Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI SE L Executive
Conservative looks hide an impressively competent estate car
- Premium-grade well-built cabin
- Generous levels of standard equipment
- Cavernous and versatile load space
- Generous level of rear legroom difficult to replicate in this class
- Exterior styling possibly too conservative for some
- Small engine capacity variants struggle when pushed hard
- Still plenty of tempting optional extra kit capable of bumping up the price
- Keen drivers should look elsewhere
It might look a lot like an Octavia but this is Skoda's all-new Superb Estate model, riding on the Volkswagen Group's highly adaptable mid-size platform and boasting a range of new or improved engines. Already a spacious car, this generation has been stretched slightly and can be had with a wide range of enhanced safety and comfort equipment.
Boasting an incremental increase in dimensions, one of the Superb Estate's major selling points remains; the car beats more expensive rivals when it comes to space - both in the cabin and at the rear. Crucially, rear seat occupants are presented with an abundance of legroom. As such, the car is a firm favourite with taxi and private hire firms.
The Superb is famed for delivering a little bit more of everything over and above the competition. Build quality, refinement and the amount of standard kit easily overshadows more expensive alternative choices. While the Superb Estate might not be a driver's car in the same vein as a BMW or Audi, it can be driven briskly when desired thanks to a new and updated range of engines.
In estate guise the Superb performs a dual role: one of plush executive transport and capacious load-lugger. The two mix well, and Skoda has never been shy in promoting the car's utility character. The upshot is a car capable of swallowing flat-pack - and assembled - furniture whole, yet also able to cope with passengers and their luggage without compromise.
You wouldn't know it from the outside, however, as this latest generation Superb retains the previous car's conservative looks, albeit with sharper detailing. For buyers this has always been a good thing. Anyone seeking a flashier proposition has always migrated to the more premium German brands.
Our verdict on the Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI SE L Executive
With this latest Superb wagon Skoda continues to punch well above its weight in the executive class. There's now greater focus on hi-tech creature comforts and safety kit, while the car's core abilities have also been strengthened. A little more spacious and versatile, new and improved engines further boost the car's ownership appeal.
Easily trumping more expensive but smaller executive level estate cars for value for money, the combination of space and Skoda's aggressive pricing strategy should make it an attractive proposition for both private buyers and business users. Opting for a diesel will keep costs down, but only if your yearly mileage tally is high enough to offset the extra purchase costs.
Space and practicality
Stretched slightly over its predecessor, this Superb offers rear occupants even more room than before. There's no shortage of space up front either. The main attraction here is the car's voluminous boot, which offers 660 litres and 1,950 litres of space with the rear seats up and down respectively. It's easy to secure a load and stop it from moving around, while some models also come with a powered tailgate for added convenience.
Controls and display
The 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, as do the various audio functions.
With its long wheelbase and compliant suspension, occupants fore and aft are unlikely to feel uncomfortable in the Superb. Factor in high levels of cabin refinement and the generous levels of rear legroom and it's clear that Skoda's engineers have succeeded in creating a luxury ambience at an affordable price. Even when empty, the estate model doesn't generate much unwanted cabin noise, which is a boon on long journeys.
Remote central locking is the most obvious and convenient feature, with an anti-theft package added for good measure. There's a sturdy load cover for the car's boot space, which will no doubt ensure favourable attention from insurance companies, and the glovebox and central storage areas are a good size for hiding valuables.
The Superb is well equipped here, with numerous airbags and electronic stability systems to keep you safe. High-power headlights are also available, while a model-dependent all-wheel drive option boosts the car's all-weather capabilities. Auto brake and intelligent cruise control are just a few of the active safety features available.
In reality the Superb wagon is more of a safe, confidence-inspiring large executive car. Direct steering, slick controls and good all-round visibility all help its cause. Diesel engines and their abundance of torque suit the Superb load-lugger best, while ride comfort is good partly due to the car's long wheelbase.
Family car appeal
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, making the Superb a car for a grown up family. If you don't want an MPV, the Superb Estate is a reasonable compromise, especially as the car's capacious boot will swallow bulky items such as bicycles whole with the rear seats folded down.
First car appeal
Unless you really need a large car, a Superb might be a little too big for some novice drivers. It's easy to drive but a Fabia or even an Octavia would be a better introduction to the brand. However, if you need the added carrying capacity there's little to touch the Superb on price and ease of use.
Quality and image
Badge snobs would do well to examine Skoda's current line-up, as the improvements are significant. The brand's cars have been excellent for many years. The Superb easily competes alongside more expensive metal from the likes of Mercedes and Audi, while the quality of the cabin is first rate. The estate variant's practical lifestyle reputation has been well earned.
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 impact access and egress. At the rear, the car's boot opens wide from a low lip position - helped by a trim level-dependent electric motor, which makes loading straightforward. It's also easy to fold the rear seats from inside the boot.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
The focal point in the cabin is the car's infotainment screen which offers access to a wealth of features depending on trim level. From the basic audio inputs, DAB and analogue radio modes to the hi-tech full colour, touchscreen sat-nav, there's a level of entertainment to suit every pocket. The touchscreen sat-nav unit is versatile and easy to use. Supplementary buttons on the steering are a welcome addition. Sound quality is good, too.
Colours and trim
Traditional, sombre colours suit this all-new Superb Estate best. These choices accentuate the car's appearance and flatter its size. Inside, whether it's cloth or leather, everything looks and feels durable and suitably upmarket. Brighter trim inserts are minimal and suit the car's conservative personality.
Thanks to light but direct steering and a smooth throttle the Superb is not difficult to manoeuvre. Parking sensors make a big difference, while the optional parking assist system is much improved and is easy to use. It's still a big car, but good visibility and those electronic helpers all ease the pain of parking.
Space saver spare wheel fitted as standard.
Petrol engine options - 1.4-litre (123bhp, 148bhp); 2.0-litre (217bhp, 276bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.6-litre (118bhp); 2.0-litre (148bhp, 187bhp). Transmission options: six-speed manual gearbox, six- and seven-speed DSG automatics depending on engine choice. All-wheel drive an option on selected variants. Trim levels: S, SE, SE Business, SE L Executive, Laurin and Klement.
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