Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
If you fancy a petrol engine, the Skoda Superb Estate's entry-level 148bhp 1.5 TSI 150 is surprisingly punchy and gutsy enough to cope with a car of this size. It’ll hit 0-62mph in around 9.0sec, which is respectable. Need more power? Then go for the 187bhp 2.0 TSI 190, which is effortlessly quick, or the range-topping 276bhp 2.0 TSI 280. This wolf in sheep’s clothing hits 62mph from rest in just 5.3sec and is a legitimate rival on pace to the M340i version of the BMW 3 Series Touring.
However, the 148bhp 2.0 TDI 150 diesel is our pick of the range. Why's that? Well, flat-out it’s pokey but not rapid (0-62mph is a decent 9.2sec but that's a little slower than the Audi A4 Avant 35 TDI) yet, for a large estate car that’s likely to carry heavy loads or tow, nothing beats a diesel’s low-down grunt. You simply don't have to work it as hard as a petrol to make handsome progress. In fact, it’s so good that you don't need to pay the extra for the 197bhp 2.0 TDI 200 diesel, unless you really must have its extra welly.
Suspension and ride comfort
While the Superb Estate doesn't dwell with the A4 Avant among the best-riding cars in the class, it’s as supple as the Volkswagen Passat Estate and softer than the 3 Series Touring. If you want to put comfort first, stick to the smallest 17in alloy wheels that come with the lower trims. That said, even the Sportline Plus trim, with its big 19in alloy wheels and stiffer suspension settings, is hardly crude.
The regular trims on their standard suspension soak up large speed bumps and expansion joints with ease and settle down nicely on a motorway cruise. Because the set-up is quite soft, the Superb is prone to feeling floaty on undulating country roads (less so the stiffer Sportline Plus trim) but it can bash over nasty potholes, in the same way the Mazda 6 Tourer does.
When it comes to engine noise, the Superb’s range is quiet, with a distant hum at most, even under acceleration and at motorway speeds. Again, though, the A4 Avant is even quieter. The exception to this rule is the plug-in Superb PHEV iV, which is super-quiet when it's running on electric power alone.
The six-speed manual gearbox is slick and the clutch action is positive, making the Superb easy to drive smoothly. The dual-clutch automatic gearbox (it’s either optional or standard depending on the engine you go for) can be jerky in stop-start traffic and when you're edging into a parking space. It’s smooth the rest of the time, though, and often benefits from having the start-stop system switched off.