Skoda Superb review – sensible family car still a brilliant buy
The large hatchback and estate aren’t cool: fact. But the Skoda Superb is a great car in spite of it
The Skoda Superb might feel like something of a relic from another time, but when has something that just works ever felt like a bad thing? Quite simply, the Superb’s attributes equate it to being an excellent everyday car for the everyday driver. Spacious, but not cumbersome, free of pomposity yet well built and with plenty of toys, the Superb feels carefully honed, built on solid foundations and without the need to appeal to anything beyond its own capability.
In the current model’s journey since its initial debut in 2016, the Superb’s engine range has been revitalised to suit, but still with plenty of variability. From motorway-friendly diesels and plug-in hybrids to turbocharged petrols that offer more punch, there’s no limitation on choice.
Add to this the availability of a both handsome and simply cavernous estate variant, available all-wheel drive and a smart interior, and the Superb equates to a brilliant everyday car that is right for the here and now.
Skoda Superb: in detail
- Engine, gearbox and technical highlights > The full Superb engine range is turbocharged, whether diesel, petrol or plug-in. Choice of six-speed manual or DSG. Four-wheel drive features on top-end diesels and petrols.
- Performance and 0-60 time > With engines from Golf GTIs and Cupra Leons the range-topping Superbs are respectively quick, while diesels are punchy in everyday driving.
- Ride and handling > Precise cornering characteristics and impressive body control don't harm the Superb's excellent ride. Adaptive dampers are well worth the money, where available.
- MPG and running costs > Diesels are the real economy stars, but no Superb will cost too much to run.
- Interior and tech > Bland design but high quality, low noise and well assembled. Huge space too, while various safety and infotainment features give it luxury car appeal.
- Design > Handsome and chiselled, the Superb could pass muster as an Audi, though the understated looks won't appeal to everyone.
Prices, specs and rivals
Gone are the days of base-spec large cars, as with the move to leasing and PCP going for the absolute base model has ceased to make financial sense, hence the inflated prices of even the most basic Superb. Priced from £26,415, the base 1.5TSI SE hatchback is over £6000 more than a basic model cost at the start of this generation. All models have more standard kit as compensation, with LED headlights, a 10-inch infotainment screen, dual-zone climate control and cruise control standard across the range.
Prices quickly rise, too, with diesels and larger petrols each a few extra thousand on top. However, it’s the plug-in hybrid that tops the chart, straying into the price point of the compact premium set. Trim levels are largely condensed too, with SE, SE Tech and SE L models making up the entry-level parts of the range, and Sportline and L&K trims occupying the sports and luxury arms at the top.
A L&K PHEV estate will represent about as expensive a Superb as one can get at around £46,000, but it’s superbly well equipped and cheap on tax. The high-performance 276bhp petrol costs around the same on the sticker, but thanks to a high CO2 rating will cost significantly more to run, if not use any more fuel.
There’s no denying that it’s still great value for the performance and equipment levels, comfortably undercutting similarly specified Volkswagen Group equivalents and dipping below other mainstream rivals from Ford, Kia and Mazda.
Only Vauxhall’s Insignia starts at a cheaper price, though it can’t match the Skoda for space, equipment or driver appeal. Mazda’s 6 can match and indeed beat the Skoda on the last one, with sharper steering, a more playful chassis and a satisfying tactility to its controls that no other car in the class can match. Ford used to offer similar with the Mondeo, but the latest car is thoroughly underwhelming to drive and doesn’t feel a patch on the Skoda in the cabin.
With a £20,000-30,000 budget you can, of course, find better driver’s cars than any of these in the hot hatch segment (for the price of a top-level Superb you can also buy a Volkswagen Golf R), but if you need more space, Skoda’s offering will impress you more than most.