Skoda Superb Review
Big, comfortable and good value: you don't need a Mercedes if you have a Skoda Superb
Strengths & weaknesses
- Large interior and boot space
- Economical petrol models
- Comfortable ride
- Uncomfortable during fast cornering
- Bland interior design
- Few used bargains
Skoda Superb prices from £12,900 Finance from £185.06 per month
With a name like Superb, Skoda’s large family car could hardly be humdrum, and it’s not. It’s big. Big in the back, big in the boot, big on value and big on fuel economy - particularly the petrol cars.
Skoda is charging less than £20,000 for an entry-level Superb, while you can pick up a used model on Buyacar from just £12,900. Their popularity as a fantastic value family car means it tends to hold on to its value, so finance deals can be even better value, especially on the used market.
It’s comfortable too, rolling smoothly over bumps in the road in a way that wouldn’t disgrace a limousine, It glides along at motorway speeds with little audible noise from the wind, engine or tyres, making it a genuine alternative to upmarket German rivals that sell for almost twice the price.
Only if you try and dart down a winding road do the Superb’s limitations become clear: the long (4.9 metre) car feels heavy and can’t match the sharp and sporty steering of a BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF or Ford Mondeo. You’re much better off taking it easy, with a relaxed driving style.
The Skoda Superb looks like a saloon car, because of the boot that pokes out at the back, but it’s actually a hatchback, with a boot lid that opens up the back of the car. It’s a practical design that makes it simple to load bulky luggage into the enormous 625-litre boot.
If you need more space, the rear seats fold down to create a 1,760 litre space - 323 litres more than in a Ford Mondeo hatchback. Opt for the Superb Estate and that volume increases to 1,950 litres, making it the largest Estate car available, with 130 litres more than the Mercedes E-Class Estate.
The Superb was revised in late 2019, which you can recognise from a range of styling tweaks such as a new front bumper and grille design, new alloy wheel designs, optional LED matrix headlights, LED rear lights and ‘animated’ indicators. These later cars are fitted with ambient lighting on the dashboard, new seat fabrics, a bigger phone box that allows inductive charging, a shallow storage tray below the cabin floor and a flexible organiser in the boot department.
There are also three new media systems, two of which have a navigation function, while more expensive trim levels have a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen with a glass surface.
A plug-in hybrid version, the Skoda Superb iV also launched in January 2020. Although its considerably more expensive than standard petrol and diesel models, this option could well be the difference for some drivers who are keen to reduce their carbon footprint.
|Warranty||3 years / 60,000 miles|
|Boot size||625 litres|
|Tax||£170-£530 in first year, £145 thereafter|
Best Skoda Superb for...
Best for Economy – Skoda Superb SE 1.6 TDI GreenLine
It’s the greenest car on paper - so it’s the cheapest Superb when it comes to company car tax. You can expect fuel economy of around 48mpg. SE trim has plenty of equipment for a good price.
Best for Families – Skoda Superb SE-L 1.4 150PS DSG
The car’s excellent petrol engine is powerful, efficient and smooth in combination with the automatic gearbox. SE-L trim includes sat-nav, parking sensors and wipe-clean leather seats.
Best for Performance – Skoda Superb SportLine 2.0 TSI 280 4x4 DSG
A 0-62mph acceleration time of 5.6 seconds is fast for a family car, and SportLine trim means that that car looks the part, with big alloy wheels and a black grille.
One to Avoid – Skoda Superb S 1.6 TDI 120PS
In its basic specification, the Superb lacks the parking sensors that make manoeuvring the car much easier, as well as climate control and pleasingly practical door-mounted umbrellas. The basic diesel engine is a little weedy too.
- February 2015 The current Skoda Superb is revealed.
- March 2015 SE Business trim launched for company car users, based on SE trim, but with added sat-nav, suede-like Alcantara upholstery, plus front and rear parking sensors. It's subsequently renamed SE Technology.
- June 2015 The Skoda Superb Estate goes on sale.
- August 2015 The efficient Skoda Superb Greenline is launched with CO2 emissions of 101g/km.
- July 2016 The Superb SportLine with performance bodykit and extra equipment is launched.
- May 2017 Technology upgrade increases the size of dashboard screens, bringing a glass finish to the top-of-the-range 9.1-inch touchscreen.
- September 2019 The Superb is revised, with refreshed styling, new interior features and the addition of a new, more efficient version of the 2.0 TDI diesel engine.
Understanding Skoda Superb names
Trim level SE L Executive
The trim levels indicate the level of standard equipment. S is the basic specification, followed by SE, SE L Executive, SportLine and then Laurin & Klement at the top of the range.
Engine 2.0 TDI 190PS
Diesel engines are badged TDI, while petrol models are branded TSI. The size is given in litres (here it’s 2.0), but you can often get different versions of the same-sized engine, so the horsepower is usually shown too, which can be written as PS (in this example it’s 190).
Many diesel Superbs use SCR - a type of exhaust treatment that reduces harmful emissions. One of the Superb’s petrol engines features ACT - Active Cylinder Technology, which switches off half of the engine when it's not needed to save fuel.
Driven wheels 4x4
Some Skoda Superbs are available with four-wheel drive. These cars are badged 4x4.
Skoda’s automatic gearbox can be identified by the letters DSG.
Skoda Superb Engines
Petrol: 1.4 TSI 1.5 TSI, 2.0 TSI, 1.4 TSI iV Diesel: 1.6 TDI, 2.0 TDI
The Superb is smooth, relaxed and quiet, and so is the majority of the engine range.
If you’re on a tight budget, then the cheapest choice is the 1.4-litre petrol engine that’s only available with early versions of the Superb S (up to 2017). Performance is reasonable - as long as you’re content with steady and sedate acceleration. It's efficient for a petrol engine: the Equa Index of fuel economy figures, which is based on real-world testing, estimates that you can expect around 41mpg in normal driving.
A better option - if you can afford it - is the 150 horsepower (hp) version of the 1.4-litre petrol engine, which was replaced by a 1.5 TSI in 2019. It’s available on SE cars and above where the price of the extra power and equipment is £2,5000 more if you're buying new. It’s more efficient on paper, thanks to a system (known as active cylinder technology, or ACT) that shuts down half of the engine to save fuel when you’re not accelerating. This brings lower carbon dioxide emissions of 119g/km, that reduce company car tax. In real-world driving, though, this Superb is no more efficient than the entry level model. The extra power does makes driving smoother and quieter - you barely notice the engine shutting down and restarting - so it’s a better match for the Superb.
There’s no need to opt for the two more powerful petrol engines unless you want performance that borders on hot hatch territory. The 2.0-litre 220hp engine is quick, with a 0-62mph acceleration time of 6.8sec: this was replaced in 2019 by a 190hp car, with a 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds. The 280hp version (replaced by a 272hp version in 2018) is even more so, taking just 5.6 seconds to go from 0-62mph (5.7 seconds for the newer cars). It’s helped by four-wheel drive, which is standard on this model.
The most popular Skoda Superb models are powered by diesel, which is partly because their lower emissions help to cut company car tax bills. The least-powerful 1.6-litre engine has 120hp, which is enough for smooth and quiet progress, as well as 48mpg in real-world driving, according to the Equa Index, which approximates the official range of up to 49.6mpg, recorded under the new WLTP testing regime.
The lowest carbon dioxide emissions come with the eco-special Greenline model, which uses the same engine but comes with some tweaks to boost efficiency, such as different tyres and exterior additions to make the car cut through the air more smoothly. Few drivers will see the benefit, though: real-world fuel economy is virtually identical to the non-Greenline car, which was probably why Skoda withdrew the Greenline car after a few years.
For performance that feels less sluggish, with real-world fuel economy of around 45mpg, the 2-litre 150hp engine is the best diesel option. It’s available with an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive, and makes accelerating seem effortless. This was replaced in late 2019 by a new version, called EVO, which used new optimised parts that lowered the weight and made it more efficient.
There’s more shove with the most powerful, 190hp diesel engine, which is only available on SE L cars and above, and at a fairly high premium (prices for new 190hp SE L cars start at £32,000 before discounts), but fuel economy is barely different to the other diesel models.
The Skoda Superb iV arrived in January 2020 with its all-new hybrid engine. It's a 1.4-litre petrol combined with an electric motor which altogether is capable of 218hp. Promising CO2 emissions as low as 35g/km and an electric-only range of 33-35 miles, this is a hybrid that could make a serious difference to your running costs - as long as you keep it charged up regularly.
|Fuel||Fuel economy (WLTP)||Power||Acceleration (0-62mph)||Top speed|
|1.4 TSI 125||Petrol||48.7mpg (NEDC)||125hp||9.6 seconds||129mph|
|1.4 TSI 150 ACT||Petrol||54.3mpg (NEDC)||150hp||8.3 seconds||137mph|
|1.5 TSI 150||Petrol||38.7-44.8mpg||150hp||9 seconds||136mph|
|2.0 TSI 190||Petrol||35.2-39.2mpg||190hp||7.7 seconds||148mph|
|2.0 TSI 4x4||Petrol||30.4-33.2mpg||272hp||5.6 seconds||155mph|
|1.4 TSI iV||Hybrid||148.7-217.3mpg||218hp||7.7 seconds||138mph|
|1.6 TDI 120||Diesel||42.8-52.3mpg||120hp||11.1 seconds||127mph|
|2.0 TDI 150||Diesel||49.6-58.9mpg||150hp||9.1 seconds||137mph|
|2.0 TDI 4x4||Diesel||39.8-45.6mpg||190hp||8 seconds||143mph|
Skoda Superb Trims
S, SE, SE L, SportLine, Laurin & Klement
The specification you choose for the Superb makes a big difference to the car’s character: a leather interior, heated front and rear seats and three-zone climate control make the high-end model a car that you could be chauffeured in.
Entry-level S models, on the other hand, are unquestionably the budget option. You’d be hard-pressed to tell from the outside (16in alloy wheels are included), but inside the dashboard is covered in blank switches, which operate equipment that comes as standard on more expensive cars. The basics are all there, though. Included as standard are air conditioning; a touchscreen with digital radio and Bluetooth for connecting your phone wirelessly; a leather steering wheel with buttons for phone and audio; split-folding rear seats; electric front and rear windows; and an automatic emergency brake that can prevent accidents.
Move up to the SE trim level and you’ll also be able to choose from the 150 horsepower mid-range engines. Extra equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a larger 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for simpler control of phone apps; adaptive cruise control that can keep you a set distance from the car in front’ dual-zone climate control; rear parking sensors. You’ll also get the Superb’s quirky door-mounted umbrellas. The extra equipment and engine choice, for a relatively small price premium, makes the SE a good choice when you’re buying new.
SE Technology cars have a similar level of equipment to SE cars, but add privacy glass, leather seats, heated front seats, blind spot detection, satellite navigation, wi-fi and different drive modes. These were discontinued when the Superb range was overhauled in 2019, but used models are still available at reduced prices on BuyaCar.
The car of choice for used buyers is the SE L version. Skoda charges almost £3,000 more for this version when new. As time goes on, that difference will reduce for second-hand models.
It’s at this point that the Superb starts to feel quite luxurious. The dashboard touchscreen expands to a sizeable 9.2-inch, and gains a sat-nav. The seats are covered in leather and are heated in the front, while the bootlid becomes motorised. Brighter xenon headlights and larger 18in alloy wheels alter the exterior look.
Above this level, SportLine (known as SportLine Plus on later cars) adds performance options to SE specification. These include 19in alloy wheels, a black grille, tinted windows and a few bodywork additions that make the car look lower - adding up to a noticeably sportier design. Inside are suede-like Alcantara seats, carbon-look panels and a steering wheel with silver stitching. It also gains the 9.2in screen and sat-nav, as well as keyless entry and start, plus different driving modes that make the Superb feel sportier or more comfortable.
At the top of the range is the Laurin & Klement Edition. Even the most affordable model is over £10,000 more expensive than the cheapest Superb and it offers plenty of extra equipment on top of SE L specification. This includes an upgraded Canton sound system, triple-zone climate control, heated front and rear seats, as well as keyless entry and start, a heated windscreen and self-parking system. Also included is a more sophisticated suspension, called Dynamic Chassis Control, which can adjust more effectively to suit the road conditions, providing a smoother ride,
On top of all of this is a lengthy option list that allows you to go for the full chauffeur experience (panoramic sunroof, rear window blinds and a switch in the back to push the front passenger seat forward, increasing legroom). The Dynamic Chassis Control is also an option on all but the S models for a more comfortable ride.
Drivers can choose to be pampered with a heated steering wheel and ventilated seat with massage function.
Skoda Superb Reliability and warranty
The Superb model (saloon and estate) is well thought of by owners, its reliability helping it to a very respectable 24th place on the most recent Auto Express Driver Power survey. The Skoda brand was also voted fifth most reliable manufacturer.
The only downside is the company’s three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which isn’t very generous, when compared to manufacturers such as Kia, whose Optima Estate has seven years of cover.
Used Skoda Superb
The first thing to ensure is that you’re looking at the right Skoda Superb. The previous-generation car was sold until 2015. It was an excellent choice, but does feel a little dated when you compare it with the current car. You can identify an older car by the headlights, which are curved on the bottom, outside edges. The current model has jagged headlights, as seen in the pictures above.
Although the Superb has been on sale for four years now, there aren’t a great number of bargains available. The car holds its value well, which helps to reduce the cost of owning or financing it, but increases the cost of buying one in the first place.
You’ll pay more for the better-equipped Superbs, starting with the SE L Executive models, but the difference in price is less than when they were new.
After May 2017, all cars were fitted with larger dashboard screens across the range, most noticeable on more expensive models (from SE L Executive), which gained a larger 9.2in touchscreen, with a glass front. Also available is an SOS function, enabling to call for help if the car’s in a crash and the driver doesn’t respond. Other new options included a massage function on the driver’s seat and a better automatic emergency brake that can avoid parking shunts.
If you are looking for a high-specification, nearly-new model, then it’s worth seeking out a car from after September 2019, which should benefit from a series of upgrades, both styling and interior equipment.