Skoda Superb estate
New carrier builds on the strengths of saloon. we see if it’s the king of the load.
The Skoda Superb is an incredible car – and the new Estate is the best yet. It is the latest in a string of load carriers that are better than the hatchbacks on which they are based. The newcomer retains the key strengths of the standard model and improves on them with more stylish looks and a normal tailgate in place of the gimmicky TwinDoor. Add class-leading load space, plus a great price tag and excellent equipment levels, and estates don’t come much better.
Have Skoda’s product planners been reading Auto Express? Over the past year, we’ve been running a Superb on our long-term test fleet, and we’ve come up with a couple of complaints. But the firm’s all-new Estate promises to fix both of them!
What does it do that the hatchback doesn’t? Well, for a start, it looks much better. The standard car is imposing rather than handsome, and its clever tailgate – which can be opened as a saloon or hatch – demands styling compromises at the rear.
Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Superb Estate
In contrast, the Estate is sleek. The extended roofline, complete with standard-fit load rails, gives the newcomer a new-found elegance.
It ditches the saloon’s overly complex boot release in favour of a conventional tailgate, and this lifts to reveal a wide, low opening. There’s 633 litres of luggage capacity with the rear seats in place, or a huge 1,865 litres with them folded flat.
Practical touches include a pair of large storage bins on either side, a variety of hooks and a load restraint system to prevent small items from sliding around.
Up front, you’ll find the same high-quality fixtures and fittings as in the hatch, plus generous equipment. Among the new options are keyless entry and start, as well as a huge two-piece panoramic glass roof with an opening front section.
We drove the flagship diesel – it uses a 170bhp 2.0-litre common-rail, mated to VW’s excellent DSG gearbox. This smooth and punchy combination is well suited to the Superb. High-speed refinement and comfort are impressive, as is the grip. Plus, the steering is well weighted and precise, making the car accomplished to drive.
Not only does the Skoda have more space than its rivals, but it’s keenly priced, too. Estate models are likely to command a £1,100-£1,300 premium over the hatch when prices are confirmed next year, making it great value. The range is expected to start from around £17,500 for the 1.4 TSI petrol.
The new Superb has all the attributes of a class-leading family estate. Factor in the manufacturer’s famed reliability and customer service, and it’s easily one of the best load carriers money can buy.
Rival: Vauxhall Insignia
Our reigning Estate Car of the Year is refined, classy and comfortable. As with the Skoda, it has an array of engine and gearbox options. But the Superb trumps the Insignia’s 540-litre load area.