Road test: Skoda Superb

Posted on August 21st, 2015 by James Luckhurst

The Skoda Superb really lives up to its name’s bold claim.

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Road test: Skoda Superb

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What is it?

The Superb is Skoda’s flagship, newly updated with slicker styling, an improved chassis, new engines and more room inside, while shedding the complex twin-door saloon/hatch design of the old car.

How safe is it?

It’s the safest Skoda yet made, with lots of high-tech safety kit. There is an array of crash-prevention systems to guard against collisions, and good protection if the worst happens.

Who should buy one?

A canny customer who wants a large family car with lots of worthwhile kit and executive gizmos, but who doesn’t want to pay a fortune for it. Not for badge snobs, though.

Road test by Sue Baker published 21 August 2015

 

 

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Road test: Skoda Superb

Smooth, well-mannered and civilised, the Superb is a very enjoyable car to drive. The previous model was always a satisfyingly well-sorted car, and this new one has the same feel with just a little more verve and refinement. The balance between ride comfort and handling feels very nicely resolved. Even a coarse road surface does not to disturb the cabin’s calm unduly.

The car has very good body control, and so feels well composed for a swift drive on a bendy road. Don’t expect sports car handling, though, because it is more orientated towards a limousine’s composure, but with just a bit of a sporty edge to it. The nicely damped and cushioned ride quality makes the Superb a low-fatigue car over a long distance. It is in its element gobbling motorway miles with very little wind noise or engine intrusion to disturb you.

There is a crisp edge to the steering, which gives pretty good feedback and communicates quite pertly what’s happening at the road surface. Models with the six-speed manual gearbox have a nice slick action, but the DSG twin-clutch auto suits the car well for driving ease and keeps the engine on song for strong performance. When you start from cold it can initially seem a bit sluggish through the auto changes, but gets into its stride pretty quickly and gives the car a zestful feel when you are in the mood to press on and shift a lot of miles under the wheels.

This 2.0-litre diesel is a lively performer which feels rapid off the mark and is running well within its reserves at motorway pace. The all-round feel of the way the Superb drives is of a thoroughly engineered and very accomplished car that would be a lot more expensive with a German badge on the front.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Road test: Skoda Superb

The Superb has always been excellent for space, and now it is even roomier. The car’s wheelbase has been extended by 80mm, and the body 47mm wider than the old model’s. This all adds up to a car that feels big in every direction. There is 39mm of extra elbow-room in the front seats, 69mm more in the back, and 25mm has been added to rear headroom.

It’s not at the expense of boot space though, because that has been increased too, up by 30 litres to an exceptional 625 litres with all five seats in place. The back seats also fold down to give a long, flat floor with enough room to carry a pair of bikes. For convenience, there are levers in the sides of the boot to let you flop the rear seats forward. Electronic operation of the large tailgate is an optional extra, as is a sensor that enables you to open the boot by waving your foot under the back bumper.

SAFETY
Road test: Skoda Superb

Safety has been given high priority. The Superb has lane assist to warn if the car is starting to wander out of line, and blind spot detection to guard against pulling out with another vehicle where you can’t easily see it. There is also a traffic jam assist feature that applies the brakes for you in heavy traffic. Rear traffic alert protects against the risk of hitting something when reversing out of a parking bay.

EQUIPMENT
Road test: Skoda Superb

All versions of the Superb come equipped with multi-collision braking, alloy wheels, LED rear lights, air conditioning, DAB digital radio and a touchscreen infotainment system. With SE trim you also get cornering front fog lights, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and SmartLink to view mobile phone apps on the dashboard screen. There are also clever details, like a folding umbrella handily stowed in each front door, and a cup holder grip device for opening a water bottle one-handed.

COSTS

Road test: Skoda Superb

The Superb range starts from £18,640 for a petrol car, which is actually £50 cheaper than the old model’s base price. The vast majority of Superbs will be sold as diesels, with prices starting from just over £20,000. Fixed-price servicing packages are available to manage running costs and avoid any unexpected bills. A Greenline model, emitting just 95g/km of carbon dioxide, is due next year, and will offer low fuel bills and cheap Vehicle Excise Duty payments.

WE SAY

The Skoda Superb really lives up to its name’s bold claim.

AT A GLANCE:
Price: £30,220
Performance: 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds
Economy: 56.6mpg combined
Insurance: Group 23
Tax: Band E (£130 first year)

Figures for the Superb 2.0 TDI 190 4×4 DSG