The turbodiesel engines are most popular. The 103bhp 1.6 is adequate unless you’re really loaded up, while the 2.0 units, with 138bhp or 168bhp, are much stronger and more flexible. The turbocharged petrols include a flexible 120bhp 1.4 and a punchy 158bhp 1.8, while the 2.0 version delivers serious pace. So does the 3.6 V6, but it’s way too expensive.
Given its size, you might expect the Superb to be as unwieldy as a bendy bus, but it’s actually quite agile. Body roll is tightly controlled and, while you do have to muscle it into corners more than we’d like, the steering provides plenty of feedback. The Superb also impresses on more mundane journeys because it feels planted on the motorway and takes the sting out of most bumps and potholes. However, the ride isn’t perfect, becoming fidgety over patchy surfaces.
The Superb isolates wind- and road noise really well, and the suspension stays quiet over bumps. The diesel engines are the latest-generation common-rail units, so are nice and refined. The petrols, too, are smooth and quiet.
Superb buyers get masses of car for their money. Fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions are respectable, and the turbodiesels are impressively frugal. Resale values will be reasonable if you avoid the most expensive petrol models. 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, so the mechanicals should prove hardy and long-lasting.
Stability control and twin front, side and curtain airbags are fitted as standard, plus there’s a further airbag to protect the driver’s knees. Top-spec cars get an intelligent lighting system that 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 dash lives up to the 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 one of the simplest systems we’ve come across. Two-way steering-wheel adjustment and driver's seat-height adjustment are standard, so it’s easy to make yourself comfortable.
There's lots of space for five people, and the Superb is both a hatchback and a saloon - you can open the bootlid on its own, or the whole tailgate. Luggage capacity is vast with the seats in place, and when the seats are folded, the cargo area looks more like the hold of a container ship than the boot of a car.
All Superbs have electric windows and door mirrors, alloy wheels and some form of air-conditioning. SE spec adds parking sensors, cruise control and a 6-CD touch-screen stereo, to which SE Plus adds touch-screen sat-nav and Bluetooth. Elegance cars have a tyre-pressure monitoring system, rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats, leather upholstery and electric seats, while range-topping Laurin & Klement models have heated rear seats, heated and cooled front seats and a TV tuner.
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This model displays all the virtues of the Superb range offering plenty of space, practicality and equipment. It’s keenly priced and cheap to run, but the 1.4-litre engine may not be strong enough for everyone.