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Car group tests

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.

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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?

Skoda Superb review

Mazda 6 review

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?

Interior finish

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.

Accessibility

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. 

Costs comparison

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.

Figures

 Mazda 6 2.2D 175 SportSkoda 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%
Depreciation£14,768£14,134
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/cost23/£358/C/£3023/£344/C/£30
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£159/£233/£236£499 (3yrs/30k)
   
Length/wheelbase4,870/2,830mm4,833/2,761mm
Height/width1,450/1,840mm1,462/1,817mm
Engine4cyl in-line/2,191cc4cyl in-line/1,968cc
Peak power/revs173/4,500 bhp/rpm138/4,200 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs420/2,000 Nm/rpm320/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
   
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel62 litres/repair kit60 litres/£100
Boot capacity (seats up/down)483/1,632 litres595/1,700 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,487/508/1,600kg1,457/638/1,800kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.2 metres/0.26Cd10.8 metres/0.30Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers12,500 (1yr)/170Variable/135
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.4th/17th2nd/7th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars92/77/66/81/590/81/50/71/5
   
0-60/30-70mph8.8/8.5 secs9.2/8.6 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.6/4.9 secs4.1/6.5 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th6.4/8.4 secs8.1/11.5 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph139mph/1,950rpm131mph/1,850rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph48.7/35.4/8.6 metres54.8/37.4/10.6 metres
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range49.3/10.8/672 miles49.1/10.8/648 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined51.4/72.4/62.8mpg50.4/70.6/61.4mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined11.3/15.9/13.8mpl11.1/15.5/13.5mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket154/119g/km/18%154/119g/km/18%
   
Airbags/Isofix/parking sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/yesSeven/yes/rear/no
Auto box/tyre monitor/stab/cruise ctrl£1,200/yes/yes/yes£1,435/yes/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Met paint/adaptive xenons/keyless go£530/yes/yes£495/yes/£375
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth£700/yes/no/yesYes/£185/yes/yes
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