Parkers overall rating: 4.6 out of 5 4.6
  • An impressive range of petrol and diesel engines
  • Most powerful 272hp version is a 155mph car
  • Plug-in hybrid added in 2020

As with its hatchback counterpart, a range of engines provide the performance, ranging from adequate to surprisingly brisk.

Three diesel options 

Most Skoda Superb estates sold in Britain will arrive fitted with a diesel motor, offering greater fuel efficiency over longer journeys. Entry-level diesels feature a 1.6-litre TDI motor, producing 120hp, with 250Nm of torque available from 1,500rpm. Coming with a seven-speed DSG only, it'll reach 122mph and completes the 0-62mph sprint in 11.3 seconds.

A 150hp 2.0-litre TDI has been available throughout the Superb's life - and has been the most popular choice with buyers. In 2019 the engine was replaced with another 2.0-litre TDI with 150hp, but with an Evo designation meaning that it can shut down two of its four cylinders. 

The most powerful diesel is a 190hp unit, coming solely with a DSG transmission. In front-wheel drive form it'll get from 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds, and then on to a top speed of 142mph. Go for the 4x4 version of this car and the 0-62mph time drops to 8.1 seconds, with top speed falling to 138mph. 

This engine is a great fit in the large Superb, thanks in most part to its 400Nm of torque on offer. It makes incredibly light work of long journeys on the motorway, and it works well with the DSG transmission. At times it can be hesitant, but you learn to work with it, and driving mode options allow you to make the car more responsive if you wish. There's a bit of diesel drone at times, but most of the time it's all very hushed and refined. 

And three petrols

In a segment where diesels traditionally significantly out-sell petrols, it’s surprising to find three options fuelled by unleaded. Kicking things off is a 1.5-litre TSI with 150hp and 250Nm of torque. The only engine available with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes, it's a quiet and refined engine that will suit lower-mileage drivers. It's smooth for the most part in the Superb, but can feel a little slow to get going at times. Once the revs rise, it can feel much perkier, but also a bit noisier. The 0-62mph dash takes 9.1 seconds, while top speed is 130mph. 

Next in the range is a 2.0 TSI 190hp that has replaced the older 220hp unit. It's smoother and quieter than it is in the equivalent Passat, and is actually very relaxing. However, it's in an odd middle ground between the 1.5 TSI and the stronger diesels, so it's slightly more difficult to recommend on paper. Still, a 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds makes it surprisingly perky, and the standard-fit DSG transmission works well. 

Topping the performance chart – and bottoming the efficiency rankings – is the 272hp edition of the 2.0-litre TSI, complete with 4x4. Torque’s is 350Nm (30Nm more than the 190) but available at a slightly headier 1,700rpm. This Superb will reach 155mph and dart from a standstill to 62mph in a sports car-like 5.8 seconds, but economy drops to around 30mpg.

Plug-in hybrid from 2020

Joining the range early in 2020 is a plug-in hybrid version of the Superb called the iV. It uses a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine in combination with a battery and electric motor for a total system output of 218hp. 

The electric motor affords it an all-electric driving range of around 34 miles, and charging it up takes around three to four hours from a wallbox or public charging station. As with the Volkswagen Passat GTE, the Superb iV switches between EV and Hybrid power smoothly, and starts up in E-mode. It's especially effective around town where it's smooth and silent, but the engine kicks in quietly when more power is needed. 

A choice of driving modes lets you prioritise power or efficiency, and you can adjust the level of regenerative braking via the gearlever. If you want to top up the battery using the engine, there's a mode for that. We found that leaving the car in Hybrid mode with the usual Comfort settings to be the most effective for the Superb. That way it retains its refined and comfy nature, but also leaves it to its own devices to work out which is the best way to operate in balancing whether it uses battery or engine power. Or both. 

Engines no longer available

To start with, the Superb range started with a 1.4-litre TSI in 125hp guise, producing 200Nm of torque from just 1,400rpm. It’s not sluggish either, the manual transmission-only model reaching 128mph with 0-62mph completed in 10 seconds flat. Skoda claims an average of 52.3mpg with a CO2 output of 126g/km.

Next up were a pair of 150hp editions of the same 1.4-litre TSI, either with a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed DSG automatic. Torque’s increased to a more useful 250Nm but that peak flow doesn’t arrive until 1,500rpm.

Not only is performance better with the higher output engine – top speeds of 135mph for both gearboxes, the manual being 0.2 seconds quicker from 0-62mph at 8.7 seconds, efficiency is superior too, thanks to Active Cylinder Technology (ACT) shutting down two of the cylinders when the engine’s running at less than full load. Official figures have the manual and DSG at 55.4, with CO2 rated at 119g/km for both.

Topping the petrol line-up were a pair of 2.0 TSIs, with a choice of 220hp and 280hp outputs. The latter was detuned for WLTP and the former was replaced by the 190hp TSI.

How does it handle?

  • Great comfort if you avoid Sportline models on 19in wheels
  • Accurate and tidy handling, but lacking in body control
  • It's set-up for cruising rather than the race track, as you'd expect

If you want your commodious wagon to feel comfortable and assured then the Skoda Superb estate is a natural choice for it has those qualities in spades. Those hoping for something engaging, along the lines of its premium rivals such as the BMW 5 Series Touring or Jaguar XF Sportbrake, are likely to be disappointed with the dynamics, if not the space.

Under the Superb’s skin is an enlarged version of the underpinnings that support a huge number of Volkswagen Golf derivatives, including the Skoda Octavia Estate. While the Superb feels more upmarket than it’s sibling, it’s unlikely to be a car you take out purely for the joy of driving.

Choose your Superb Estate in SE Technology trim (or above) and you’ll benefit from the Drive Mode Select function. Not only will it affect the throttle application and steering, even the air-con and dynamic lighting patterns alter, too. That range-topping L&K also comes with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) as standard (as do all iV plug-in models), while Sportline models feature lowered sports chassis. All other models except entry-level S cars can be specified with this at extra cost.

There’s a noticeable difference, particularly with the suspension settings, but in most instances the Superb estate felt at its best in Normal mode. The firmness of Sport felt at odds with the Skoda’s comfortable-bias, whereas Comfort itself felt a tad too soft, allowing the large body to wallow over heavily undulated surfaces.

It’s a similar situation with the steering, the weighting of which felt either too light or heavy without increasing or decreasing the amount of ‘feel’ transmitted through to the driver’s hands. That said, the Superb estate does hang on gamely around bends, benefitting from the electronic differential to maintain tight lines around corners. You really do have to push the big Skoda hard before its front tyres complain and begin to push you wide into understeer.