Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI Elegance
Subtle styling tweaks identify third generation Superb
- Exceptionally spacious and well built cabin
- Above average level of standard equipment
- Premium feel to car inside and out
- Dual opening boot proves a useful feature
- Styling along the flanks could be better resolved
- Small engine capacity variants unlikely to be especially brisk
- Parking assistance technology not foolproof
- Still not a car for keen drivers
The Czech firm has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, with its cars boasting first rate build quality plus a noticeable lift in the looks department. This third-generation Superb is a perfect example of how much the company has achieved in a few short years.
The basic premise remains the same - value for money, spacious cabin - and being a mid-life update this third-generation Superb isn't vastly different from its predecessor. What has changed, though, is the adoption of subtle exterior styling cues to mirror that of the Octavia.
One of the Superb's unique selling points is the fact that it beats more expensive cars when it comes to cabin space. More specifically, rear seat occupants are presented with an abundance of legroom. As such, the Superb has become a firm favourite with the taxi and private hire community
The Superb delivers a little bit more of everything over and above the competition. Build quality, refinement and the standard of included equipment exceed expectations. The big Skoda might not be a driver's car in the same vein as a BMW or Audi, but it can be driven briskly when desired thanks to a modest range of proven engine and gearbox combinations.
With that sensible choice of engines available, including frugal diesels, this Superb comes with all the right tools to get the job done. And while this Superb might look like a saloon in profile, its boot can also be opened as a family-friendly hatch. While Skoda admits this dual opening mechanism won't be a deal breaker, it does add a welcome level of extra versatility.
Our verdict on the Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI Elegance
Pitched at the affordable executive market and routinely battling with cars from way above its price point, not only is the big Skoda an attractive looking proposition it's also a value for money one. High standards abound, whether it's build quality or the level of standard kit offered, and with the most recent tweaks inside and out the Superb remains a serious contender in the affordable premium market.
Easily trumping more expensive but smaller executive level cars for value for money, the combination of space and Skoda's aggressive pricing strategy should make it an attractive proposition. The Czech firm's products are well known for their integrity and, as such, unreliability issues should be minor at best. Opting for a diesel will keep costs down, but only if your yearly mileage tally is high enough to offset the extra running costs.
Space and practicality
With its long wheelbase and capacious boot, nothing beats the Superb when it comes to space in the car's price range. In the cabin, rear seat occupants are blessed with an abundance of legroom. Headroom is pretty good, too. Up front it's a similar story. Storage compartments aren't in short supply, and at the rear the boot's ability to be opened as a saloon or a hatch at the press of a button does much to boost its appeal as a family vehicle.
Controls and display
The convention and operation of the Superb's controls and displays should be familiar to fans of the Skoda brand. Well thought out, clear and intuitive, from the main dials to the ventilation controls it's difficult to find fault. When fitted, even the touchscreen sat-nav display proves easy to navigate.
With its long wheelbase and compliant suspension capable of expertly dealing with all manner of poorly surfaced roads, occupants fore and aft are unlikely to feel uncomfortable in the Superb. Factor in high levels of soundproofing and it's clear that Skoda's engineers have succeeded in creating a luxury ambience at an affordable price point.
Remote central locking is the most obvious and convenient fitment, with an alarm and immobiliser package rolled into one for good measure. The car's saloon-style boot will no doubt ensure favourable attention from insurance companies, and the glovebox and central storage areas are a good size for hiding valuables.
Superb is well equipped, with numerous airbags and electronic stability systems to keep you safe. There's even the option of headlamps that follow the direction you steer in, and change their beam pattern depending on the presence of oncoming traffic to improve visibility.
Skoda isn't promoting the Superb as a car for keen drivers, more of a safe, confidence-inspiring large executive car. Direct steering, progressive brakes and good all-round visibility all help its cause. Diesel engines and their abundance of torque suit the Superb best, while the six-cylinder petrol variant sporting all-wheel drive is unlikely to lure people away from their Audis and BMWs anytime soon.
Family car appeal
Although lacking the flexible seating and the myriad of extras associated with contemporary MPVS, the Superb does offer an unusually spacious cabin. The car's various plush fittings might be at odds with the sticky fingers of young children and the messy paws of the family dog, though. However, the boot with its clever dual opening option will easily swallow shopping and the odd pushchair.
First car appeal
Despite the Superb's size it's not a difficult car to drive. Light and easy to use controls make life behind the wheel straightforward. Where fitted, parking sensors remove uncertainty and the clever parking assist system should reduce the stress of parallel parking.
Quality and image
The integrity of the cabin and the Superb's fittings are first rate and would put many more expensive cars to shame. Too bad there is still resistance in some quarters regarding the car's image. Badge snobs would do well to examine Skoda's current line-up, as the improvements are significant.
The Superb's doors - front and rear - open wide to reveal easy to reach seats. Headroom is also good, and the car's roof doesn't slope much - further improving access and egress. At the rear, the car's boot opens wide from a low lip position, which makes loading straightforward. However at the touch of a button you can also open the boot like a hatch tailgate, further increasing the car's versatility.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
From the basic but more than acceptable CD and radio combination to the hi-tech full colour, touchscreen sat-nav and multimedia system, there's a level of entertainment to suit ever pocket. The regular units work well and boast intuitive controls, while the touch-screen sat-nav unit is versatile and easy to use. Supplementary buttons on the steering wheel are a welcome addition. Sound quality is good, too.
Colours and trim
The Superb looks best in traditional colours such as sliver or dark metallics. These choices accentuate the car's curves and flatter its size respectively. Inside, whether it's cloth or leather everything looks and feels durable and attractive. Cabin brightwork is minimal and suits the car's modest personality.
Thanks to light but direct steering and a smooth throttle the Superb is not difficult to manoeuvre. Where fitted, parking sensors make a big difference, while the largely optional parking assist system is much improved over earlier generations. You activate the system when driving past a suitable parking space. The system measures the space and, if large enough, enables you to simply modulate the throttle and let it steer. You soon learn to trust it, although it takes practice to improve the success rate.
Space saver fitted as standard.
Petrol engine options - 1.4-litre (125bhp); 1.8-litre (160bhp); 3.6-litre V6 (260bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.6-litre (105bhp); 2.0-litre (140bhp, 170bhp). Transmission options: six-speed manual gearbox, six and seven-speed DSG depending on engine choice. All-wheel drive is an option on selected variants. Trim levels: S, SE, Elegance, Laurent and Klement.
Ford Mondeo Benchmark for the keen driver and a good all-rounder
Mazda6 Classy all-rounder but lacks the heritage of the Mondeo or space of the Superb
Volkswagen Passat Affordable premium saloon
Honda Accord Another quality executive model but starting to show its age