The Skoda Superb, especially in 4×4 Estate guise, is an excellent all-rounder, offering lots of space and secure high speed cruising – and better than expected real-life fuel economy.
Skoda has been showing continued progress with heading upmarket over recent years, and what better way to demonstrate this than the latest Superb Estate, which sets out to prove once and for all that motorists would be very foolish to ignore this car because of any preconceived views about the brand.
On the outside, the Superb is a good-looking car – in our view even more so in the case of the Estate than the Saloon. Inside, things have moved on a great deal from Skodas from just a few years ago, which had very basic-looking dashboards.
There’s also progress under the skin. A 2.0 TDI 190PS 2-litre turbodiesel is mated to a six-speed DSG transmission, and our test car had 4×4 capability. This whole package is very appealing, even if it is standard Volkswagen Group fare.
But the big selling point for the Superb Estate is the space it offers – for passengers and especially for luggage.
Skoda has managed to tick the vast majority of the boxes with the Superb. Steering, handling and ride are all good. With this 4×4 powertrain, grip is much better than the typical front-wheel drive Skoda chassis, resulting in a car that feels extremely sure-footed when driving progressively on wet roads.
The engine offers good performance, and the six-speed DSG transmission (which, unusually, has no steering-wheel mounted paddles to change gear) generally works well once on the move. The car and its powertrain is ideally suited to motorway cruising.
Although the car still feels refined and comfortable overall, you feel a reasonable amount of direct connection with the road when driving, which is good; the driving experience of many new cars is too insulated from the road.
You can change driving mode, but to do this you press a button near the gear selector, then choose the required mode on the touchscreen – which is all just too much effort. Instead it’s easier just to select Sport mode on the transmission by pulling the gear lever down again when already in Drive.
The main issue we found with the car is that the transmission can be slow to respond from standstill, and this situation is even worse when pulling away from a halt when the stop/start system has cut the engine. The gearbox also changes gear in Drive at very low revs – we appreciate that this is in the interest of economy, but sometimes the revs are just a little too low. Sport mode is better, offering decent responses.
Another couple of minor observations are that the cruise control is hidden away behind the steering wheel where you can’t see it (a common issue on a number of cars), and the button to open the tailgate, rather being located under the bottom right-hand side of the dashboard, where it is on many cars, is positioned near the gear selector, where you could easily push it by mistake.
The official NEDC combined fuel economy figure of the Superb is 55.4mpg, equating to 135g/km CO2. This is excellent for such a large 4×4 estate. Real-life fuel economy is always expected some way off the official figure, but over a week, much of it on motorways, the Superb averaged 47.3mpg – which is actually very good.
The Superb also has a large fuel tank, resulting in a long driving range – we managed over 600 miles on one tank. This all shows that despite much media backlash against diesels, such engines are still an efficient way of covering many motorway miles.
The Skoda Superb L&K Estate 2.0 TDI 190PS SCR DSG 4×4 costs £35,040. Our test car had the options of 19-inch alloy wheels (£650), metallic paint (£535), temporary spare (£100), and smartgate (£100); taking the total price to £36,425. Our test car was one model down from the top of the range; Superb Estate prices start at around £20,000. Especially at the lower end, this represents good value for money. To set this in some form of context, the Audi A6 Avant range starts at £34,345 and rises to £84,840.
There’s also a hatchback model, and seven engine options, consisting of four TSI petrol and three TDI diesel units, with outputs ranging from 120PS for the 1.6 TDI to 280PS for the top of the range 2.0 TSI engine. Manual transmissions and front-wheel drive are also available.
There are five trim levels: S, SE, SE Business, SE L Executive and Laurin & Klement.
The Superb 4×4 is ideal for carrying lots of people and luggage on longer motorway journeys, when it has good performance, it feels very surefooted, and the economy is also respectable. It’s very competent – rather than exciting – to drive.
Our test car may be seen as expensive, but if you compare it with the Audi A6 range, it represents good value (although depreciation may not be great). However there are many cheaper models in the range, and these really do represent a lot of car for the money.
Slow transmission pick-up aside, overall the Skoda Superb Estate 4×4 is an excellent all-rounder, to the extent that we’re rewarding it with a Green-Car-Guide rating of 9 out of 10.