Czech automaker, Skoda, can trace its history back to the 19th century, but has been one of the brands that form a part of Volkswagen’s automotive empire for over 20 years now.
Skoda’s proudest creation, the Superb, is manufactured in the Czech Republic and uses many components sourced from Volkswagen.
The large family car is the flagship of the Skoda marque and is even used as the state car of the President of the Czech Republic.
The second generation facelift Superb was offered with an array of engines - four petrol and five diesels. The petrol options range from a lower powered and efficiency minded 1.4-litre, up to a thirstier and far more powerful 3.6-litre V6.
The biggest engine in the petrol line-up is certainly a bit of a treat, but it’s expensive to run and rare in the used market. Without a doubt the best engine for the Superb is a diesel. Either one of the 2.0-litre diesel engines on offer suit the car perfectly, providing a great balance of smooth overtaking and impressive economy figures.
Drive with a light foot and you could well see over 60mpg, and the savings don’t end there. Thanks to low CO2 emissions, the 2.0-litre diesel sits in VED bracket C, so it’s just £30 a year to tax.
As standard the Superb comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, but as this car is such an excellent cruiser there’s a real case for seeking out a slick DSG automatic. In some instances you may come across a four-wheel drive Superb, but do keep in mind that this may reduce the overall fuel economy.
Ride and handling
Think of Skoda and you may not necessarily think of luxury, but there’s a genuinely premium feel to the way the Superb drives. It’s a quite fabulous long distance cruiser, being exceptionally comfortable and quiet on the road. The steering itself is also very light making the car easy to drive over distance, which just adds to the relaxed and refined feeling of the car.
It certainly isn’t the type of motor that makes you want to put your foot down and attack corners, but if you happen to enter a corner a little bit too quickly, the Superb has plenty of grip on offer.
As a large estate, it isn’t always easy to move around in tight car parks or villages, but the light steering certainly helps with this. Parking sensors are standard on all models, but some were even equipped with ‘Park Assist’, an optional extra that allows the car to sense and steer itself into a space.
The Skoda Superb is one of the most comfortable cars out there and it even gives some high-end luxury brands a run for their money when it comes to passenger space. Room in the back is particularly impressive, with plenty of space to stretch out and move around.
Any occupants will also be safe in the event of a collision as the Superb scored a full five stars in Euro NCAP crash testing. As far as trim levels go even a base ‘S’ trim Superb is well equipped, but ‘SE Plus’ or ‘Elegance’ levels are the sweet spot in the range.
SE Plus gives you just about everything you need on the tech front, including the all-important satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. ‘Elegance’ takes it a step further by adding a touch of luxury on top, including bright xenon headlights and full heated leather seats.
Curiously, you may find it difficult to locate a Superb with a USB connection as this was an optional extra. Boot space is a notable 595 litres with the rear seats up, and with them folded down it goes up to a cavernous 1,865-litres, and this gives the Superb the ability to carry just about anything you need it to.
You’ll also find a number of intelligent features across the car. An air-conditioned glovebox, an ice scraper hidden away in the fuel filler cap, and an umbrella stowed away in the door are all fantastic practical additions.
What to know before you buy
Skoda shares many parts from parent company Volkswagen and other brands in the group. They have an excellent reputation for reliability, so providing the car has been properly maintained and serviced, you shouldn’t expect to find any issues.
On rare occasions the DSG automatic gearbox has known to be slightly jumpy at junctions or when reversing. If buying a used Superb from a dealer this is certainly something you shouldn’t come across.
The Skoda Superb is almost certainly one of the better cars in this sector of the market. A Ford Mondeo or Mazda6 may well prove to be a little sharper in the corners, but that simply isn’t what these cars are designed for.
In any case the Superb is far more practical, fitted with a better interior, and offering higher levels of comfort. Normally to get this level of refinement, you have to step up to the premium brands.
The Skoda Superb lives up to its name. It oozes quality and punches well above its weight in terms of comfort and practicality, and as the flagship of the marque it represents it even feels just a little bit special.