Vehicle Reviews

Skoda Superb - Review Of The Week

Skoda's Superb features a smart suit, a slick chassis and strong engines in this improved version of the MK3 model. Hatch and estate versions of this enhanced design look sharper inside and out and the brand now offers a Plug-in hybrid option for the the first time too. Plus the pricing remains sensible.

As you'd expect, this updated Superb has been fitted out with the latest suite of Volkswagen Group engines and these are all mated to DSG auto transmission, demand for manual gearboxes in cars of this size having petered out somewhat. The petrol range kicks off with a 150PS 1.5-litre TSI EVO unit. Next up is a revised version of the 2.0-litre TSI powerplant with 190PS; and the top petrol powerplant is a 2.0-litre TSI engine developing 272PS, which comes with all-wheel drive as standard. In the diesel line-up, the starting point, as before, is a 120PS 1.6-litre TDI; next up is a heavily revised 2.0-litre 150PS diesel unit now badged 'TDI EVO'. Beyond that is the 2.0 TDI 190PS unit, which can optionally be ordered with all-wheel drive. You can also now talk to your dealer about a Superb iV plug-in hybrid model, powered by a 1.4 TSI petrol engine that delivers 156PS and is boosted by an 85kW electric motor. The combined maximum power output of the two power sources is 218PS - which promises to deliver exceptional performance along with significantly reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

On the move, as ever in a Superb, the ride and refinement are exemplary and the dynamic demeanour of the car is sharper than you might expect, thanks to its light, stiff MQB chassis. As a result, the car feels surprisingly agile through bends you'll be able to attack with reasonable gusto thanks to feelsome steering and a standard XDS+ Electronic Differential Lock that reduces understeer and improves stability as you turn.

Skoda Superb - Review Of The Week

As ever, there's a body style choice between hatch and estate. Visual changes to this revised version of Skoda's third generation Superb are relatively slight; you'll need to be a brand enthusiast to note the smarter, narrower full-LED headlamps and tail lights, plus the restyled bumpers and revised badging. The front grille now bears double slats, is larger and protrudes a little further down into the front bumper. At the rear, a horizontal chrome trim strip, which connects the full LED tail lights and the new 'SKODA' block lettering, might catch the eye, as might the smarter 18 and 19-inch wheel designs.

Inside, if you owned an earlier version of this MK3 model, you might notice this revised car's extra chrome highlighting, the revised seat covers and the extra decorative trims for the centre console and dashboard. Added 'Simply Clever' touches include a space organiser beneath the boot floor. And a 'Phone Box' system that allows for inductive handset charging. A fully digital 'Virtual Cockpit' instrument display screen is now optional too, replacing their usual dials. As ever with a Superb, space for rear seat passengers is class-leading thanks to this MK3 model's lengthy 2,841mm wheelbase. And the boot is huge too, rated at 625-litres in the Hatch version, expanding to a cavernous 1,760-litres with the rear seat backs folded. If this still isn't big enough, you'll need to talk to your dealer about the estate variant. Here, there's a 660-litre boot, expandable to an impressive 1,950-litres when the seats are folded.

And in summary? Well the Skoda Superb looks the part, making it ever easier to convince those whose car views are at least a decade out of date that a Skoda deserves a place on your shortlist if you're in the market for a medium-ranger. Compared to a Mondeo or a Mazda6, a Superb represents a very different take on the theme. The Mazda is a pin-sharp drive, the Mondeo tries to blend size and sprightliness, but the Superb makes no real pretence at sportiness, instead offering a reassuring heft and vault-like build quality.

Above all, the Superb delivers space, and that's a quality you can never really have too much of in this corner of the market. Why? Because it's the one attribute where more mainstream marques can really land a telling blow on the premium badges. A BMW 3 Series or a Jaguar XE is never going to be able to offer as much space inside as a Skoda Superb. Cars like those are just not remotely viable if you need a lot of family interior room, so for those who need something cut from more generous cloth, give the Skoda the once over. It's slick, presentable and, yes, simply clever.

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