Review: Skoda Superb (2008 – 2015)
Limousine-like amounts of rear legroom. Clever dual tailgate means it's both a hatch and a saloon. GreenLine model is very economical. A lot of car for the money.
Earlier 1.9 TDI engine is noisy and lacks refinement. No rear wiper. Usual hesitation from DSG. Columbus navigation prone to failure after about four years.
Skoda Superb (2008 – 2015): At A Glance
If you still have any preconceived ideas about the Skoda brand be prepared to change them. Because the Superb finally dispels all those old myths and shows that it's possible to find a car that's well built, incredibly spacious and good to drive, but still great value for money.
The Superb has as much rear space as four-door saloons that cost three times as much while the quality feel of the interior adds to the premium car feel. Yet with prices starting at less than £20,000, it almost seems too good to be true. But there's no catch. This is simply one of the most compelling cars on the market today and a model that does everything right and very little wrong.
There's a good choice of engines including the usual 2.0 TDI options while the GreenLine variant is powered by a 1.6 TDI which works surprisingly well considering its small size and returns a claimed 64.2mpg with CO2 emissions of just 119g/km. There are also 4x4 versions plus the option of DSG automatics. On the road the Superb handles very well with nicely weighted steering and good poise in corners.
The Superb also comes with the clever Twindoor feature - standard on all models. It means the tailgate of the Superb can open as a standard boot or, with the push if a different button, it opens as a hatchback giving it great practicality if needed. This also gives great access to the huge boot while other highlights inside include the now famous umbrella holder in the left-hand rear door on SE and Elegance models.
What does a Skoda Superb (2008 – 2015) cost?
Skoda Superb (2008 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?
The Superb is easily the most upmarket model Skoda has ever built. Don't think this is merely a Passat in a posh suit, it uses a tailor-made chassis for starters and has its own unique interior that feels well finished and well built. The layout of the dash is straightforward with the air conditioning and stereo controls easy to use. The instrument dials are the traditional analogue type while in between the large speedo and rev counter there's a trip computer display.
There's plenty of seat adjustment for the driver plus the steering column has an impressive amount of reach and height adjustment, so no matter how tall or short you are, finding a good driving position is easy. The steering wheel is nice to hold and all the switches work with a satisfying robustness. It's classy too and at night you can appreciate the CatVision lighting system that incorporates LEDs in the headlining that bathe the interior in a soft white light.
But the real standout point of the Superb is the limousine-level of space it offers. It has even more passenger room than the previous Superb, despite having a shorter wheelbase, so in the back there's more legroom than you'd get in business class. It's mightily impressive and even six-footers plus will be amazed and how much space there is while there's loads of head room too. There are very few cars that have more rear space and certainly none that are as affordable as the Superb.
It also has the now famous umbrella holder. Standard on SE and Elegance models, this is a water-resistant storage slot hidden in the left hand rear door. It comes complete with a nice Skoda branded umbrella (one that you'd actually be happy to use without feeling embarrassed) coated with a special anti-mould solution.
The Twindoor variable boot is another clever feature. It means you can open the boot of the Superb like a standard saloon, or alternatively the whole thing lifts like a hatchback. It may sound like a gimmick (why not just have a hatchback opening as standard) but it's actually very useful. While the full hatchback opening gives easy access to the large boot, if you're in a tight parking space or low-roofed multi-storey car park, just being able to open the saloon boot is far easier. Plus, if the boot is opened on a very hot or cold day, the passenger compartment is effectively insulated from any sudden changes in temperature, unlike a hatchback.
The boot is enormous with 565 litres of luggage space - about the same as a BMW 5 Series Touring - plus if you go for the optional Variable Boot Floor, there's extra luggage room underneath the boot floor for smaller items (ideal for carrying a tow rope). Folding the seats down sees space increase to 1670 litres which is on oar with most large estates.
Standard equipment from launch (September 2008):
S models have seven airbag, an alarm with interior monitoring, light Assistant (coming home, tunnel and daylight functions), split folding rear seats, remote central locking, Climatic air conditioning, radio with single CD, rlectric front and rear windows, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, 16-inch ‘Spectrum' alloy wheels, ESP, Twindoor plus front fog lights.
SE adds front fog lights with cornering function, a four-spoke leather multi-function steering wheel, umbrella in the rear door, Alcantara upholstery, rear parking sensors, cruise control, dual-zone air conditioning, 17-inch ‘Trifid' alloy wheels, electrically folding door mirrors, integrated six CD touchscreen stereo and a trip computer.
SE Plus (introduced in May 2011) adds Amundsen touch-screen satellite navigation system, Bluetooth, a multi-function steering wheel, sunset privacy glass and Media Device Interface (MDI) with connecting cable.
Elegance models have xenon headlights with integrated headlight washers, AFS (Adaptive Front-light System), tyre pressure monitor, rain sensor windscreen wipers, Bluetooth, heated front seats, full leather upholstery, electrically adjustable diver and passenger seats, ‘Colombus' colour touchscreen satellite navigation, 18-inch ‘Themisto' alloy wheels, four spoke leather multi-function steering wheel,
Greenline models are based on the S but come with 16-inch 'Spectrum' alloys, chrome window surrounds, cruise control, lowered suspension (by 15mm), four-spoke leather steering wheel, small leather pack, a small rear boot spoiler, umbrella in the rear door and a tyre repair kit (rather than a spare wheel).
Child seats that fit a Skoda Superb (2008 – 2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Skoda Superb (2008 – 2015) like to drive?
There are three petrol and three diesel engines in the Superb line-up but most people go for the mid-level 2.0 TDI with 140PS. This was originally an older PD (which stands for Pumpe Duse if you're at all interested) but in February 2010 it was replaced with a smoother and more efficient 2.0 TDI CR (common rail) engine. The original PD version was a strong engine and economical, returning an official 47.9mpg but the CR unit is a big improvement.
It's quieter with less noticeable vibration inside and the power delivery is far smoother too. Unlike the PD, where there was often a big lag at low revs before all the torque suddenly came on tap, the 2.0 TDI CR is much more predictable and picks up power smoothly. It has the same power and torque (320Nm) figures but is cleaner with a claimed economy figure of 52.3mpg while CO2 drops from 155g/km to 143g/km.
The top diesel is the 2.0 TDI CR but with 170PS and 350Nm of torque. It's the best engine in the Superb for everyday useable performance with a 0-62mph time of 8.8 seconds and has plenty of low down grunt for effortless overtaking. It's as quiet as the 140PS version and still economical, averaging around 50mpg according to the official figures.
Both 2.0 TDI engines are available with the DSG automatic gearbox as an optional extra (along with the 1.8 TSI), which uses two clutches to deliver lightning quick gear shifts, but it can be a little hesitant at lower speeds and sometimes needs some encouragement from your right foot to get going. Not ideal at junctions or roundabouts.
Originally the entry-level diesel was the 1.9 TDI - a diesel engine that's been used across the Volkswagen Group for years now. It's a pretty noisy and unrefined engines by modern standards and so it's surprising that Skoda fitted it in the more luxurious Superb. It certainly doesn't go with the 'quality' image. It is reasonably economical with a claimed average of 49.6mpg but it lacks sophistication so it was no surprise when it was replaced in August 2010 by a far better 1.6 TDI which is a common rail unit rather than a PD.
The 1.6 TDI has the same 105PS power output as the old 1.9 TDI and an identical 250Nm of torque, although it peaks lower down the rev range. The 0-62mph time is the same 12.5 seconds but the significant differences are in fuel economy - the 1.6 TDI returning 56.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 130g/km.
This engine is also used in the GreenLine II model (the 1.9 TDI was used for the original GreenLine). It may not look particularly stylish with its smaller wheels, but the changes Skoda has made have a big impact. Thanks to features like low rolling resistance tyres, a lower ride height and revised aerodynamics it is capable of a claimed 64.2mpg with CO2 emissions of just 114g/km. It's a surprisingly good performer too with decent get up and go, strong in gear acceleration plus it's pretty quiet.
The petrol line up starts with the 1.4 TSI engine which sounds far too small for a car the size of the Superb. However, it's fitted with a turbocharger and is actually more powerful and quicker than the 2.0-litre petrol in the old Superb. There's 125PS on tap along with 200Nm of torque and it works surprisingly well. For more power there is the 1.8 TSI which has 160PS but is quite thirsty with an official economy of 37.2mpg - and considerably less if you put your foot down.
It was improved in May 2011 and although power drops marginally to 152PS it's as quick from 0-62mph - taking 8.6 seconds - plus economy improves to 39.2mpg. The top engine is the 3.6-litre V6 - the largest engine fitted in a modern day Skoda. It's not an obvious choice and rare on the used market but it does give the Superb a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds which is a record for a Skoda production car. It develops 260bhp and is wonderfully smooth with a nice V6 sound. But 28mpg and emissions of 235g/km means it's not the most sensible of choices.
On the road the Superb is a great performer. It corners neatly - perfectly flat with decent steering feel and even if you go for larger alloy wheels and low profile tyres the ride isn't too firm. It's quiet too (aside from the earlier 1.9 TDI engine) and at motorway speeds feels very much the relaxed luxury saloon. For long journeys there is no car finer. Rain does show up one weakness of the Superb though. The twindoor rear hatch has no wiper, so seeing behind can be like peering through a shower curtain.
Certain models are available with four-wheel drive - a real rarity in this market. The 1.8 TSI along with the 2.0 TDI 140PS and 2.0 TDI 170PS can all be specified as 4x4 versions (the 3.6 model comes with four-wheel drive as standard) which is a great advantage in snowy and icy conditions.
If you don't need the rugged look or extra ground clearance, but want the extra ability of a 4x4, these are ideal. They look identical to the standard models and aren't just for towing caravans or horseboxes either. In terms of handing the four-wheel drive makes a considerable difference. As well as the obvious advantages of extra traction, for instance when pulling out of a junction in the wet or when driving over compacted snow, four-wheel drive has benefits for handling too.
On a specially constructed low friction circuit, we were able to to compare driving a 4x4 Superb with an identically engined 2WD drive version. Not only does the 4x4 feel much more composed, but you don't need as much steering input in corners and it puts down its power much more smoothly, without the front wheels scrabbling for grip. But the biggest difference is the speed. The 4x4 Superb is considerably quicker round the course and gives you more confidence in bends.
In terms of cost, opting for a 4x4 Superb carries around a £1500 premium and there is an obvious impact on fuel economyand CO2 emissions, although it's not huge, as the Haldex clutch only sends drive to the rear wheels when it's needed. So, for example on a Superb 2.0 TDI 140bhp manual, choosing the 4x4 model means a only 4mpg less and an increase in CO2 emissions from 149g/km to 163gkm (moving it from VED Band F to G and making it £30 a year more to tax).
|1.4 TSI||42–48 mpg||10.5 s||138–157 g/km|
|1.6 TDI||57–63 mpg||12.1–12.5 s||117–130 g/km|
|1.6 TDI Greenline||67 mpg||12.2 s||109 g/km|
|1.6 TDI Greenline II||64 mpg||12.5 s||114 g/km|
|1.8 TSI||39–42 mpg||8.2–8.6 s||158–169 g/km|
|1.8 TSI 4x4||35 mpg||8.7 s||189 g/km|
|1.8 TSI DSG||40–42 mpg||8.2–8.5 s||162–168 g/km|
|1.9 TDI||50 mpg||12.5 s||149 g/km|
|1.9 TDI Greenline||58 mpg||12.5 s||129 g/km|
|2.0 CR TDI 170||50 mpg||8.8 s||149 g/km|
|2.0 CR TDI 170 DSG||47 mpg||8.8 s||157 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 140||61 mpg||10.0 s||119 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 140 4x4 DSG||53 mpg||10.3 s||137 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 140 DSG||54 mpg||10.1 s||135 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 170||61 mpg||8.6 s||120 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 170 4x4||50 mpg||8.7 s||147 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 170 DSG||53 mpg||8.6 s||139 g/km|
|2.0 TDI CR||50 mpg||8.8 s||149 g/km|
|2.0 TDI CR 140||52 mpg||10.1 s||143 g/km|
|2.0 TDI CR 140 4x4 DSG||46 mpg||10.7 s||162 g/km|
|2.0 TDI CR 140 DSG||48 mpg||10.2 s||154 g/km|
|2.0 TDI CR 170||50 mpg||8.8 s||149 g/km|
|2.0 TDI CR 170 4x4||46 mpg||9.0 s||163 g/km|
|2.0 TDI CR 170 DSG||47 mpg||8.8 s||157 g/km|
|2.0 TDI CR 4x4||46 mpg||9.0 s||163 g/km|
|2.0 TDI CR 4x4 DSG||46 mpg||10.7 s||162 g/km|
|2.0 TDI CR DSG||47 mpg||8.8 s||157 g/km|
|2.0 TDI PD||42–48 mpg||10.2 s||155–177 g/km|
|2.0 TFSI DSG||36 mpg||7.8 s||178 g/km|
|3.6 V6 4x4||28–30 mpg||6.4–6.5 s||215–235 g/km|
|3.6 V6 4x4 DSG||28 mpg||6.5 s||235 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Skoda Superb (2008 – 2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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