Whenever Skoda releases a new Superb, we scratch our heads in wonderment. Going through the dimensions and looking through the specs, it seems more like something that can sit alongside an Audi A6 rather than a Ford Mondeo. It even boasts refinement levels similar to a properly-premium offering, too. And yet, somehow, Skoda manages to throw all those things into a package that is still competitively priced against the segment best.
Whatever you’d like to call this Czech witchcraft, what cannot be denied is that although this is very value-driven proposition, calling it ‘value-driven’ is somewhat of a disservice. This is a premium car at family-car money, and as far as we can work out, it really ought to outsell the competition hand-over-fist. We dig a little deeper, to understand what goes into the segments’ biggest underdog.
“Styling is excellent, with sharp lines reminiscent of those of upmarket Audi models, and the shape seems sure to remain timeless.” - CarsGuide
The Skoda Superb has always been a bit of a looker (if you can forgive the odd rump of the last iteration). But where the previous car tried to be the most elegant wallflower money could buy, the latest Superb takes a far more distinctive route, with muscular shapes and lines, drizzled with Czech jewellery. It’s a stunning looking thing, the new Superb.
Look past the initial glamour (yes glamour, from a Skoda), and you’ll find that there isn’t a single aspect of the design that doesn’t contribute somewhere. The intricately designed headlights for example, are made to evoke images of Czech crystal. The shape, engineered to cut through air as efficiently as possible. And the rear, designed to offer as much practicality as humanly possible. And in 206TSI trim, onlookers would unlikely assume it to be something from a brand once described as a ‘poor man’s VW.’
Engine & Drivetrain
“A tip though, unless you do more than 50,000km a year, the cheaper petrol engine (even with its taste for 95 RON premium unleaded fuel) is the better bet.” - CarAdvice
The Superb is only available with two engines: One petrol, and one diesel. The petrol kicks off the range in de-tuned 162TSI guise, offering 162kW of power and 320Nm of torque. Next up the list is the 140TDI turbodiesel, which puts out a healthy 140kW and 400Nm, while returning a claimed 4.8l/100km fuel consumption figure. Both these cars put their power down through the front wheels, via a six-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic.
Topping the Superb range is the 206TSI, which takes the same petrol engine from the base model but massages it to produce 206kW and 350Nm. All this power gets put down to all four wheels via a part-time all-wheel drive system, through a six-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox as well. The 206TSI will rocket from rest to 100km/h in just 5.8-seconds, ensuring that you, your family, and your dog will never be late for anything ever again.
“There’s a touch of real class to the cabin, which can be equally described as austere or minimalist, depending on your viewpoint. There’s room to burn for driver, passengers and recidivist over-packers and virtually every comfort you’d want in a real world car.” - Motoring
The interior of the Superb is no less impressive than the exterior or the drivetrain, with the latest generation moving the game forward two, even threefold. Soft-touch plastics are employed almost everywhere, while the design is best described as typical Volkswagen, but with a little Czech sparkle drizzled on top.
All cars come standard with a dizzying array of kit, with headlining features like active cruise control, adaptive headlights, LED taillights, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, automatic wipers, a rear view camera, and an ‘Extended Electronic Differential Lock’ (XDL) which brakes the inside front wheel in corners to combat understeer.
Behind the Wheel
“The Superb 206TSI 4x4 is a real wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing, using its elegantly handsome shape to disguise the 206kW engine and all-wheel-drive system borrowed from Volkswagen’s high-performance Golf R.” - WhichCar
The Superb is very much a comfort oriented car, as its standard suspension setup will allow for manageable levels of body roll to ensure outright refinement behind the wheel. It deals with even the biggest bumps with ease (though large alloys compromise this somewhat), and it always feels stable and planted, with the XDS keeping hooligans in check.
If you are at all interested in making your Superb fun to drive, you will want to specify the Tech Pack option, which tacks on adaptive chassis control for both excellent comfort and brilliant agility and control. The ‘Sport’ setting on the chassis control will see the Czech barge handle like something much smaller, and lighter on its feet. It’s a brilliant car this, and the Tech Pack is a must-have.
“All Superb models boast a very high level of safety, and when the optional Tech Pack is fitted, the latest driver-assistance features.” - WhichCar
‘Superb’ is likely the best word to describe the Superb’s safety credentials, with excellent features coming as standard. There are nine airbags, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, a rear parking camera, brake assist, pre-collision braking technology, and electronic stability control.
The Tech Pack adds things like Traffic Jam assist (which helps to steer, brake, and power the car through traffic jams). EuroNCAP has rated the Superb at a full 5-stars for safety.
The Superb is a difficult car to pigeonhole, due to its incredibly wide range of abilities. It’s a family car, a limousine, and it can even be thought of as an apartment when you look at the space on offer in the estate body style. If space is what you want, then it’s the Superb you simply must get. This car is beyond comparison in this respect, really. However, competitors like the Mazda6 and Ford Mondeo give it a pretty good run for its money when you consider driving dynamics, with both cars renowned for their handling abilities.
Our pick of the range has to be the 140TDI, in either body style. The low-end shove makes it properly competitive in town, while the long-legged nature of the diesel means it’s great at munching motorway miles. And with real-world fuel economy in the high 5-litres to low 6-litres per 100km, it’s the most sensible engine, for what may be considered the most sensible car in its class.
AutoExpress - 100/100 - “Skoda’s flagship Suberb ditches the old car’s awkward looks for sleek styling, plenty of space, and value for money.
WhatCar? - 100/100 - “The Superb is comfortable, well-equipped, great value for money, and one of the roomiest cars in its class.”
TopGear - 80/100 - “No pun intended: The Skoda Superb is excellent. Every inch an Audi A6 rival. Honest.”
Motoring - 78/100 - “With equipment levels that would shame ‘luxury’ cars $25K dearer, the range-topping Skoda Superb is a classy, spacious wagon with very few faults. The product of engineers that stay true to the brand’s values of ‘Simply Clever’, in 206TSI form this five-seater is an inspired if offbeat choice for families and active individuals who need r-o-o-m. ”
CarsGuide - 80/100 - “Skoda Superb is a large European car that combines the best of automotive engineering from its home country of the Czech Republic and its parent country Germany.”
CarAdvice - 80/100 - “Consider this — the top-spec Superb uses the same engine as the Golf R, and yet in wagon guise is more than $5000 cheaper. And vastly more spacious. It’s a dead-set steal.”
AutoCar - 80/100 - “In more sensible trims the Superb is considerably more spacious and practical than its nearest rivals, is better equipped and competitively clean and frugal. That's good news for both private and company buyers alike.”
WhichCar - 90/100 - “The Skoda Superb is all about the amount of room it manages to squeeze into an upper-medium sized car for an everyday medium-car price. The all-wheel drive Superb 206TSI flagship has enough luxury and panache to match cars twice its price.”