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In-depth reviews

​Skoda Superb review – engine, gearbox and technical highlights

The full Superb engine range is turbocharged, whether diesel, petrol or plug-in. Choice of six-speed manual or DSG. Four-wheel drive features on top-end diesels and petrols.

Evo rating
Price
from £19,060
  • Well-balanced chassis and good powertrain calibration; it’s huge inside
  • Might have an image problem; not as inexpensive as it once was

Skoda offers a wide range of powerplants in the Superb, based around four key engines – a 1.5-litre TSI petrol, a 2-litre TSI petrol, a 2-litre TDI turbodiesel and, new for the update, a plug-in hybrid powertrain that pairs a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and 13kWh battery pack.

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The entry-level 1.5 TSI power units include some clever Active Cylinder Technology to shut down a pair of cylinders on light engine loads to save fuel. They aren’t, however, engines that will excite you in terms of performance or charisma, with flat torque curves and anodyne response that appeals to a slower way of driving.

Better suited to the large bodyshell are the 2-litre petrols and diesels. We’ve driven the most powerful variants of each – the 276bhp TSI (only available with 4x4) and 187bhp diesel. A 148bhp model is also available.

Effectively, both 2-litre petrol units are developments of the EA888 four-cylinder used across the Volkswagen Group empire. Unsurprisingly, the 276bhp is the engine we'd choose – despite being contained in a vastly different car, the engine’s eager character is recognisable and it feels nearly as potent as its use in GTIs and Cupra Leons, just without the augmented soundtrack.

The plug-in hybrid is a low-output variant of the unit found in VW’s GTE that has a 216bhp combined rating and some seriously high MPG ratings. While a plug-in hybrid powertrain certainly suits the Superb’s laid-back driving demeanour it is the least resolved in terms of calibration, and when relying solely on petrol power once the battery’s been depleted it feels lumpen and cumbersome.

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