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Road tests

Skoda Superb Estate 2024 review: excellent estate car is now even better

Skoda’s big Superb Estate really is a superb estate. It doesn’t rewrite the rulebook, but it didn’t need to

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
from £40,080
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Verdict

The Skoda Superb Estate delivers on space, quality and cleverness just as strongly as the previous model. But the elements that have changed, like the new interior design, new tech and extended use of hybrid powertrains – in addition to the diesel ones that still hold plenty of appeal – only build on an all-round brilliant package.

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There are few mainstream cars out there that garner such enthusiasm among owners as the Skoda Superb Estate so when the time came to replace it, Skoda had a tough job on its hands. As the king of mainstream estate cars, the Superb has long excelled on interior space, build quality and value. It’s these key targets which the new model will need to hit, all while adding the extra tech and efficiency new car buyers demand. 

The new Skoda Superb, tested first here in Estate form, is aiming to do just that. It goes about its task with an all-new body, interior and tech, plus significant upgrades to the powertrains which now feature new hybrid options. Starting on the practicality front, the new model is now 40mm longer than before, with a boot capacity that’s bigger to the tune of 30 litres at 690. Unlike VW with the new Passat, with which this car shares much of its underlying tech, Skoda will offer a hatchback Superb model but it will be along shortly after the Estate. 

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Space inside is vast, as you’d expect, but because the Superb is now lower and sleeker than before, the sense of roominess is a little less generous. When you’re inside the car, though, it’s clear that Skoda’s taken a huge leap with its interior design. Up front, the driver is treated to a new 13-inch touchscreen display that houses all the main navigation and media functions.

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The screen itself is simple enough to use, with logical shortcuts and quick responses. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and seamlessly integrate into the native system. The impressive computing hardware on board also makes for super quick responses and for fingerprint-phobes, there’s a special cleaning block that lives in the glovebox that quickly buffs the screen clean. 

In a quest to bring back physical controls, Skoda has fitted the new Superb with a set of three active rotating controls that govern the heating and ventilation, as well as a few additional functions such as the driver modes and volume. Each of the three roundels feature a small colour screen on their face, with the ability to vary their function with a press. We’ve seen these sorts of controls before on cars from Jaguar and Land Rover, and as in those models the system works brilliantly, giving fast fingertip control to many elements that would otherwise be buried in the touchscreen. 

This all sits in a broadly impressive interior, both in terms of its design and build quality. Materials have taken a noticeable step up over the previous model, with lots of stitched leather and fabric elements paired with robust feeling soft-touch plastics. General elements like seat comfort and adjustability also feel top notch, with the possible exception of those dials, which do feel a little cheap. Otherwise, there’s excellent odds and ends storage, with a particularly useful centre console now the gear selector has moved to the column. 

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Under the bonnet, Skoda’s expanded the engine range with two different hybrid options built around a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The entry-level 148bhp mild-hybrid kicks things off with a small starter motor generator and 48V electrical system. There’s also a new plug-in hybrid which pairs the same petrol engine with a larger electric motor and battery pack that together produce 197bhp. 

The battery pack is quite sizable as is common in this new generation of PHEVs, with a 25.7kWh capacity that’s capable of driving the Superb in EV mode for up to 62 miles. For charging up on the go, Skoda has included a 50kW DC fast charging capability that’ll recharge the batteries from 10-80 per cent in around 25 minutes, but is still capable of up to 11kW AC charging from an at-home wallbox. 

Beyond these electrified options, Skoda will also offer a pair of turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines, and a pair of four-cylinder diesels with 148bhp and 187bhp. The most powerful engine on offer will be the top-spec 2.0 TSI petrol which is capable of producing 262bhp and 400Nm of torque. All models feature a dual-clutch transmission, with the more powerful petrol and diesels coming with all-wheel drive. The remaining range, including the hybrids, is all front-wheel drive. It’s the low-powered front-wheel drive diesel which is still expected to be the highest seller in the UK, which is the car we’re driving here. 

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If you’ve driven a modern Volkswagen Group diesel and DSG combo, the way this new Superb drives won’t come as any surprise, which is no bad thing. It’s not the most refined engine at low operating speeds, with a typical diesel grumble finding its way into the cabin. Yet while it might not sound particularly different, there are some tangible improvements to response and drivability. 

The low speed manners of the DSG are much better than before, with consistent reactions to inputs that make smooth low speed driving a more natural exercise. This pairs well with a responsive diesel engine that you’ll have to work hard to catch out, so quick to spool is the turbo. This powertrain is also brilliantly efficient, with our on-test figures floating at around 55mpg, despite slow-moving traffic. 

The steering is fairly typical of any Skoda product, which is to say that it’s accurate, responsive and consistent, without being overly light or spongy. Like so many of the dynamic elements on the new Superb, the steering is variable dependent upon the driver mode. With this powertrain and its target market, the slightly heavier weighting in Sport mode feels not entirely necessary.

The drive modes have a significant effect with regards to the ride quality when cars are fitted with the optional DDC Pro adaptive dampers. Switch the system over to Comfort mode and the ride, even on the 19-inch wheels of our test car, was superbly — pardon the pun, it was going to happen eventually — supple and refined. As speeds rise, this can leave the body control feeling a touch wayward, but this is where a switch to the tighter Sports mode firms things right back up, fixing the problem. 

Being Skoda’s latest system, it’s adjustable on the same sliding scale as in many high-end VWs, allowing fine control of the dampers according to your preference – if only it was less fiddly to access. The soothing ride is then only heightened by the excellent road noise suppression and lack of wind noise. 

This all adds up to the new Skoda Superb being a broadly rounded package with lots of good points and very few bad. All those inherent Superb trademarks are still there – the impressive practicality, the comfort and good build quality, all that’s left is to see if the value equation is just as strong. And while this particular diesel engine doesn’t represent a giant leap in powertrain technology, it is still very fit for purpose if big motorway miles are the main priority for your big family estate. 

Model:Skoda Superb Estate SE 2.0TDI DSG
Price from:£40,080
Engine:2.0-litre, in-line four, turbo diesel
Power/torque:147bhp/360Nm
Transmission:Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, front-wheel drive
0-62mph:9.0 seconds
Top speed:137mph
Test fuel economy:55.6mpg
CO2:133g/km
L/W/H:4,902/1,849/1,482mm
On sale:June 2024
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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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