Skoda Superb review - the best large family car to drive?
Hot hatch powertrains and talented chassis makes latest Superb better than ever to drive
If you’re coming to this review as a long-time reader of evo, you probably aren’t expecting much from the latest iteration of Skoda’s flagship model. Previous Superbs, even the barmy 3.6-litre V6 of the previous generation, have been better cruisers than they have B-road thrillers.
The latest model doesn’t change that, but it’s still the best Superb yet. What the new car lacks in tactility it makes up for in consistent responses, excellent body control and strong performance, particularly from the TSI models. Combined with handsome looks and a luxuriously spacious cabin, there’s plenty to commend it.
You’ll get the greatest economy from the diesel models – and an even more frugal Greenline version is on the way – but evo readers will find most entertainment in the two top-end TSI petrols.
After driving both the 276bhp car and a 217bhp example, both are as brisk as their hot hatchback-sourced powertrains suggest. Paired with a slick six-speed DSG transmission and with the Dynamic Chassis Control option box ticked, each does a passable impression of a sports saloon – without sacrificing the Superb’s USP, comfort.
Traditional family cars like the Superb may be losing out to crossovers in the market, but on the road there’s still a lot to be said for a lower roofline and longer footprint. The Superb has body control quite unlike any higher-roofed vehicle, yet rides excellently on most surfaces – even on larger, more stylish wheel options. When you consider just how practical the Superb is, it's clear those crossover buyers are missing out.
Performance and 0-60 time > With engines from Golf GTIs and Leon Cupra 280s, the range-topping Superbs are respectably quick, while diesels are punchy in everyday driving.
Engine and gearbox > The full Superb engine range is turbocharged, whether diesel or petrol. The fastest petrols are DSG-only, but six-speed manuals are also available. 4x4 features on top-end diesels and petrols.
Ride and handling > Precise cornering characteristics and impressive body control don't harm the Superb's excellent ride. Adaptive dampers are well worth the money, where available.
MPG and running costs > Diesels and the 1.4 TSI with cylinder deactivation are the real economy stars, but no Superb will cost too much to run.
Prices, specs and rivals > Healthy equipment levels and relatively low prices mean strong value across the range. It's cheaper, yet a better car than most rivals.
Interior and tech > Bland design but high quality, low noise and well-assembled. Huge space too, while various safety and infotainment features give it luxury car appeal.
Design > Handsome and chiselled, the Superb could pass muster as an Audi - though the understated looks won't appeal to everyone.