Skoda Superb Estate SE Business review
The new SE Business trim adds desirable options such as sat-nav and DAB radio to an already competetively priced package, but is this fleet special enough to tempt company buyers? Read our review...
The Skoda Superb Estate is the largest car the brand currently makes, and brings the Czech company’s reputation for value-for-money to the executive car class. Now, along with the Octavia and the Yeti, it’s been given a new trim level to boost its appeal to company buyers, the SE Business.
Taking SE trim as its base, the SE Business brings desirable options that fleet buyers demand, such as a touch-screen sat-nav and infotainment system and a DAB digital radio.
Following the lead of the majority of its business users, Skoda offers the Superb SE Business only with diesel engines. We’ve tried the most efficient 1.6-litre Greenline III version, which has the lowest CO2 output and will be cheapest when in comes to fuel costs and benefit-in-kind tax.
What’s the Skoda Superb 1.6 TDI Estate SE Business like to drive?
Since SE Business is focused on bringing extra specification to the Superb rather than any mechanical tweaks, very little has changed in the way it drives, which is no bad thing. It feels very planted and yet comfortable over most road surfaces, while avoiding feeling too wallowy.
The 1.6 TDI Greenline III model gets 15mm lower suspension to reduce aerodynamic drag, but this has the knock-on effect of making the Superb feel incredibly stable. Hit a bump mid-corner and the car refuses to be knocked off its line, giving you the confidence to drive it quickly if you wish.
Broken road surfaces don’t present the Superb with too much of a problem, and the ride is fairly well judged. You can feel the worst of the bumps and hear the compression of the suspension, and it jitters around a little at low speed, but it rounds off the sharp edges and longer crests very nicely.
On the move, road and wind noise are fairly well contained, only becoming noticeable over poor surfaces or at high speeds. However, the 1.6-litre engine, as in other VW Group applications, is not at all refined, sending noise into the cabin and vibrations through the controls regardless of speed.
The engine is fairly flexible around town though. With decent low-down shove once you're above 1750rpm, you can exploit gaps in urban traffic. Head onto faster roads and the Superb is less happy. Overtaking requires ample amounts of throttle and often a down-change, and the engine soon feels strained.
What’s the Skoda Superb 1.6 TDI Estate SE Business like inside?
As enormous as ever. Few cars offer as much space as the Superb Estate.
All passengers will have ample leg- and headroom, even if they are all over six feet tall, and the rear central seat is genuinely usable, even for adult passengers.
The boot is even more impressive. It’s vast, with 633 litres of space with the rear seats up and 1865 when they’re folded. It’s worth noting, though, that they don’t fold completely flat, meaning there’s a slight lip is you want to utilise the full length of the load bay.
Up front, the cabin is logically laid out, with simple climate controls and large shortcut buttons for the infotainment system, so they're easy to use without taking your eyes off the road.
The latter is especially straightforward, offering both touch-screen and physical controls and with really clear and easy-to-understand menus. The 5.0-inch infotainment display is a bit last-generation, and it is less slick than the screen in the Octavia, but is on a par with rivals such as the Volkswagen Passat.
Finding a driving position is easy thanks to plenty of adjustment in the seat and wheel, although some drivers may wish the steering wheel went a little lower.
Adjustable lumbar support also helps make the cabin a comfortable place in which to spend time. The Rolls-Royce-style umbrellas in the rear doors will unquestionably come in handy, too.
Should I buy one?
Skoda has aimed the Superb SE Business at the company car market for good reason.
It’s a shame you can only lease it as a company car from Skoda, as it's cheaper to buy than the SE, and will cost a very respectable £252 to lease as a Greenline saloon, or £279 as an Estate.
That considerably undercuts almost all of its rivals. Retail customers can also buy it and benefit from the added value - but can't get the £1500 finance contribution available on other trims in the range.
With its engine returning 65.7mpg on average, the Skoda Superb is only marginally less efficient than an equivalent Ford Mondeo. However, with higher CO2 emissions it sits in one category higher and will cost around £10 more per month to company car tax payers in the 40% bracket.
However if we were choosing an SE Business edition from the Skoda range, we'd go for the Octavia - it's cheaper still, nearly as roomy inside, more refined and its interior is of a better quality.
**What Car? says...
Skoda Superb Estate 1.6 TDI Greenline III