Skoda Superb Estate 2013
We've been impressed by the facelifted Skoda Superb hatch, so now we try the practical estate
Skoda has done enough to keep the Superb Estate at the top of the class. Thanks to its new gearbox, the GreenLine model is the pick of the range, and both company and private buyers will appreciate its huge carrying capacity and low cost. No estate offers more space or equipment for the money, and as an all-round proposition the new Superb is difficult to fault.
It gets the same visual tweaks as the range-topping 4x4 hatch we tested a few weeks ago, with a smart new grille, sharper lights and a lower air intake that runs along the full width of the front bumper. However, at the rear the estate has more modest changes and, apart from two subtle dimples in the bootlid and a new badge, it looks much the same as before.
The GreenLine model used to be a standalone version, but its tweaks are now available on every trim level bar the top-spec Laurin & Klement. They include unique 16-inch alloys and low-rolling-resistance tyres to help optimise efficiency, plus the suspension is 15mm lower than a standard Superb’s.
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The 1.6-litre TDI is carried over from before, but a new six-speed manual box boosts economy to an impressive 65.7mpg, while the car emits only 113g/km of CO2. Although these aren’t huge gains, they keep the Superb ahead of rivals like the Mazda 6 Tourer and VW Passat Estate.
The new box also gives the car a dynamic boost, as the ratios are now better spaced. The engine feels much less strangled when accelerating and is more refined at a steady cruise.
It’s still a little noisy at idle, but once you’re up to speed it settles down nicely. As long as you keep it spinning above 1,750rpm there’s enough torque to ensure brisk progress.
This front-driven estate is 68kg lighter than the 4x4 hatch and it definitely felt more nimble through corners. The skinny eco tyres give up their grip a little sooner, but the lower springs ensure there is little body roll, and as a result the GreenLine is surprisingly satisfying to drive.
There is a trade-off when it comes to ride comfort, and the GreenLine doesn’t shake off bumps quite as easily as the standard model. However, it’s still supple enough to make an excellent long-distance tourer.
Yet the Superb’s trump card is its huge practicality. The 633-litre boot is vast and can now be accessed via a powered tailgate. Flip forward the rear seat squabs, fold the backs and capacity grows to a class-leading 1,865 litres.
A false floor, luggage nets and the optional sliding rails make the car a highly versatile family choice, too. Thoughtful touches such as the LED torch in the boot and umbrella in the passenger door are a bonus – especially considering the car’s price has risen by only £440.
The interior feels sturdy and well built, and it still looks fresh (as long as you avoid our test model’s shiny wood trim). The new multifunction steering wheel has a quality feel that elevates it above the previous version – and this is reflected throughout the new car.