Skoda Superb Hatchback (2008 - 2013) review
Read the Skoda Superb Hatch (2008 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.
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No longer is the
Skoda Superb simply a stretched Volkswagen Passat – the new model has its very own identity. Whether or not you like it rather depends on from which angle you look at it. From the front it echoes executive eloquence with its chunky, squared-off nose and wide track. The rear however, looks confused with sort-of VW styling, and you get the sense the designer’s hand slipped at the last minute. Overall it’s a subtle and elegant saloon – but, it could be even better.
Want to know why it’s called ‘Superb’? Apparently, Skoda ’started with the name and worked backwards’. And nowhere is this more evident than inside. The cabin is magnificently engineered – during our week-long loan, one passenger thought he was sitting inside a BMW. When corrected, his shock spoke volumes about just how far the VW-owned marque has come. The quality of the plastic is excellent, the feel of the cabin oozes Teutonic solidity and the dash and controls project a classy image. The driving position is good and the seats, covered in Alcantara, are amazingly supportive and electrically adjustable.
You don’t step inside the new Superb – you walk inside it. It’s hard to avoid clichés, so the point is simple: the interior space is gargantuan. Skoda claims the new Superb boasts 1195mm (length) of interior space, and 595-litres of boot space, marking it out as a class leader. It will easily swallow a family of five in comfort, with rear passengers getting a digital dash readout and separate air vents. The boot offers a unique selling point– the boot-lid can open like a regular saloon boot, or it can open out completely like a hatchback.
Ride and handling
The ride is smooth, refined and firm, with the steering and suspension soaking up road imperfections. Press on and there’s plenty of grip but push it too far and it’ll understeer. Keep it flowing through fast sweeping bends and you can lean on those 17-inch alloys and sorted suspension, happy in the knowledge that you won’t end up climbing a tree – it really is good. The four-wheel-drive variant offers even more sure-footed handling.
Although some of the Superb’s engines might appear to be rather small for such a big car, they’re all up to the job of providing ample power for the job. The smallest petrol engine, a 1.4-litre unit, generates 123bhp and 148lb/ft of pulling power – enough for a 124mph top speed and 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds. The 1.8TSI changes this to 135mph and 8.6 seconds while the thirsty 3.6 V6 can manage 153mph and 0-62mph in just 6.6 seconds. There are also two diesel engines offered, displacing either 1.6 or 2.0 litres. While the smaller unit puts out 103bhp, the bigger engine comes in 138bhp or 168bhp forms, to give top speeds of 127mph or 135mph respectively.
The cleanest Superb hatchback is the 1.6TDI Greenline, which emits an amazingly low 114g/km of CO2 (64.2mpg) – there’s a non-eco 1.6TDI edition too, which is pegged at 130g/km (56.5mpg). The 1.4TSI emits all of 157g/km (41.5mpg) while the best-selling 2.0TDI 170 is pitched at 149g/km (49.6mpg). Unsurprisingly, by far the dirtiest of the lot is the 3.6 V6 petrol Superb, which emits 235g/km of CO2 and averages just 28mpg.
Skoda scores fourth position in the UK’s top ten most reliable manufacturers, behind the Japanese trinity of Suzuki, Honda and Mazda, and ahead of Toyota. Its VW parent company doesn’t even feature in the top ten. The car feels amazingly rigid, and has a satisfying heft and weight to everything – which feels like it should last. VW’s engine range is also proven, so the Superb should be a reliable companion.
The Superb scores five stars for EuroNCAP adult protection, four stars for child protection, and two stars for pedestrian protection. It also comes with up to nine airbags protecting passengers in the front and rear seats.
Our ‘SE’ spec test car came with 17-inch alloy wheels, Alcantara upholstery, acoustic rear parking sensors, fog lights with ‘cornering function’, cruise control, dual-zone air-conditioning, touch-screen stereo, electronic stability control (ESP) – and an umbrella in the rear door. Upgrade to ‘Elegance’ spec and you get a tyre pressure monitor, rain-sensing wipers, Bluetooth telephone prep, full leather upholstery, xenon headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Yes – it’s a Skoda. But no – you won’t be ashamed driving it. With a handsome exterior – give or take a few odd angles – good levels of grip, a smooth composed ride, generous levels of equipment and simply gargantuan levels of interior space, the Skoda Superb is a seriously good car. And its trump card? The price. Simply put, you won’t get more bang for your buck.