Skoda Superb Estate gets a sporty new look and remains a firm favourite for those looking for huge carrying capacity

THE Skoda Superb Estate was always great value as well as an excellent load-lugger which made it popular with everyone from cab drivers to campers as well as those families who prefer plenty of space for their offspring. So, the new Superb Estate – at  23mm longer and 47mm wider – should prove to be an even bigger hit with mum and dad as well as the kids.

The new Skoda Superb Estate is also much better-looking – losing some of the dopey-looking drabness of the earlier models and gaining a whole lot of kerb-appeal. The sharp, swept-back headlights and large, open front grill give this Mk.3 Superb a much more aggressive look and in profile the Superb Estate looks rather sporty with that swooping roofline and deep rear bumper. Looking sporty is no mean feat for such a large vehicle – and the Superb Estate is seriously on the large side, being longer than both the standard BMW 5-series Touring and the Audi A4 Avant and only a little shorter than the Audi A6 Avant.

The Skoda Superb Estate is available in 6 different trim levels – starting at £21,330 for the S model with a 1.4 TSI petrol engine and rising to £36,460 for the Laurin & Klement model with a 190PS TDI engine, DSG gearbox and 4-wheel-drive.

I’ve been driving the Sportline model which sits just below the range-topping Laurin & Klement and I must say it looks the part with twin chromed exhausts set in a deep rear diffuser and 19in Supernova alloy wheels (£246 option). Gloss black trim around windows and a gloss black spoiler add to its appeal.

Inside is no disappointment either with lovely Alcantara upholstery stitched in contrasting silver. The 3-spoke ‘Super Sport’ multi-function steering wheel also looks and feels very good and just like the DSG gear lever is also leather bound.

The dash is immediately familiar to anyone who has owned a Volkswagen or Skoda in recent years with its logical layout and ease of use with the centre dash being dominated by an 9.2in infotainment screen which sits just above the controls for the dual-zone air con and heating buttons.

All Sportline models come with Columbus Navigation with 3D maps and also include WiFi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is also an electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory function and lumber support, LED ambient lighting (10 colours) and Keyless entry.

However, front and rear parking sensors will cost you an extra £350 and heated seats another £250, which sounds reasonable – but £550 for an electrically operated, hands-free boot? If my hands were full, I’d sooner put something down . . .

While the plastic materials and switches are not up to Jaguar or Audi standard, they ain’t half bad and you won’t have cause for complaint – especially when you look behind you at the space available in the rear of the cabin. Leg room is generous, even for those over 6-foot,  and beats the Jaguar XF with perhaps only the new  Mercedes E-Class coming close.

There are some ‘Simply Clever’ features I really liked too – the ice-scraper tucked into the fuel flap, the detachable boot light/torch and the umbrellas slid neatly into both front doors.

Boot space, as you would expect, is, well, superb at 660 litres and a small-car swallowing 1960-litres with the rear seats folded down.

My Skoda Superb Estate Sportline came with the meatiest 2.0 litre TDI engine with 190PS, 4-wheel-drive and a DSG gearbox although you can specify the 150PS TDI without 4×4 for a couple of grand less. The 1.4 litre, 150PS TSI petrol is also available with DSG and would be my choice for those not doing interstellar mileage. If you’re feeling the need for speed then you have the 2.0 litre TSI, engine available with either 220PS or 280PS if you must have 4×4 capability.

Out on the road the Skoda Superb Estate belies its size, feeling quite sprightly and even nimble around town. Yes, it’s a bit of a barge to park but visibility all round is very good and there is always the Park Assist option for £590.

The 19in wheels on my car did cause some thumping over speed bumps and pot holes, despite the Dynamic Chassis Control set to comfort but on smoother surfaces they behaved well and motorway cruising, especially, was a quiet affair with the only noise coming from the large wing mirrors – but nothing to spoil the experience which was mostly effortless. The excellent DSG auto box helps here which is amongst the best auto boxes on the market at the moment with no histrionics when you plant your foot, just smooth power delivery.

The 2.0-litre TDI engine certainly has plenty of poke with 190PS available although I suspect unless you are towing a large caravan, or really need 4WD capability, the 150PS TDI would be more than up to the job.

Out on the A-Roads the Skoda Superb Estate does feel a little wallowy  around faster bends but the dynamic chassis control keeps things from becoming uncomfortable and you can certainly trap on without inducing motion-sickness – or upsetting your passengers.

The new Skoda Superb Estate definitely raises the bar with its much-more appealing exterior and its feature-rich interior which now offers even more space than before. The Sportline model adds what you would expect – a more sporty look and feel that really does enhance the whole experience even though most will probably opt for the SE or SE Technology models that have all the capacity but offer even better value.

RATING: ****

Skoda Superb Estate Sportline TDI 190 4×4 DSG

OTR Price: £36,380

Engine: 2.0 TDI

Power: 190 PS

Transmission: 6-speed DSG Automatic

0-62mph: 7.7 secs

Top Speed: 142 mph

Combined Economy: 55.4 mpg

CO2: 119 g/km

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