New car review

Skoda Superb Estate test drive

The facelifted Skoda Superb Estate remains a car for all occasions

It’s one of those phrases thrown around far more than it should be in motoring circles, but the Skoda Superb Estate really is ‘all the car you’d ever need’. Whether it’s been a spacious family car or a corporate company car, this car has its brief nailed.

As Skoda’s flagship model, it’s a perfect showcase for what this Volkswagen Group-owned brand is all about – simple innovation, spaciousness and affordability. And to ensure it continues to be a worthy ‘halo’ model for the firm, it’s been given a mid-life facelift.

We’ve already tried it in hatchback form, but here’s our first go with an estate body…

What’s new about the Skoda Superb Estate?

Overall it’s a fairly mild update for the Skoda Superb, receiving slight styling tweaks that involves rejigging the front end and fitting clever new Matrix LED headlights that can automatically filter the main beam around traffic – meaning you can leave the car constantly on full-beam. Inside, convenience has also been enhanced with wireless phone charging and an underfloor boot storage divider.

Additional safety kit has also been fitted in the form of predictive cruise control. The Superb retains its pre-facelift five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, recorded when the car was tested back in 2015.

How does it look?

The latest generation of Skoda Superb, introduced in 2015, has always been a handsome car, regardless of whether it’s in hatchback or estate form.

Skoda has built on this with some mild styling changes to help give it a fresher look. The tweaked grille is the most obvious change, while the front bumper is also subtly refreshed.

One of the most obvious ways of telling this updated Superb apart from its predecessor, though, is by looking at the rear where you’ll spot the firm’s new ‘SKODA’ lettering laid out across the boot – replacing the conventional badge offered previously.

What’s the spec like?

Even entry-level Superb models in ‘S’ trim get plenty of standard kit, with 16-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen, LED front and rear lights and keyless start being included for the £25,645 starting price for the Skoda Superb Estate. You can save yourself £1,300 by choosing the hatchback version, too.

In high-spec SE L trim the Superb comes laden with standard kit, including Matrix LED headlights, heated front seats and a whole host of safety equipment, including blind-spot monitoring. Our test car also came with the larger nine-inch touchscreen as a £1,210 option – something we don’t feel is necessarily worth spending extra on as the regular eight-inch unit is more than up to the job. Though even with that, £595 metallic paint a £150 spare wheel, the Superb only costs £33,995.

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Given an entry-level BMW 3 Series Touring (which is also smaller) costs from £34,065, we reckon the Superb still represents fantastic value for money.

What’s it like inside?

If you’re looking for a spacious estate, there are few as versatile and practical as the Superb. With five seats in place, it has the largest boot of any wagon on sale today, with a huge 660 litres of space. Folding the rear bench increases this to an astonishing 1,950 litres. You’d be looking at a seven-seat MPV or SUV to get a boot as big as this one.

Rear seat space is also exceptionally generous, with luxury car levels of room in the back offering plenty of room even for taller adults.

And while the interior quality might not be up to the standard of premium rivals, plenty of soft-touch materials, leather upholstery and a clear layout still makes the Superb’s cabin a very pleasant place to spend time. Touches like umbrellas in the door and little bins in the door cards are also perfect examples of the ‘Simply Clever’ innovations Skoda is great at offering.

What’s under the bonnet?

There is no shortage of choice when it comes to powertrain options for the Skoda Superb, with plenty of diesel and petrol engines and a new plug-in hybrid. The 2.0-litre diesel engines have long proven to be the most popular, though with diesel slowly falling out of favour the petrol versions are likely to rise in demand on this new model.

Under the bonnet of our test car is the VW Group’s staple 2.0-litre petrol unit which, in this guise, produces 190hp and 320Nm of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission.

It’s decently quick, with 0-60mph taking 7.5 seconds and it’ll reach a claimed top speed of 142mph. As for efficiency, Skoda claims it’ll return around 37mpg combined, though on a long journey we found it could quite easily return 45mpg, with CO2 emissions of 141g/km.

What’s it like to drive?

Despite a relatively punchy engine under the bonnet, the Superb isn’t a model that’s about delivering maximum driver enjoyment – rather it feels much better suited to relaxed cruising.

The ride is very comfortable even on the larger 18-inch alloy wheels fitted to our test car, and it soaks up potholes tremendously well. This 2.0-litre petrol engine is also refined and smooth – offering a plentiful amount of power to the Superb, though the cheaper 150hp 1.5-litre petrol would likely offer all the performance most would need. We also found the seven-speed automatic gearbox a bit hesitant at times.

Light steering, while not inspiring much confidence, makes the Superb an easy car to manoeuvre around town – helping to make it feel like a smaller car than it is. That’s handy because it really is vast. Measuring nearly five metres long, it’s a very similar length to a Range Rover Sport.

Verdict

This facelift might only have seen marginal changes introduced to the Skoda Superb, though with a fresher look and additional safety kit, it has only helped to strengthen this model’s positioning further.

This 2.0-litre petrol unit might not be the sweetest spot in this model’s range, as you could be better served by the smaller and cheaper 1.5-litre petrol engine, or a more frugal 2.0-litre diesel instead. But either way, this can’t detract from what is one of the most impressively well-rounded cars on sale today, which offers a mix of spaciousness and refinement that very few cars can equal.

Similar cars

Audi A4 | BMW 3 Series | Ford Mondeo | Kia Optima | Mazda 6 | Mercedes-Benz C-Class | Peugeot 508 | Volkswagen PassatVolvo V60

Key specifications

Model as tested: Skoda Superb Estate SE L
Price (on-road, as tested): £33,990
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol
Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic
Power: 190 hp
Torque: 320 Nm
Top speed: 142 mph
0-60mph: 7.5 seconds
Fuel economy (combined): 35.3 – 37.7 mpg (WLTP)
CO2 emissions: 141 g/km
Euro NCAP safety rating: Five stars (2015)

Ted Welford
Ted Welford
Articles by Ted Welford are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.

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