The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 4.3
In terms of the amount of car you get for the money, very little even comes close to the Skoda Superb Estate. Comfortable, quiet, refined, inexpensive to run and in possession of one of the biggest boots available today, it makes for a winning combination. It’s also got a high-quality interior and an excellent range of diesel engines. True, the petrol engines make less sense, but they’re unlikely to find many buyers anyway. Make no mistake, this is a seriously impressive machine.
Reasons to buy
- Simply gargantuan inside
- Excellent ride quality
- Impressive equipment levels
At a glance
- How good does it look? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's the interior like? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How practical is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's it like to drive? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How powerful is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much will it cost me? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How reliable is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How safe is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much equipment do I get? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Why buy? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
How good does it look?
There's no denying that the Superb Estate is a huge car, but Skoda has done an impressive job of keeping the visual impact relatively low, with a variety of subtle creases in the bodywork and a steeply sloped rear window to give it a more slinky profile. There are seven trim levels to choose from, all of which have alloy wheels. The range starts with the S, which rides on 16-inch wheels, while SE and SE Technology customers will upgrade to 17-inch wheels, silver roof rails and a chrome grill frame. The SE L Executive has 18-inch wheels and more powerful bi-xenon headlights, as well as rear LED lights, while the Sportline model has a gloss black grille and some subtle exterior badges. Sportline Plus adds 19-inch alloys. The top-of-the-range model, the Laurin and Klement (named after Skoda's founders) also has 19-inch wheels, as well as some calligraphic badges on the front wings.
What's the interior like?
It’s a high-class effort from Skoda. All the materials feel really quite premium – although maybe not quite as plush as a Volkswagen Passat’s – and the excellent touchscreen infotainment system (which is familiar from much of the VW Group’s cars) is as ergonomic, intuitive and graphically excellent as ever, on any of the screen sizes which are available throughout the range. Cars from 2017 onwards have a revised infotainment system, which replaces navigation buttons with an all-in-one touchscreen. It's still easy to use, but slightly less so than before, and it attracts greasy fingerprints like nobody's business.
You can move the seat and steering wheel to your heart’s content, so finding the perfect driving position is very easy indeed. Visibility out of the enormous glass area is also very good, making manoeuvring what is a very large car relatively straight forward.
How practical is it?
This is the area in which an estate must shine and, thankfully, the Superb does exactly that. Even with the rear seats up, the boot is an impressive size – 660 litres should prove plenty for most people – but flick the levers in the boot and the rear seats drop down flat, revealing a gargantuan loadbay measuring 1,950 litres. Not only is it enormous, but it’s also a usable, square shape, too, with a low loading lip and, if you specify the variable boot floor, it can be made totally flat. The front passenger seat can also be folded flat, meaning that the car can carry items up to 3.1m in length. If you’re not filling the boot as much as possible, there’s also a palatial amount of space for people in the Superb Estate, with limousine-like legroom for both front and rear passengers, as well as a huge amount of head- and shoulder room.
Space aside, the Superb has plenty of clever little features to make your life easier, from velcro dividers in the boot to stop small items rolling around, to a removable boot light that can act as a torch. Oh, and the front doors each have an umbrella stored in them. Great stuff.
What's it like to drive?
Like the hatchback, the Superb Estate is a car engineered for comfort over sharp handling and it really delivers on that score. It soaks up most imperfections and deals with them exceptionally well. Despite its focus on ride quality, the Superb also feels pretty secure in the bends, with impressive body control and plenty of grip on offer. The steering is a touch light and vague – especially on four-wheel drive models – but it is consistent in its responses. Fiddling about with driving modes – optional on SE models and standard on SE L Executive models – does help a bit, but it still feels rather artificial. Generally, it’s a good idea to leave it in ‘normal’ mode, which is best for making serene, comfortable progress.
How powerful is it?
We’ve tried the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel in two different states of tune; 150 and 190 horsepower. Both feel strong, smooth and fantastically refined. On paper, the stronger version offers more performance but, in reality, the differences between the two are negligible. We also tried the 150 horsepower 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine. This is likely to be less popular than either of the diesels, but it’s impressive nonetheless, offering a smooth, punchy delivery which never feels sluggish despite the shortfall in mid-range pull compared with the TDI models.
Most engines are available with a choice of either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Both of these suit the car’s relaxed demeanour well, with the manual providing a nice, precise and light shift, while the dual-clutch ‘box slurs between ratios smoothly. Overall refinement is very good, with little road or wind noise making its way into the cabin. The top of the range 2.0-litre TSI 280 is a detuned engine from hot hatches like the Seat Leon Cupra, so it feels seriously brisk, sounds good when revved and hushed and quiet when left to its own devices. It also does 0-62mph in less than six seconds, thanks partly to its standard four-wheel drive system.
How much will it cost me?
For what is an undeniably vast car, the Superb Estate's running costs should be fairly reasonable. Model-for-model, CO2 emissions and fuel economy figures can't quite match those of the equivalent Ford Mondeo or Volkswagen Passat, but considering the Superb's extra size, it's really not very far behind. Servicing, insurance and PCP loan costs should all be highly competitive, but the Passat is likely to command slightly better resale values. However, the Superb is slightly cheaper, which should even things out.
How reliable is it?
There’s very little specific reliability data for this car yet, but Skoda’s record for dependability, according to Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index is excellent. JD Power's 2018 Vehicle Dependability Study put Skoda fourth most reliable of all manufacturers. It’s easy to see why, too. It uses parts which are well-proven across the Volkswagen Group, and it also comes with Skoda’s standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty, of which the first two years are unlimited mileage.
How safe is it?
This is an area in which Skoda has excelled in the past few years and the Superb Estate doesn't buck this trend. The hatchback earned the full five stars from Euro NCAP, and we see no reason why the Estate should be any different. All versions come with six airbags, traction- and stability control, hill hold assist to prevent you rolling away from steep junctions, and a multi-collision brake system that applies the brakes automatically if it senses a crash, to avoid further impacts. Importantly, automatic emergency braking is also standard throughout the range. Higher up the range, blind spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, full park assist, and city emergency braking all feature, and there is even a traffic jam assistant that will steer, brake and accelerate for you at low speed, to keep you rolling along even in the longest of tailbacks. Basically, whatever kit you can imagine, the Skoda has all the bases covered, it just depends how much each buyer wants to fork out for the optional systems available. The only exception is a set of 360-degree cameras to give you a top-down view, but it’s right up there with the class best.
How much equipment do I get?
There are seven different trim levels, but even the cheapest Superb comes very generously equipped, despite costing less than the equivalent VW Passat. For S models, standard features include a leather steering wheel, DAB radio, Bluetooth, air-conditioning, and a touchscreen for the infotainment system. The SE adds key extras like adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, cornering fog lights, and an umbrella in each of the front doors. The SE Technology adds part-leather upholstery and a larger touchscreen with sat-nav, while the SE L Executive model includes, leather upholstery and electric operation for the front seats and tailgate, while the Sportline foregoes some of that for the racier styling elements. Sportline Plus models check the empty boxes, while Laurin & Klement models ramp up the luxury kit even further, with ventilated leather seats, tri-zone climate control and an upgraded 10-speaker hi-fi. However, this pushes the asking price well beyond what you might call reasonable; into BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 territory, in fact.
There are several very good reasons to buy one of these. Quite simply, nothing else offers as much space this side of a small van, or as much comfort this side of a proper luxury saloon. It’s refined and good to drive, and it’s also fantastic value for money, offering more standard equipment, for less money, than many of its rivals. Despite its size, it should be pretty reasonable to run, too, with impressively low CO2 emissions and excellent fuel economy. So, if your priorities are space, comfort and value for money then there’s very little on offer that can match this car.