22 Oct 2013

Skoda Superb Estate review

Matt Hubbard reviews the Skoda Superb Elegence Greenline III Estate

Skoda Superb Elegence Greenline III Estate

The Skoda Superb estate is not the world's prettiest car, but it's not the ugliest either.  It's an estate with a flowing silhouette but with quite straight lines front to back along its flanks. A nice, sharp crease runs from the front headlights to the rear lights.

The Skoda corporate grille is proudly topped with the Skoda badge.  Skoda should be proud.  It's turned round its reputation like no other car company has done before (although some have gone the other way) to the point the Superb estate is a valid contender in the fleet market.

The 16 inch wheels look tiny.  The test car had no options, accentuating the standard features that come with a supposedly budget brand, but were I to buy one I'd upgrade to some 17 or 18 inch wheels.  Infuriatingly the configurator doesn't seem to include wheels as options.

The fact the wheels look small highlights some clever design language.  The Superb estate is massive inside.  It doesn't look particularly humungous from the outside but it is cavernous inside.
Skoda Superb Elegence Greenline III Estate

I'm 5 foot 10 and in the back seat there was at least 10 inches of room between my knees and the back of the front seat.  There are acres of space.  The boot is similarly enormous.

Strangely with all that space there is no single place in the front to put an iPhone.  Not a single cubby hole or space, aside from the cupholders or door pockets.  There is also no USB socket.  If you want to charge your iPhone you will need to buy a 12 volt charger, which is another strange omission.

But that's where the complaints end.  Everything else is perfectly fine.

The interior design is fine, the materials are fine, the space is fine, the controls are fine, the touchscreen is fine (actually it's very good), digital radio is included and is fine, the switches and knobs are fine.

Actually the window switches are taken from the Golf Mk4 but there was nothing wrong with them in the 1998 Golf as there's nothing wrong with them in the 2013 Superb.
Skoda Superb Elegence Greenline III Estate interior

The dials are fine.  They use a nice clear font.  The speedo is very clear, something some manufacturers neglect.  The 0-70mph sweep is quite large so you can accurately place your speed with just a quick glance at the clock.

The sound quality from the stereo is fine too.  Pretty clear with a nice tone.  Just fine.

The key is also VW spec that's been around since the early 90s.  Fire up the 1.6TDI diesel chugger with its 105bhp and pull away, using the manual 6-speed gearbox.

Everything is fine.  The steering is nicely weighted.  The gearbox is good.  The pedals are laid out sensibly.  There is absolutely nothing annoying about the Superb at all (aside from the above iPhone gripes).

105bhp is not enough to induce motorsport fever.  It does 0-62mph in 12.3 seconds and there is no torque steer, because there's not enough power to induce torque steer.
Skoda Superb Elegence Greenline III Estate

The Superb has a superb lovely, compliant ride.  Its a great car for cruising along in and taking in the scenery.  It steers well enough and will give its target market just about enough of a thrill.

It returns 65.7mpg, emits 113g/km of CO2 and costs £25,245 (although lesser trim levels cost as little as £21k).  Those stats are the USP of the Skoda Superb Elegence Greenline III estate.  It is simply cheap and capable.

The Superb really is superb.  You haven't read any overt praise so far, but now I'm going to praise it to high heaven.

Nothing about the car is outstanding, everything is just fine - yet it all comes together to make for an absolutely brilliantly capable car for it's price.  I can't think of a single car that just does everything needed of it for such a low price.  I tested a similar Ford Mondeo recently that cost a full £5,000 more than this Skoda Superb.  That is decades apart.

You would buy the Superb as a tool to provide for your day to day transport, but because it so effortlessly does everything you would grow to love it.  Just make sure you get hold of some 18 inch wheels.

Definitely recommended.
Skoda Superb Elegence Greenline III Estate

Skoda Superb Elegence Greenline III Estate

Skoda Superb Elegence Greenline III Estate boot

Note: This review is based on quite a short test drive at a Society for Manuafcturers and Motor Traders test day.  As such it's quite a short review.

Article by Matt Hubbard