Skoda Superb review

Our Rating: 
4
4.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Skoda Superb is a large family car that's well equipped, extremely practical and great value for money

For: 
Great engines, hugely practical, a lot of car for the money
Against: 
Lacks engagement, conservative design, not as refined as Octavia

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The Skoda Superb is a great way for families to get into a high-quality VW Group product without paying premium prices for an Audi or VW-badged car. It gets better too, since the Superb comes with loads of standard equipment and is even more practical than its siblings from other manufacturers.

Skoda has been selling more and more cars in recent years and it's models like the Superb that really show the reason for this sales growth. The Superb is quite simply one of the best big family cars you can buy, thanks to its great range of engines, smart interior, high levels of passenger comfort and solid build quality. There's no upmarket logo on the bonnet but the Skoda Superb still feels like a premium car.

The Superb is the largest Skoda you can buy at the moment, and so practicality is a real strong point. The Superb name is taken from a car produced from 1934, which featured a V8 engine and all-wheel drive - quite different to the front- or four-wheel-drive modern version which uses a range of small petrol and diesel engines.

A facelift in 2013 added the new Skoda family face, as well as new engine options with better fuel economy and lower emissions. There are four specifications to choose from (S, SE, Elegance and Laurin & Klement), with efficient GreenLine version of all but the top-spec cars.

Our choice: Superb 2.0 TDI 140PS SE

Styling

3.6

The Skoda Superb looks a little awkward thanks to the unusual roofline and the rival Vauxhall Insignia is a much more stylish choice. The updated 2013 model got a new front end which marks it out as a modern Skoda, and it keeps the simple, no-nonsense design. It's still not as good-looking as the smaller Octavia though.

The newest model gets a squared-off grille and lights up front, while the rear number plate has been moved from the bumper to between the revised tail-lights. It looks tidier than before, but we'd still go for the estate model if looks are important to you - it's just a better-proportioned car.

The interior is smart and functional, rather than stunning, and the recent facelift added a classy wood finish. Go for the Elegance model and you'll get leather seats, which give a more upmarket feel – especially on the spacious back bench.

On SE trim and above there is plenty of equipment as standard, while top-spec Laurin & Klement models feel suitably luxurious inside with plush leather heated seats, a TV tuner, panoramic glass sunroof (on the estate version) and an aluminium tracked partition system in the boot all as standard.

Driving

4.1

The 138bhp 2.0 TDI feels responsive, but you’ll get more performance from the 168bhp version of the same engine, which costs an extra £930. The Superb isn't as good to drive as the rival Mazda 6 and feels less settled on the road. In corners there’s more body roll than the 6 and the controls aren’t as responsive. It doesn't feel big and heavy, though, and the steering is well weighted. Grip is pretty good too.

The Superb's long wheelbase and light controls mean it's an easy and comfortable car to drive every day. It's not that much more relaxed than the Mazda, though - the suspension fidgets over rough surfaces, while big bumps cause the car to shake.

The GreenLine version, which focuses on economy, now comes with a six-speed manual gearbox that improves cruising and also features a 15mm lower ride height to improve aerodynamic performance. The ride is quite firm, however.

Reliability

4.5

The Skoda Superb came second in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey's top 150 cars, finishing behind the Skoda Yeti. It's a huge testament to the ownership experience and reliability of Skoda's cars, and it indicates that the Superb is likely to be completely dependable. The company as a whole topped the manufacturer's charts as well, so there really is no more satisfying car to own.

The engine range is tried and tested. It should be completely reliable and owners have also praised the Superb’s space, quality and reliability.

Euro NCAP gave the Superb five stars for safety – although it was tested back in 2009. The twin boot opening defaults to its saloon setting and a heavy-duty latch ensures that the hatch won’t open of its own accord in a smash.

Practicality

4.6

The Skoda Superb is a very practical family car. Its bootlid opening is fairly narrow but it also has a clever twin hatch. The simple system’s two buttons let you open the boot or also lift the hatch. It takes a second for the hatch function to engage, but the benefits are clear, with uncompromised access to the big boot.

The 595-litre capacity is impressive, and when you fold the Superb’s seats it frees up 1,700 litres. That's bigger than the Mazda 6 and Ford Mondeo. Unfortunately, the boot lip is high, the threshold wide and there’s a step in the floor when the seats are folded. There's no rear wiper either.

When it comes to space in the back seats, the Skoda is fantastic. There’s acres of legroom, while B-pillar vents provide fresh air. A centre console display shows the time and outdoor temperature, and an umbrella sits in one of the doors. Apart from that, the rear cabin majors on space more than luxury.

Running Costs

3.9

The Skoda superb will retain about 42.8 per cent of its value after three years, which is better than the rival Mazda 6 for depreciation. It comes with plenty of standard equipment too, so it's a good-value car.

As with other Skodas, there's an eco-special GreenLine version of the Superb available. It uses a 1.6 TDI diesel engine and various aerodynamic and gearbox tweaks to deliver 67.3mpg fuel economy and very low 109g/km CO2 emissions - the same as the EfficientDynamics BMW 3 Series.

It is now available on each trim level rather than as a standalone model and comes with the same high level of kit so is better value than before. All diesel versions and the 1.4 TSI petrol (which manages to return 41.5mpg) now come with stop/start and braking energy recuperation as standard to help save fuel. Overall, we recommend the the 140bhp 2.0 TDI diesel, which returns 52.3mpg.

Disqus - noscript

What price customer service and
goodwill?

In February 2012 we purchased our third Skoda car
- the first time we have purchased a used vehicle. We loved getting used to the
Skoda Superb, however when we had very cold winter weather we found the car
wouldn't start due to a drained battery, on numerous occasions we had to call
out Skoda Assist to get the car started but after around 48 hours the battery
was once again flat.

We took the vehicle to our local Skoda approved
service agent MON Motors in Chippenham, who did a diagnostic and found nothing
wrong with the car, but said they would replace the battery, under the warranty
(the car had 4 months left of it's 3 year term). This was great and Spring
progressed, the weather warmed up and we had no further trouble ...... until the
cold winter weather in 2013 when the same problem occurred.

On looking at
the battery, we found a paper label on the top with JA/09 - now we got
suspicious that for this same thing to happen, perhaps MON Motors hadn't in fact
replaced the battery (or at least not with a new one) - we contacted them and
they said the battery warranty only ran until the end of the vehicle warranty.
Skoda was contacted and they suggested we had a diagnostic check done on the car
and buy a new battery ... at our expense of course!

We skipped the
diagnostic and instead bought a battery from ATS with a four year warranty -
then we had no further problems starting the car despite the last cold snap of
winter which put night temperatures down to around minus 7C.

Skoda - who
in the past have always shown exemplary customer service - said they wouldn't
consider a customer goodwill payment for the battery and inconvenience because
we went outside the Skoda network to buy our battery - indeed they questioned
our "customer loyalty" and we had to give them details of the three vehicle
purchases over the past 11 years. BUT tell me this - why should we trust the
service agent appointed by Skoda in our town when we believe they have cheated
both us and Skoda themselves - now obviously we can't prove that - but the
evidence as far as we see points to this.

Without hesitation in the past
we have gone back to Skoda - because of quality of service and the cars
themselves - however when it comes time to change the vehicle we won't
automatically look at something from the Skoda range and will also now look at
the likes of Kia and Hyundai. It appears that now Skoda are selling more cars
than ever before they can afford to forget about those who have stuck by the
brand.

After reading all that, and knowing that's five minutes of my life I will never get back, I suggest you look at driver power - Skoda Superb is the 2nd best car to own, just behind Yeti. I'd not consider a Korean, (or any other inferior make) over a Skoda. It's your dealer that was at fault, go to a different one.

Well we gave Skoda another chance but the problem was delt by the person who gave the original response. Well he's not going to change his mind is he. Seems like Skoda don't care about customer loyalty any more but about profit. Shame really as the acoldaes they are getting now are very much from the people they are now abandoning. You can maybe tell I am extremely annoyed but Skoda Customer Services having been a loyal customer for twelve years. The reason why they won't help towards the cost of a new battery...becuase I had no faith in the dearlership whish aledgedly fitted a new battery nine months previous and I went "Outside the Skoda network" and brought a battery! Car cars but fingers crossed you never have a problem.

MateyBoy - Maybe during those five minutes you acutually read my posting - My Superb is "superb" as have been the other two Skodas I have owned. The problem now is Skoda Customer Services

Bought a 2013 octavia, nice car till things started going wrong. Car now been in dealer for 15 weeks. Dealer un helpful, skoda executive team told me to use public transport as they needed their courtesy car back. Whole experience very poor. Pay a little more and go with one of the other brands!

Last updated: 21 Feb, 2014
AEX 1,341
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