Mazda 6 vs Skoda Superb
The Skoda Superb has been updated with a new look and extra kit. Can it topple the Mazda 6, our favourite family car?
For this test we’ve lined up our favourite family car, the Mazda 6, against the newly updated Skoda Superb. When the second-generation Skoda Superb was launched in 2008, it offered acres of space and a vast boot with a clever twin-opening tailgate. Add competitive pricing, and it looked like a lot of car for the money, too. Even so, sales of the big executive hatch haven’t been especially strong.
As a result, Skoda has given the Superb a facelift. There’s a new nose and rear end, while standard kit has been boosted across the range, the engines are cleaner and the interior has been given a subtle makeover. But are the updates enough to take it to the top of the family car ranks?
The Japanese model foregoes fancy boot tricks for a traditional four-door saloon layout, while the top-spec Sport tested here gets a raft of standard kit. It’s available with a powerful yet efficient 2.2-litre diesel, and the chassis is set up to be an engaging drive.
The 2.0 TDI-powered Superb isn’t quite as fast, but it makes up for this with the promise of low emissions and comfortable cruising abilities. Will that be enough for the Skoda to take the Mazda 6’s family car crown?
These two cars are a world apart when it comes to style and execution. The Skoda Superb Elegance has wooden dash veneers that make it feel like a traditional exec, while the dark red flash across the Mazda 6’s dash seems sportier. The air vents mimic the 6’s grille, too. There’s nothing to separate the pair for quality, although the Skoda just edges ahead thanks to the slick feel of its switchgear and its easy-to-use touchscreen sat-nav system.
Surprisingly, the Superb isn’t as long as the Mazda, and its wheelbase is shorter, too. Clever packaging creates additional space in the back. The Skoda has a 69mm-shorter wheelbase than the Mazda, but rear access is far easier thanks to wider door openings. The Skoda’s doors are 92cm wide at the shoulder line, compared to 84cm for its competitor here.
The margins are close. We returned 49.3mpg in the 6 and 49.1mpg in the Superb, and 119g/km emissions mean cheap road tax for both cars. For company users, the Skoda has a small advantage thanks to its slightly lower list price, but the £64 difference isn’t going to break the bank for higher-rate taxpayers. The biggest difference between these two is that Mazda doesn’t offer fixed-price servicing to compete with Skoda’s £499 three-year deal.
1st place - Mazda 6
It’s a close finish, but the 6 holds on to its family car crown. The 2.2-litre diesel is a great engine that mixes hot hatch performance with excellent running costs, while the level of kit, reasonable practicality, more stylish looks and sparkling handling give the Mazda an edge over the Skoda.
2nd place - Skoda Superb
There’s a lot to like about the Superb. If you want to carry passengers in limousine-like space on a budget, it’s perfect, while standard kit and running costs are competitive. The twin-opening bootlid is handy, but the car isn’t much more versatile than the Mazda, and could be more comfortable when cruising.
|Mazda 6 2.2D 175 Sport||Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI 140 Elegance|
|On the road price/total as tested||£25,595/£27,525||£24,710/£26,090|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||£10,827/42.3%||£10,576/42.8%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£919/£1,839||£888/£1,775|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,579/£2,632||£1,585/£2,642|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||23/£358/C/£30||23/£344/C/£30|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£159/£233/£236||£499 (3yrs/30k)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/2,191cc||4cyl in-line/1,968cc|
|Peak power/revs||173/4,500 bhp/rpm||138/4,200 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||420/2,000 Nm/rpm||320/1,750 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||6-spd man/fwd||6-spd man/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||62 litres/repair kit||60 litres/£100|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||483/1,632 litres||595/1,700 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||11.2 metres/0.26Cd||10.8 metres/0.30Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||12,500 (1yr)/170||Variable/135|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||4th/17th||2nd/7th|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||92/77/66/81/5||90/81/50/71/5|
|0-60/30-70mph||8.8/8.5 secs||9.2/8.6 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||3.6/4.9 secs||4.1/6.5 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th||6.4/8.4 secs||8.1/11.5 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||139mph/1,950rpm||131mph/1,850rpm|
|Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph||48.7/35.4/8.6 metres||54.8/37.4/10.6 metres|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||49.3/10.8/672 miles||49.1/10.8/648 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||154/119g/km/18%||154/119g/km/18%|
|Auto box/tyre monitor/stab/cruise ctrl||£1,200/yes/yes/yes||£1,435/yes/yes/yes|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||Yes/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes|
|Met paint/adaptive xenons/keyless go||£530/yes/yes||£495/yes/£375|