2013 Skoda Superb review
- Face-lifted Skoda Superb driven
- Hatch and estate versions get more kit and cleaner engines
- On sale July, priced from £18,555
The 2013 Skoda Superb has been given a thorough makeover to keep it competitive against newer rivals, such as the Mazda 6 and Hyundai i40.
Exterior wise, both the hatch and the estate get a new grille, head- and foglights, while LED tail-lights are now standard across the range. There are also new paint colours and wheel designs.
Energy recuperation braking and stop-start are now found on all diesel models and the 1.4 TSI, with the latter on the 1.8 TSI, too. Fuel economy has therefore improved by as much as 19%.
Company car drivers will also appreciate the lower CO2 emissions.
Inside, the changes are restricted to a new steering wheel, gearlever and interior fabrics.
What’s the 2013 Skoda Superb like to drive?
Skoda hasn't changed any of the mechanicals, save for a new sixth gear for the Greenline, so the way the Superb drives hasn't changed.
We tried the 1.6-litre diesel Greenline III (in estate form) and the 168bhp 2.0-litre diesel as a hatchback and with an optional DSG auto gearbox fitted.
The Greenline's longer gearing harms flexibility. The engine feels just about eager enough at motorway speeds, but you have to be careful with your gear selection on slower roads – let the revs drop too low and you'll have to change down.
This isn't a problem in the smoother, stronger 2.0-litre. It pulls eagerly from low revs and the automatic gearbox does a quick, slick job of moving through the gears. This engine also generates less vibration through the pedals than the 1.6.
The Superb is reasonably agile for such a big car, in both estate and hatchback forms. It has consistently weighted, accurate steering and good body control, although the ride can be a bit jittery – especially at low speeds.
The Superb is at its best on the motorway, remaining effortlessly stable and keeping wind and road noise at bay.
What's the 2013 Skoda Superb like inside?
As with the previous Superb, the boot is enormous, and the estate features practical touches such as hooks, an LED torch, lashing points and an optional sliding floor that extends over the rear bumper to assist with loading.
The hatchback keeps its party-piece tailgate, meaning it can open as both a hatchback or a saloon.
It's a pity the rear seats aren't as clever as the tailgate – you have to flip up the bases before they'll fold flat, and even then there's a step in the extended load area.
Cabin space is harder to fault, because there's masses of head- and legroom in both rows. Most people should be able to find a comfortable driving position, too, thanks to the wide range of adjustment in both the seat and steering wheel.
The Superb is no longer streets ahead of other Skodas on space, though. The latest Octavia hatch has just five litres less luggage space, for example, even if its rear legroom is still some way behind.
The Superb's dash is also made to look less impressive by the quality of the new Octavia's. That said, it's well ordered and the controls are big and clearly labelled.
True, interiors have moved on since 2008, but the surfaces you touch most in the Superb are covered in soft-touch plastics, and build quality still feels reassuringly solid.
The only notable change is the redesigned standard leather-wheel. It looks and feels classy, and its volume and menu roller controls are now recessed, meaning you're less likely to accidentally catch them when turning.
Should I buy one?
The Superb's starting price has risen by £520, but it now comes with a leather multi-function steering wheel and cruise control as standard, which used to cost extra.
Private buyers are still best off with the entry-level 1.4 TSI S, which is good value at £18,555 – especially when you factor in that extra kit and improved fuel economy.
However, given that Skoda believes fleet buyers will account for 60% of all sales, the Superb's combination of big space and low running costs isn't so convincing.
For example, although the Superb Greenline III S now emits just 109g/km, it costs just £70 less than the smoother Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI SE. That car also gets more kit, more power, similar luggage space and it sits in the same 16% company tax bracket.
Ford's newly trimmed Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Graphite comes with less kit and emits slightly more CO2 – putting in the 18% company car tax bracket – but still offers lots of space, more power, better handling and costs nearly £1900 less.
Strangely, then, while the Superb is better than ever before, it actually makes less sense now than when it first went on sale – especially for company car drivers.
What Car? says...
Specification 1.6 TDI Greenline III
Engine size 1.6-litre diesel
Price from £20,070
Torque 184lb ft
0-60mph 12.3 seconds
Top speed 121mph
Fuel economy 67.3mpg
Specification 2.0 TDI 170 DSG
Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Price from £24,365
Torque 258lb ft
0-60mph 8.7 seconds
Top speed 137mph
Fuel economy 53.3mpg
Specification 1.4 TSI
Engine size 1.4-litre turbo petrol
Price from £18,555
Torque 148lb ft
0-60mph 10.6 seconds
Top speed 126mph
Fuel economy 47.9mpg
By Rory White
Used cars for sale
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