Skoda Superb 2.0 TSI 272 2019 Road Test

You don't buy a Skoda Superb if you want to be seen with the latest, most stylish car. That's perhaps why, rather than a dramatic mid-life facelift, Skoda has given the Superb the most minor of updates for 2019. It remains one of the best cars in its class, offering exceptional value for money - and, if the current anti-diesel resentment encourages more buyers to opt for this 272PS petrol range-topper, that can only be a good thing.

So, let's start with the engine. It's the same 2.0-litre TSI petrol as used in other sporty Volkswagen Group models from the Golf R to the Cupra Ateca. Power has been dropped to 272PS (from 280PS) for the latest Superb, but there's a reason why it's the unmarked traffic police's engine of choice. 

It may not be as dramatic as it is in hot Volkswagen Group alternatives, but it's very swift. There's the usual brief pause from the DSG gearbox as you floor the throttle, but the Superb soon wakes up and surges forward faster than you can say "cops and robbers". Four-wheel-drive is standard on the 272, meaning there's a huge amount of traction available even in slippery conditions.

Under normal driving, the 2.0-litre petrol is very quiet and refined. There's very little wind or road noise filtering through into the cabin, and the engine itself only becomes vocal when you're heavy with the accelerator or select the sport driving mode.

Superb Interior

For many drivers, there are other engines available which will be more affordable to buy and cheaper to run. The 1.5-litre will be the sensible choice for petrol buyers - although Skoda hasn't confirmed a fix for its hesitation issues - while the 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre TDI diesels are both very refined and very efficient. Ideal for high-mileage business users.

No matter which engine you opt for, one thing the Superb does exceptionally well is tackle bumpy roads. Top-spec Laurin and Klement models come with adaptive dampers allowing you to firm up the suspension when required, but the standard set-up is very good. It happily soaks up uneven surfaces, meaning only the most severe of potholes cause discomfort in the cabin. If anything, the ride's a smidgen on the floaty side, potentially an issue for those who suffer from car sickness.

Another downside of the soft suspension is that the Superb is not the most agile of cars, but that suits its nature. It will roll a bit in the bends during fast cornering and feels nose-heavy on twisty roads, but its steering is well-judged and provides plenty of assurance. Enthusiastic drivers will be better opting for a BMW 3 Series, but most Superb buyers aren't going to be disappointed in the driving stakes.

Cosmetically, you'll struggle to spot the difference between the old Superb and the new one. An updated front bumper means the Superb is now 8mm longer than before, while the LED head and tail lights have been updated. Oh, and you'll now find fancy Skoda lettering across the tailgate in place of a conventional badge. Fancy.

Skoda Superb (6) (1)

If you think Skoda was saving its biggest changes to the Superb's cabin, you'd be wrong. The most noticeable upgrade is the introduction of a slick digital instrument cluster in place of conventional dials, while further updates include chrome highlights and updated seat covers. There's nothing ground-breaking inside, but there's also nothing wrong with it.

As before, it's massively spacious. Aside from a lump in the floor between the rear seats, three adults could comfortably sit in the back of the Superb, with generous head and legroom and good visibility out of the side windows. There's plenty of storage, including big door pockets, and cup holders in the centre armrest. With 625 litres of luggage space in the hatch, don't assume you'll need an estate if practicality is high on your agenda - the boot really is cavernous. 

Things are just as good up front. It feels every bit as upmarket as the mechanically similar Volkswagen Passat. Lots of adjustment in the seats and steering wheel means most drivers will be able to get very comfortable.

While the changes to the Superb might not be dramatic, it remains our favourite large family car on the market. There's an engine to suit every purpose (including a plug-in hybrid on its way) and it's a hugely practical choice with an interior that belies its price. The Superb continues to live up to its name.

The new Skoda Superb is on sale now with UK deliveries expected in autumn. Prices start at £24,655.

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