Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI

Five-door is one of our favourite family cars. But just how good is new Skoda loader?

Few cars carry as much expectation as the new Skoda Superb Estate. The five-door model swept all before it to be crowned Best Family Car at last year’s Auto Express New Car Awards. The manufacturer is also the reigning champion in our annual Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. Does the load carrier live up to our high hopes?

As with many rivals, the Estate looks better than the hatch. This is partly down to the five-door’s TwinDoor tailgate – the hauler is more conventional, and doesn’t demand styling compromises.

It’s neatly styled and well proportioned, and arguably the most attractive choice in this test, too. While it’s not as overtly sporty as, say, the Honda, the Superb’s clean design and smooth rear are very easy on the eye.

Inside, it feels as classy and well built as the hatch. Its simple centre console is easy to navigate and constructed from high-grade plastics. It looks and feels good enough to rival compact executive models for quality.

Elegance trim brings lots of kit, including sat-nav and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat. But as with the other cars, the powered seat doesn’t lower far enough for really tall owners to feel truly at ease – although this is less of a problem in cars with manual adjustment.

It’s telling that this is just about our only complaint inside. The rear seats are really spacious, providing limousine levels of legroom. Anyone who carries teenagers and adults in the back regularly should pick the Skoda.

And the boot follows this lead. With the seats in place, the wide load area provides 633 litres of luggage capacity – that’s over 200 litres more than the Honda – although a full-size spare tyre under the boot floor costs £65.

The Skoda is the only car in our group with a small lip at the edge of its opening, but it doesn’t really make loading or unloading especially tricky. Fold the split rear seats and the Superb provides 1,865 litres of space, making it the number one for practicality. They don’t fold completely flat, though.

It’s just as impressive on the move. Despite costing less than most of the other cars here, the Skoda packs more punch, thanks to its powerful 168bhp 2.0-litre common-rail diesel engine. Its six-speed box isn’t as enjoyable to use as the sporty Honda’s, but it’s light and the well spaced ratios help to stir strong mid-range pace from the engine. And through a series of bends, the big Skoda handles with impressive poise and agility.

It also rides well, coping admirably with scarred surfaces and deep potholes. Add good high-speed refinement, and it’s a genuinely talented long-distance cruiser. The Skoda even performed strongly in terms of efficiency, returning an impressive 42.3mpg in its time with us. It’s proof that you can have your cake and eat it.

Details

Chart position: 1WHY: The five-door Superb is our family car champion, and the new load-carrying version is even more attractive on the outside. Does it stack up inside, though?

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