoda Superb range is the GreenLine diesel. Based on the regular 118hp 1.6-litre unit already available in the Superb, longer gear ratios, low rolling resistance tyres and aerodynamic improvements bump its fuel economy from 68.9mpg up to a highly impressive 76.4mpg, and drop CO2 emissions below 100g/km for both hatchback and estate models. On the road, performance and refinement is largely familiar to anyone who has driven the standard model, except that the fuel gauge will be moving even more slowly than normal – Skoda claims that a range of more than 1,100 miles is possible!
The 148hp 2.0-litre diesel model has enough shove to get the big Superb from 0-62mph in a shade under 9.0 seconds, while an 135mph top speed means quiet cruising at the legal limit is assured. Despite this nippy performance, the Superb is capable of returning 68.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 109g/km.
The 1.4-litre petrol engine aces the class with its mix of fuel economy and performance
Forming the foundations of the range is the 1.4-litre petrol, which is available in either 125 or 150hp guises. Only the latter comes with clever ACT (Active Cylinder Technology), which means half the engine can be rested if isn’t needed – allowing it to return remarkable fuel economy of 57.6mpg compared to the 125hp model’s 52.3mpg. It’s even more remarkable when you factor in the performance it offers – 0-62mph takes 8.6 seconds, the engine is keen to rev, sounds enthusiastic under acceleration and settles to a distant hum at a cruise.
Anyone looking for more performance in subtle, sleeper form would do well to invest some of their attention in the 2.0-litre 276hp TSI petrol Superb. Aside from an extra exhaust, there’s nothing to differentiate it from a normal model. Until you apply the throttle that is. A 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds means few cars will shame it away from the lights, and the combination of four-wheel drive and a twin-clutch gearbox help it keep pace with (an admittedly dynamically superior) BMW 330i in the corners. Even its combined fuel economy figure of 39.8mpg is impressive.
The Skoda’s optional dampers have three settings – Comfort, Normal and Sport – which also alter the weight of the steering, throttle response and (in automatic models) gear change speeds.
Which setting you choose has a distinct effect on the handling of the Skoda Superb with Comfort reportedly giving it “an old Citroen-like quality” allowing the Skoda to float over crests and dips. Sport, meanwhile, tightens things up to rein in body roll – giving the car the ability to carve through a set of corners at speed. It’s Normal (the setting that gives the best of both worlds) that seems, however, to be the one that is best suited to everyday driving.