The 123bhp 1.4 TSI petrol engine isn't as slovenly as it sounds, but it will struggle to pull a heavy load. The pokier 1.8 TSIs, with 150- or 158bhp, are better, but don't go near the thirsty 256bhp 3.6 V6. The diesels will rightly be popular: the 138bhp 2.0 has plenty of punch, and the 168bhp version is stronger still, but more expensive. The fuel-sipping 1.6 TDI diesel models are adequate unless you’re really loaded up.
The Superb Estate’s ride can feel a little lumpy at low speeds, but it improves as you go faster and it feels wonderfully smooth and settled on the motorway, so it's a great cruiser. True, the car feels a little wallowy through bends, but there's plenty of grip to make you feel secure and the steering is accurate.
The Superb isolates wind- and road noise really well. You’ll hear the suspension working over bumps, but it’s not disturbing. The diesel engines are the latest-generation common-rail units, so are nice and refined. The petrols, too, are smooth and quiet, but you'll have to push hard with the 1.4.
For an estate car of this size, the Superb is good value. What's more, you'll get a decent discount on the list price, and resale values are reasonable, too. The modern petrol engines and wide range of diesels mean all but the V6 give you decent fuel economy. The 1.6 TDI Greenline II model makes a lot of sense as a company car because of its low CO2 emissions.
Some people think of Skoda as Volkswagen's poor relation, but the Superb makes a mockery of that assumption. It has classy, soft-touch plastics on the surfaces you touch most frequently and the build feels impressively solid. Skoda also has an excellent record in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey.
Stability control and twin front, side and curtain airbags are fitted as standard, as well as a further airbag to protect the driver's knees. Top-spec cars get an intelligent headlight system, which varies its beam pattern according to your speed and the type of road you're on. Security features are plentiful, and every model comes with an alarm.
The Superb's dashboard lives up to the car's name. It's clutter-free, clearly labelled and simple to navigate. The ventilation system is also a breeze to use and the touch-screen stereo that you get on most models is simple to operate. Two-way steering-wheel adjustment and driver's seat-height adjustment are standard, so it's easy to make yourself comfortable.
As you'd expect, the boot is enormous in the Superb Estate. There are a range of hooks and lashing points to for extra practicality, and you can specify a sliding floor that extends over the rear bumper. It's a pity that the back seats aren't cleverer, because you get a stepped load area when you fold them down. As in the hatchback version, passenger space is enormous.
S trim forms the entry point for the Superb Estate range, and these cars come with all the basics – alloys, air-conditioning, four powered windows, remote locking and a CD stereo with MP3 socket. Stepping up to SE trim provides Alcantara upholstery, cruise and climate controls, a CD changer and parking sensors, to which SE Plus adds touch-screen sat-nav and Bluetooth. Elegance trim adds xenon headlamps, leather upholstery and rain-sensing wipers.
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A very pleasant car to live with, with a great engine and lots of creature comforts. Doesn't come particularly cheap, though, so make sure you're prepared to pay for the privilege.