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New Skoda Superb 1.5 TSI 2019 review

The Skoda Superb is now available with the VW Group's new 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine, but is it a better bet than the excellent diesel?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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The Skoda Superb remains one of our favourite family cars. It can’t be beaten for space, and the kit list is strong, too. This new 1.5-litre engine is a relaxed performer and suits the car’s character; if you cover relatively few miles it could make more sense than the excellent diesel. We’d still opt for the better value SE Technology model over this flashy SE L, however.

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Skoda, just like the rest of its Volkswagen Group sister brands, is in the middle of rolling out a new, more efficient 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine across the range. 

Replacing the old 1.4 TSI, we’ve already tried it in the Audi A3, VW Golf and SEAT Arona, among others. But how does it fit in the Skoda Superb; should you consider one over the more frugal diesel? We’ve tried it in the UK to find out.

Best family cars to buy

With 148bhp and 250Nm of torque, the numbers are identical to those of its predecessor. It feels relaxed rather than frantic; put your foot down and while it builds speed quick enough, it never feels particularly fast. This sense of calm is only emphasised by our car’s (£1,400) DSG automatic gearbox, which seems to change up sooner than you might imagine – presumably to save fuel.

It still drives well, however. Just like the old 1.4, it’s a predictable performer. Rather than being especially sporty the Superb trades on its grown-up manners and safe handling. Body control is good, and while the steering doesn’t offer much feel, it’s accurate enough and always points the car where you want it to go. 

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But racey handling isn’t what this car is about. The Superb is a family car that needs to be spacious, comfortable, quiet and refined – and in this regard it’s an excellent choice. The new 1.5-litre engine is barely audible around town; remaining hushed even at motorway speeds.

And while the new car may appear less economical on paper, the tougher WLTP test procedures should see it return more miles per gallon in everyday driving. Skoda claims 52.3mpg and 123g/km in DSG-equipped SE L Executive trim. 

This spec comes loaded with kit, but the middling SE Technology model represents better value for money. Both cars get leather trim, sat-nav and alloy wheels, yet the cheaper model costs a whopping £3,195 less. SE L cars like ours add xenon headlamps, keyless entry and a bigger 9.2-inch infotainment system, however. 

While the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport’s unbeatable value for money lent it our Family Car of the Year gong at the 2018 Auto Express New Car Awards, the Superb came a close second. For practicality, it can’t be beaten; the cavernous boot and roomy back seats remain, with plenty of ‘Simply Clever’ touches – like the hidden umbrellas mounted in the rear doors.

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Deputy editor

Richard has been part of the team for over a decade. During this time he has covered a huge amount of news and reviews for Auto Express, as well as being the face of Carbuyer and DrivingElectric on Youtube. In his current role as deputy editor, he is now responsible for keeping our content flowing and managing our team of talented writers.

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