The SKODA Superb Estate is an 'unfathomably good combination of space, luxury and value"
This is the average score given by leading car publications from 22 reviews
Masses of space
The Skoda Superb saloon received many positive reviews, and the same story goes for the more the noticeably more practical Superb Estate.
This version of the Superb has been around since 2008, and an all-new Superb will replace it in the second half of 2015. The new one will more powerful, lighter and quite a lot sharper-looking than this one.
The critics are huge fans of the current car’s cavernous boot and interior, the competitive pricing and its enticing value for money. As an overall package, the Superb Estate is incredibly hard to fault.
Being a Volkswagen Group product, the Superb’s build quality is quite impressive, especially when compared to similarly priced rivals. Some critics thought the design was a tad bland, but all the controls are intuitive and easy to use, and the materials used all look and feel like they belong on a pricier car.
The car’s biggest selling point, though, is the vast size of its interior – there’s plenty of space up front, and there’s plenty of leg and head room.
Back-seat passengers are spoilt like in no other car (apart from perhaps a long-wheelbase Audi A8 or Mercedes S-Class), with acres of legroom and heated seats in the top trim levels. There’s a reason the Czech government uses them to ferry diplomats around, and it’s not entirely because Skoda is a Czech brand!
The boot is also one of the biggest you’ll find on an estate car – at 633 litres (a staggering 1,865 with the rear bench folded down), only the vastly more expensive Mercedes E-Class Estate can claim to be bigger. However, the false floor that removes the lip when you do fold the rears down is an optional extra, and there aren't actually that many storage cubbies up front.
Given its vast size and mass, the Superb Estate isn't going to win any handling awards. However, it is still a surprisingly good steer for such a large car. The controls are light and easy to use, visibility all round is quite good and there’s a very well balanced and agreeable compromise between ride quality and handling. Noise insulation at speed is also a highlight.
There are a few downsides, though – because it’s quite long, parking manoeuvres can be quite tricky, especially in tighter spaces. However you can order it with self-parking systems and parking sensors to remove some of this stress.
Also, despite being decent to drive by estate car standards, some rivals are a bit more engaging to drive.
The same engines from the Superb saloon have been carried over to the estate model, so you get a wide range of petrol and diesel power plants to choose from. All were praised by the critics for their impressive refinement, along with some very good economy figures.
There isn't strictly a bad engine in the range, but the mid-spec options are the best bet – the entry level units are a bit under-powered for a car of the Superb’s size, especially once it’s fully loaded, and the mighty 3.6-litre V6 petrol motor is almost certainly going to be a very niche choice!
The new 1.6 TDI Greenline III is one of the most economical estate engines on sale and well worth considering. The petrol 1.4 TSI is a little slow, the 1.8 TSI is a good choice if you don’t cover a lot of miles. The 2.0 TDI 140 is a great all-rounder, with pace and efficiency, the more powerful 2.0 TDI 170 gets fantastic reviews and if you regularly have a car load of people would make a nice buy.
The Skoda Superb, when tested in 2009 by Euro NCAP, was given a full five-star rating for its crash safety.
The estate version comes with a total of seven airbags (five in case of the ‘S’ version), Isofix mounts for child seats, and driver aids including ABS, stability control, and cruise control. It doesn't have any more modern active crash avoidance technology, however.
Value for money
Diesels are efficient, and hold their value well
It’s by no means the cheapest car on sale, but the Skoda Superb Estate does represent good value on money, especially when regarding the car’s space and practicality. Standard equipment is generous across the range, and it shouldn't cost too much to run thanks to the high mpg and low CO2 emission figures. The Superb Estate is also expected to hold its value fairly well.
It’s worth mentioning that Skoda regularly achieves high ratings in the annual JD Power customer satisfaction survey, so the ownership experience should be quite a pleasant one.
Whilst the standard car has to make do with front wheel drive and a six speed manual, the bigger engines in the range have the option of having a DSG automatic and a four-wheel drive system. The critics were impressed with both of the extras, but it should be noted that the DSG doesn't have any manual override controls on the steering wheel, and the 4×4 tech does worsen fuel economy.
So what do you think?
Overall, it seems that the load lugging version of the Skoda Superb lives up to its name – it’s a brilliant all-round car. There’s tonnes of space on offer, it rides and handles well, the build quality is first rate for this price bracket and all the models are relatively affordable to buy and run.
It’s true that there are some rivals that offer a slightly sharper drive, but judging the car based on its dynamic qualities sort of misses the point – there aren't many cars that can rival the Superb for sheer space, and hardly any at the prices Skoda is asking for it.
It’s a great car that we can easily recommend if you’re on the lookout for an affordable and highly practical estate car.