The original Skoda Superb pushed the brand further upmarket than it had ever been before, and while it was a great car, buyers didn’t really latch on to its brilliance.
So when the second take on the formula was launched in 2008, Skoda had to come up with something special to be noticed. This time round, buyers had a choice of a four-door with a novel saloon/hatch tailgate arrangement or a vast estate. All versions had more space and lots of equipment, and there was a range of great engines.
Image 2 of 13
The Superb Mk3 that arrived in 2015 has cemented Skoda’s place in the large family car class, but if you're looking for a bargain, look no further than the Mk2.
The first generation Skoda Superb was produced from 2001 to 2008, but it's the Mk2 that was on sale from 2008 to 2015 that we are focusing on.
Prices from £4,000
Image 3 of 13
The Superb Mk2 arrived in September 2008 with 1.4 TSI, 1.8 TSI or 3.6 V6 petrol engines, or 1.9 TDI (GreenLine) and 2.0 TDI diesels, the latter in 140bhp or 170bhp guises.
The bigger engines were also available with 4WD, which was then offered on the entry-level models in February 2010. At the same time, the 2.0 TDI 140 engine received common-rail fuel injection, improving refinement and economy.
A facelifted Superb was introduced in summer 2013, bringing redesigned lighting and more efficient engines. An SE Business trim hit showrooms in April 2014, with sat-nav, cruise control and Bluetooth.
The diesels are better, but if you’re a low-mileage driver, steer clear of cars with a diesel particulate filter; a 1.8 TSI would be better. All engines, apart from the 1.4 TSI and 1.9 TDI, come with a manual box or Skoda’s ultra-slick DSG dual-clutch auto. Three trim levels were initially offered (S, SE and Elegance), then SE Plus in May 2011.
Image 5 of 13
S spec features alloy wheels, electric windows, an eight-speaker stereo and air-con. SE adds a multifunction steering wheel, rear parking sensors, Alcantara trim, cruise and climate control, plus electronic folding door mirrors. The Elegance brings bi-xenon lights, sat-nav, electrically adjustable heated front seats, leather trim and tyre pressure monitoring.
Related to the Superb, the Audi A6 offers a premium badge with excellent build quality, brilliant ergonomics and a spacious cabin; even the saloon has huge boot space. However, Audi prices are higher than for an equivalent Superb.
If you need space on a budget, the Ford Mondeo should be just the job, as it’s large, well equipped and great to drive, plus it comes with some efficient engines, too. Also consider the Volkswagen Passat, Vauxhall Insignia and Toyota Avensis, all of which offer good quality, but are lacking in terms of overall excitement and driving fun.
Not only is the Superb’s cabin roomy, particularly in the rear, it’s also clearly laid out, solidly built and well equipped. Four-doors have an unusual saloon/hatch tailgate (called Twindoor) which opens to reveal a vast 1,670-litre maximum load space; the estate can stow a massive 1,865 litres.
Image 7 of 13
ABS sensors can fail on any corner of the car, leading to the ESP, ABS and tyre pressure warning lights coming on. Repairs are known to be cheap, though.
Superbs with the ‘KESSY’ keyless entry system can suffer from errors where the car won’t acknowledge the proximity of the key, so it won’t start.
Image 11 of 13
Cars with the DSG transmission can suffer from jerky changes between first and second gear; software ‘fixes’ have been known to make things worse.
All Superbs come with alloy wheels as standard; some have suffered from corrosion under the lacquer. Dealers will generally replace them under warranty.
Image 13 of 13
Superb owners can choose between fixed or variable servicing regimes; it’s worth finding a car with the latter as it’s invariably cheaper to run. The fixed intervals are set at 12 months or 10,000 miles, but variable servicing can double these to two years or 20,000 miles.
Either way, the check-ups alternate between minor and major, priced at £139 and £259 respectively. All Superb diesels feature a cambelt which has to be replaced at 100,000 to 140,000 miles, depending on the specific engine. Expect to pay £359 for this, or £459 with a new water pump. On top of this, the brake fluid needs to be replaced every three years (at £49).
There have been three recalls for the Superb Mk2; the first, in November 2009, affected five cars built between July 2008 and February 2009. This was due to a possibility of an electrical short circuit, causing a fire.
Image 10 of 13
Models with DSG built between September 2008 and August 2009 were recalled in December 2009 after reports of drive being lost. Fresh software fixed the issue.
The latest recall in December 2011 affected cars with the 2.0 TDI engine, as they could suffer from fuel leaks.
The Superb Mk2 finally dropped out of the Driver Power top 10 in 2015, having debuted at number one in 2011. It was then second for two years, and third in 2014. Last year’s category highlights were sixth for practicality and ninth for build quality, plus 21st for running costs. Its lowest ranking was 95th, for handling.
It’s no wonder Skoda’s trophy cabinet is bursting at the seams – and that’s just from the Auto Express awards it’s won.
Image 12 of 13
We’ve nominated the Superb for Best Family Car and Best Estate an unprecedented three times in a row, and it finished in the top three in our Driver Power satisfaction survey for four successive years – when it debuted in 2011, it topped the chart. Such consistency proves the car’s talents are wide-ranging, with reliability, practicality and running costs all hugely appealing to owners.
Some buyers still turn their nose up at the Skoda badge, but with the Superb, you’d be absolutely crazy to do so.
Have you ever bought a used Skoda Superb? Tell us about it in the comments section below...