This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Skoda Superb Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

There's a wide range of petrol and diesel options when exploring Skoda Superb performance credentials.

Petrol engines

The entry-level engine is an astonishingly small 1.4-litre petrol (only available in S trim), however, this is no ordinary 1.4-litre - it’s far more impressive than it sounds thanks to the fact it’s turbocharged to deliver the kind of performance you’d normally expect from a 1.6 or 1.8-litre, while maintaining fuel consumption and keeping emissions low.

It provides 125bhp and propels the Superb from 0-62mph in an impressive 10.5 seconds, yet will still return around 42mpg.

The 160bhp 1.8 TSI also uses a turbo and is quicker still, getting to 62mph in 8.6 seconds, making it one of the best engines in the line-up.

Highest power petrol is a 3.6-litre V6 with 260bhp and a top speed of 155mph - it’s fast too, with a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds. It comes with four-wheel drive as standard but Skoda admits that this model is designed to showcase the new upmarket image of the car and will only sell in small numbers.

Diesel engines

There are three diesels to choose from - a 105bhp 1.9 TDI, a 2.0 TDI PD with 140bhp plus a newer 170bhp common rail 2.0 TDI.

The 1.9 TDI has the best fuel economy (50mpg) but it's dated and feels coarse. The low emissions Greenline version of the Superb also uses this engine but thanks to weight saving, longer gearing and low resistance tyres, emits 136g/km of CO2 (compared to 150g/km in the standard model) and returns 55mpg.

This model was updated in 2011, with a 1.6-litre diesel engine and a new Greenline II designation, and now offers a claimed economy of 64mpg and emissions of 114g/km of CO2.

The 1.6 engine is smooth and refined but obviously not as potent as its bigger brothers - 0-62mph takes 12.5 seconds.

The 140bhp 2.0-litre is more refined than the 1.9-litre but can still be quite vocal at high revs, however it offers a good blend of in-gear punch and efficiency, averaging 48mpg.

In early 2010 it was replaced by a more refined and advanced common rail engine (size and power remains the same) which helps economy improve to 52mpg. The best engine is the newer 2.0-litre TDI with 170bhp. This common rail unit is smooth, quiet and refined - so much so that it's easy to forget that you're driving a diesel while it offers strong, meaty performance with immense pulling power and a 0-62mph time of 8.8 seconds.

All cars come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard which offers precise changes - the only exception is the 1.9 TDI which has a five-speed. A six-speed DSG automatic gearbox is optional on the 3.6 petrol, 2.0 TDI 140 and 2.0 TDI 170, complete with Tiptronic gear changing. It uses two clutches to make gearshifts faster than the blink of an eye and incredibly smooth too. The 1.8 TSI is offered with a seven-speed version of the same system.

The Superb is almost five metres long but it's only in town that the size becomes apparent, when nipping in and out of traffic or attempting a three-point turn can be an issue.

This, combined with limited rear visibility (not helped by the narrow rear window), means the Superb can feel a little awkward when manoeuvring.

It's far happier on faster A-roads and motorways where - thanks to the composed ride, low noise levels and supportive seats - it makes a supremely competent long distance cruiser.

On more demanding roads it's reassuring with precise steering and well-controlled body-roll, plus there's good levels of grip.

Buyers daunted by parking a larger car (or who like gadgets) can specify ‘Park Assist'. This uses sensors to locate a parking space and when instructed, remove your hands from the steering wheel, control the speed of the manoeuvre and the Superb will automatically park in the selected space.

The 1.8 TSI, 3.6 V6 and 2.0 TDI 170 models are available with four-wheel drive (it's standard on the V6 petrol). Greenline versions benefit from slightly lower suspension, which reduces bodyroll marginally and makes the car more comfortable when driving across country.