Full road test review of the new Skoda Superb estate – and it’s a blinder.
Skoda is quickly cementing itself as the smart driver’s choice thanks to a fleet of excellent vehicles representing great value for money.
The new Superb hatchback appealed to the head as well as the heart thanks to fantastic handling, an upmarket feel and a sexy new look. Skoda has now broadened the range to include an estate model (or combi, as it’s known in Europe) which offers even more practicality.
We put it through its paces on the beautiful and demanding roads of Bavaria to see if it’s a match for its rivals.
The Skoda Superb’s impressive new look is one of its biggest selling points. This estate model retains much of what made the hatch so appealing, with a multitude of sharp lines and creases giving it a sculpted contemporary look.
The estate body style means extra bulk, of course, and this gives it a less athletic, more bulbous aesthetic in profile, but the added rear girth gives the estate a more muscular look than the hatch, which is arguably quite generic-looking towards the rear.
The Skoda Superb estate is massive. Skoda claims it has the best leg and headroom in its segment, and we’re inclined to agree. We’d certainly love to meet the giant-limbed circus freak that claims there isn’t enough room in one of these.
We’d defy anyone to run out of space in the boot, too. The new Skoda Superb estate is 23mm longer than its predecessor, but adds 27 litres more boot space for a total of 660 litres. Drop the seats (easily done via a pair of switches in the boot) and that space increases to a giant 1,950 litres. The Volkswagen Passat estate, which is massive by anyone’s measurement, offers between 650 and 1,780 litres depending on seat arrangement.
The boot is so big, in fact, that it’s a good idea to use the movable partition blocks that stick, Velcro-style, to the boot floor, allowing you to create custom-sized segments to keep your luggage in place.
Like the hatch, the Skoda estate has a host of useful features that make life easier for those using it. The boot lid opens electrically at the push of a button, or a kick of a leg underneath the rear bumper, and closes with a simple tug. There’s a removable magnetic lamp that works as a torch, an ice scraper in the fuel compartment and umbrellas in the doors.
Performance & Handling
The Superb hatchback drives wonderfully and, surprise surprise, the estate is no different. It’s a larger, slightly heavier car, but this doesn’t rob it of any dynamic ability.
All the major controls (steering, indicators, gearbox controls) feel smooth and well-engineered – reassuringly expensive, one might say – and it goes about its business in a quiet, serene manner regardless of the engine you choose.
Our test car was fitted with the Dynamic Chassic Control adaptive suspension system, which allows the driver to choose between eco, comfort, normal, sport or individual drive modes. We found ourselves sticking to normal, as it’s the best setting overall, although those wishing to unleash their inner hooligan will occasionally find sport appealing.
Regardless of mode, it’s a surprisingly fun car to drive, offering plenty of grip, agility and responsiveness. Those looking for performance should opt for the 2.0 TSI 4×4 , which produces 280PS (276bhp) and allows 0-62mph in a blistering 5.8 seconds. The model we’d recommend to most people would be the 2.0 TDI 150 PS (148bhp), which offers impressive pulling power and 0-62mph in a decent enough 8.9 seconds.
Economy & Environment
The Skoda Superb estate offers good, if not best in class, fuel economy and emissions. Those primarily interested in saving fuel (and possibly Mother Nature) will be best off with the 1.6 TDI 120PS (118bhp) model in either manual or automatic forms, or better yet the 2.0 TDI 150PS (148bhp) manual – both of which return around 68mpg.
The latter is likely to be the best seller in the UK, as it offers the best compromise of power and efficiency. CO2 emissions are rated at 135g/km, so expect to pay £130 per year.
Skoda could do better in this area. A BMW 320d Touring can deliver similar economy, better performance and far lower CO2 emissions.
Equipment & value
The Skoda Superb estate has an almost bewildering spec list. It’s available in S, SE, SE Business, SE L Executive and the top-end Laurin & Klement spec, named after the company’s founders.
Entry-level petrol-powered S cars (£19,840) get Bluetooth, DAB radio, auto emergency braking with pedestrian protection, trip computer, stop/start, five-inch touchscreen, USB and an SD card slot. You also get autohold, 16-inch alloys and LED rear lights.
SE spec upgrades you with 17-inch alloys, adds manual lumbar support, dual-zone air con, electric folding door mirrors, twin umbrellas in the doors, rear parking sensors, cornering front fog lights, adaptive cruise control, an upgraded radio with 6.5-inch touchscreen and SmartLink, which lets you see your smartphone’s menus on the car’s infotainment screen.
The top of the range Laurin & Klement model includes 18-inch alloys, an excellent 10-speaker sound system, heated windscreen, piano black interior inserts, tri-zone climate control and a suite of fancy tech. This includes blind spot detection, lane assist, park assist, TV tuner, gesture-controlled boot opening, auto parking, dynamic chassis control and a huge list of other features we couldn’t possibly list here.
The Superb promises a stronger body than previous cars, six airbags and city emergency brake, all as standard, so you’re in good hands should the worst happen.
Skoda also offers a healthy array of electronic safety systems including adaptive steering, which steers the car automatically between lane markings (although you do need to have your hands on the wheel), adaptive cruise control, which lets you follow the car in front at a safe distance, plus various radar sensors that warn you when you’re about to run into something – either when driving or exiting a parking space.
Like the Skoda Superb hatchback, the Estate is a fabulous car. It has a premium look and feel, drives impressively, has a host of clever features throughout and impressive practicality. It’s so good, we’re struggling to think of a legitimate reason why you’d buy an equivalent car from the more premium Audi brand.