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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Skoda Superb Estate SportLine 2.0 TDI 190PS 4X4 DSG

Click to view picture gallery“Now a genuine ‘first choice for
  buyers not just after value-for-money
  but also for those who want a
  stylishly swish estate car; Skoda is
  definitely the go-to brand...”


ESTATE CARS, despite the ongoing attempts by crossovers and SUVs to muscle in on their territory, remain a number one choice for many drivers. Skoda's Superb can be had in either a saloon or estate body and it's the estate that we've been driving for the past week. And Yes, with it's sharp lifestyle looks it's as smart as any wagon from the likes of Mercedes and BMW.

These days, paying substantially more for a prestige badge on your estate's nose might buy you some extra bragging rights but it won't necessarily get you any more space, any more kit or any more practicality than you'll get with a Superb estate. As it happens, the Skoda offers plenty of all three — and often more of them for less money.

Looks-wise, the crisply-styled SportLine sits the blacktop with a reassuring can-do stance, fronted by the brand's hallmark ribbed grille and capped by a clamshell bonnet; sharp crease lines along the lithe flanks complement flat-cut wheelarches filled by standout black 19-inch alloy wheels. At the tail, wraparound LED rear lamps meld seamlessly with a sloping tailgate. Whatever angle you view it from, the refreshingly minimalist lines make the Superb estate a handsomely sporty machine.

Drivers who prefer
plenty of horses under
their bonnet to help out
with family duties
will no doubt be quick
to place the 187bhp
2.0-litre turbodiesel-
powered version
high on their
wish lists...”
Drivers who prefer plenty of horses under their bonnet to help out with family duties will no doubt be quick to place the 187bhp (190PS) 2.0-litre turbodiesel-powered version high on their wish lists (for the record, available power outputs range from 120 all the way to 280PS). The 190PS version reviewed here also comes with a sporty double-clutch DSG autobox and all-wheel drive along with Drive Select that offers five driving modes.

As you'd expect, 187bhp should ensure plenty of poke on demand — and it does: top speed is 142mph and it leaps off the line to clock 60mph is a persuasive 7.4 seconds. And you can thank the muscular 295lb ft of torque (and, of course, the on-demand all-wheel drive) for the grippy 'point-and-squirt' acceleration whenever you need it.

The SportLine's cabin is a cut-above, with an upscale ambiance enhanced by oodles of space including a fist of headroom, plenty of shoulder and elbow room and masses of legroom (taller front passengers can really stretch out); the dash, with carbon-effect inserts and tasteful chrome detailing (a welcome change to the premium satin chrome that's become a tad overused) is cleanly laid out and very user-friendly, while the well-bolstered dark grey Alcantara with silver diamond stitching sports-style heated seats are as comfy and supportive as they look. Long seat bases provide good under-knee and thigh support, while the bolstering both to the backrest and the seat base is spot-on.

And it doesn't end there for the driver, who additionally benefits from powered seat adjustment and electrically-adjustable lumbar support with a three-memory seat/mirror recall plus a tactile flat-bottomed perforated leather-wrapped 'super sport' steering wheel (also with silver diamond stitching matching the seats) with easily accessible paddle-shifters on the horizontal spokes and comprehensive multifunction controls.

The result is an A1 driving position boosted by first-rate visibility from behind the wheel. Another much appreciated 'plus' point are roomy footwells and an ally pedal set and breathing space for booted feet; height-adjustable belts add to the 'comfort' fit.

Centre-stage
of the fascia is a 9.2-inch
touchscreen display;
helped by direct menu
jump buttons around the
display, it’s a sweetie
to use for both navigation
and infotainment...”
Centre-stage of the fascia is a 9.2-inch touchscreen display; helped by direct menu jump buttons around the screen, it's a sweetie to use for both navigation and infotainment. Graphics too are very user-friendly, being crisp and clear with full postcode destination input. As you'd expect, there's also those essential SD slots, USB and Aux-in connections along with integrated WiFi plus straightforward smartphone connectivity (via MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto).

The Superb's efficient dual-zone climate system's controls are foolproof, the electric parking brake comes with a handy auto-hold function (that helpfully engages automatically whenever the ignition is switched off). Keyless entry, locking and start is also standard-fit. And to counter the unpredictable British weather, you'll find an umbrella stored in each front door!

Smart-looking über-clear dials are defined by grey outer bands and bright white needles, separated by the crisp and sharp graphics on the multifunction driver's display that shows comprehensive trip data, navigation prompts and, most importantly, a digital speed readout.

In-cabin storage for all that personal 'stuff' we tend to lug around is as generous as the seating for five, with triple cupholders in the wide central console plus an open bin ahead of a height-adjustable padded armrest big enough to share and that itself tops a long, large and cooled storage box, a 'bed' at the base of the centre stack for your smartphone (it also houses 12v power, Aux and USB sockets), capacious real-world bottle-holding door bins, a roomy lined-lit-damped (and also cooled) glovebox, and yet another big storage box out-of-sight under the front passenger seat.

Other sought-after cabin fittings include an Engine Start button, powered one-shot up/down windows, automatic drive-away door locking, and on-demand powerfolding heated door mirrors (auto on locking and leaving) with memory function. More nice touches include a rear wash-wipe that cleans the rear parking camera lens at the same time it does the back screen and Skoda's Care Connect for emergency breakdown and SOS calls.

The rear cabin is airy
and an inviting place to
chill while still affording
a VIP degree of privacy
courtesy of
dark-tinted glass from
the B-pillars back.
And while two’s
definitely convivial
company in the back
of a Superb,
three
s never a crowd!”
Safety equipment obviously includes the automatically on demand 4WD system plus seven airbags (including one for the driver's knees), all-round park assist ([both visual and audible), Bi-xenon headlights with an adaptive front light system and LED daytime running lights, electronic stability control, Front Assist with auto braking backed up by a post-collision braking system, speed limiter, 'follow-to-a-stop' Adaptive Cruise Control, headlight washers, LED rear lights, and a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Measuring 4.8 metres from nose to tail the Superb estate's large back doors make for easy entry to the rear passenger compartment. Sink back into either of the large, supportive seats either side of the big, padded centre armrest (with built-in cupholders) and matching outer armrests and you'll be amazed at the amount of space on offer.

The backrests are tilted at a very comfortable angle, there's a fist of air between the crown of your head and the roof, plus masses of limo-like foot-room and legroom; six-footers can stretch their legs even if the driver or front passenger is as tall as they are.

With plenty of storage and rear air vents with temperature control, the airy rear cabin is an inviting place to chill while still affording a VIP degree of privacy courtesy of dark-tinted glass from the B-pillars back. While two's definitely convivial company in the back of a Superb, three's never a crowd!

The USP for estates is their dual-use versatility — in the Superb's case that means either carrying five people in comfort with a generous 660 litres for their luggage or switching to full-on cargo mode by dropping the 60:40-split back seats to create a huge 1,950-litre loadbay with a seamless and flat floor and a low load-height that beats not only its in-sector rivals but also cars from the class above. Reassuring to know that if you're ever locked out of your home, you could always spend the night in this Skoda estate!

A powered 'fifth door' is another desirable feature and the Superb's tailgate can be opened from the driver's seat or via the key fob; auto-closing is speedy and triggered either by touching the tailgate button or using the fob.

Officially the 142mph
SportLine manages
53.3mpg in the Combined
Cycle
in real-life we
recorded a healthy
44.4mpg (particularly
impressive given that we
were making good use of
the power and handling
as well as carrying full
loads of cargo).
The average Superb
owner is likely to better
our test results,
especially if they choose
to select the
Eco drive setting...”
Oftentimes, where a car's boot light is situated is not where you need some illumination — no problem; along with two fixed lights you'll find a self-charging removable LED flashlight holstered on the side boot panel. Adding to the Superb's load-lugging flexibility is its large load-through hatch.

The two-stage roller luggage blind works smoothly and there are four sturdy pop-out bag hooks for the weekly shop along with some especially useful repositionable 'stays' with Velcro-covered bases to keep individual stand-alone items from sliding. Finally, even if you're travelling with all the seats occupied, you can always tow — as much as a braked 2,200kg.

The Superb line-up offers a range of petrol and diesel powerplants starting at 123bhp and topping out with a full-house 280bhp. Six and seven-speed dual-clutch DSG gearboxes are available along with a six-speed manual. Mated to a six-speed DSG auto, the 187bhp/295lb ft turbodiesel under the 4x4 SportLine's bonnet doesn't need much pressure from your right foot to trigger surging acceleration.

A wide band of peak torque supplies plenty of va-va-voom, served up effortlessly on congested blacktop and with satisfying fluency when pressing on along challenging A- and B-roads. Keen drivers, located snugly in the sports-style seat, will enjoy being in the driving seat even more when taking charge of the shift points via the wheel-mounted paddle-shifters.

Officially the 142mph SportLine manages 53.3mpg in the Combined Cycle; in real-life press-on driving we recorded a healthy 44.4mpg (particularly impressive given that we were making good use of the power and handling as well as carrying full loads of cargo). No doubt that the average Superb owner is likely to better our test results, especially if they choose to select the Eco driving setting — other choices are a cushioning Comfort mode, a satisfyingly keen and responsive Sport (further enhanced by the optional £750 Dynamic Chassis Control) along with driver-programmable Individual meaning there's something exactly right for whatever driving style you're into.

Given that it can find itself performing with from one to five people and/or a full load of cargo, the Superb needs to handle predictably and confidently in every eventuality — and it does. Backed up by the four-wheel drive you can press on in safety whatever and whoever is aboard. The accurate steering gives enough feedback for the driver to place it without a second thought in every situation from wind-blown motorways to breezing down back lanes and superstore parking.

The Superb estate is one of those rare cars that you can get into for the very first time and drive it as hard and as fast as you must without any second thoughts — point the nose and the rest follows faithfully, staying true to your chosen line...”
And, full or empty, the Superb gets down the road pretty smartly with strong grip making sure not a drop of its 295lb ft of torque is wasted. And when the weather turns dark, be it windy, wet or ice and snow, the Superb just stays calm and carries on.

The Superb estate is one of those rare cars that you can get into for the very first time and drive it as hard and as fast as you must without any second thoughts — point the nose and the rest follows faithfully, staying true to your chosen line.

Given their range of possible tasks, many estates tend to have stiffer suspension and a firmer ride than you'd ultimately like, particularly when running lightly laden. The Superb's ace in the hole is that however light or heavy the payload, the ride remains both supple and comfortable. All of which makes it a fine long-distance express — not that you'll hear any grumbling from your front or rear passengers even around the houses or covering urban blacktop.

In kit-rich SportLine spec the handsome and roomy multipurpose Superb wagon not only gives you plenty of real estate for your money, but it's also fast, grippy and enjoyable to drive. A superb estate! ~ MotorBar
.
Skoda Superb Estate SportLine 2.0 TDI 190PS 4X4 DSG | £35,820
Maximum speed: 142mph | 0-60mph: 7.4 seconds | Test Average: 44.4mpg
Power: 187bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2: 139g/km

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