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Road tests

New Skoda Superb prototype review

We hit the road in the new Skoda Superb ahead of its official arrival later this year

The Skoda Superb is one of our favourite family cars here at Auto Express, especially in load-lugging Estate guise. Skoda really nailed the current version with solid build quality, a tried and tested selection of petrol and diesel powertrains and, of course, a class-leading boot. 

Now there’s a new Superb Estate on the horizon and we’ve been given early access to see if Skoda is on the right track with the new model. The all-new Superb will be unveiled in November this year ahead of an on-sale date of early 2024. 

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The Superb’s powertrain lineup has been missing a mild-hybrid option but this new car will see an electrically assisted 1.5-litre TSI petrol with 148bhp join the range. More petrol offerings come in the form of a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with either 204bhp or 265bhp and then there’s a 1.5-litre TSI petrol with a plug-in hybrid system for a total of 204bhp (only offered with the Estate body style). This plug-in hybrid features a 25.7kWh battery (compared to a 12.7kWh battery of the outgoing PHEV), which ups electric-only range from 44 to over 62 miles.

Leaving the petrol and hybrid options to one side, we’re in one of the 2.0-litre diesel options on our test drive, the one with 148bhp (there’s a 192bhp alternative). As with all the powertrains in the Superb, it’s mated to a DSG automatic transmission. 

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Our drive starts from a golf course, a suitable location given that the Superb Estate should really be on the shopping list of anyone seeking a golf bag-friendly luggage area. The old car had a 660-litre boot but Skoda has expanded it to a cavernous 690-litres. As this is still a prototype there’s the customary camouflage adorning the exterior and swathes of plastic hiding the layout of the dash. 

We’ve actually seen the new Skoda Superb uncovered and while we can’t show you what it looks like, if you’ve been disillusioned by certain VW Group products utilising touchpads and sliders instead of physical buttons and knobs, then you’re in for a treat with the Superb’s interior.  

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There’s a new 12.9-inch central touchscreen (not quite the gargantuan 15-inch unit of the next VW Passat) and the gear selector has shifted to the steering column, freeing up more space on the centre console. Skoda also says there are now 28 ‘Simply Clever’ features on the new Superb, each designed to make life a little bit easier. 

First impressions of the new car from behind the wheel are those of familiarity. The Volkswagen Group’s MQB Evo platform has been revised for the Superb by Skoda engineers - who will proudly tell you that this setup will be used later for the next Volkswagen Passat. It rides well, like many other large internal-combustion engined VW Group cars, soaking up bumps in the road without feeling too wallowy. 

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We’d actually prefer the suspension to be a little softer because once you enter a corner it’s obvious the Superb has no problems at all controlling its mass. The steering has just the right amount of weight, although on a motorway cruise we found it to be slightly vague around the straight ahead. It wasn’t so bad that the Superb wandered in its lane but we expect this to be tightened up for the production model. 

Something that does feel production-ready is the powertrain. That’s probably because it’s essentially the same unit found in the current car. The throttle mapping could do with being a tad more responsive but the gearbox feels positive and smooth enough in its shifts. 148bhp might not seem like a lot in a car the size of the Superb but it rarely feels strained and there’s torque right across the rev range. 

The current Skoda Superb Estate costs from £32,295, rising to £45,495 for the 276bhp 4x4 Laurin and Klement version. With the addition of mild-hybrid power to the entry-level petrol we expect prices to increase across the board, but if Skoda can keep the Superb Estate’s positioning below that of the upcoming Passat, it should have a real winner on its hands.  

Model:Skoda Superb Estate
Price:£37,000 (est)
Engine:2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission:Seven-speed DSG automatic
Power:148bhp
0-62mph:N/A
Top speed:N/A
Economy:N/A
On sale:Q1 2024
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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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