The Superb Estate is a big car, so it needs big engines, right? Well, no, as the starting point for motivation in the Superb wagon is the same 123bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged unit as in the saloon and, despite its pint-sized capacity, it sees the Estate from 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds. It also pulls well through its six manually-selected gears to punch well above its weight. There are two other petrol engines on offer, starting with the 158bhp 1.8 TSI turbo unit that is well worth considering as an alternative to the diesels if youíre not a huge mileage driver. Itís smooth, punchy and quieter than the diesels, covers 0-62mph in as little as 8.6 seconds and can be ordered with six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearboxes. The 1.8 can also be specced with front- or four-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is the only option for the 3.6-litre V6 engine, which boasts 256bhp for 0-62mph in a swift 6.6 seconds. Thatís impressive, but the V6ís economy and emissions mean itís of marginal interest to most buyers. They will more likely be considering one of the turbodiesel engines, starting with the 1.9 104bhp unit. It does sterling work, delivering 0-62mph in 12.6 seconds and lugging through its five-speed manual íbox, but if you can afford to upgrade to either the 138- or 167bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesels, you should. Both versions can be had with six-speed manual or DSG dual-clutch gearboxes and the 167bhp unit is also offered with optional four-wheel drive. The 138bhp turbodiesel is the most popular and offers 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds, while the 167bhp engine lowers this to 8.9 seconds. Both are strong to accelerate through the gears and make for relaxed, economical motorway cruising.
The Skoda Superb Estate feels very much like its saloon sister, which is a great compliment to the load lugger. Pockmarked streets and motorways are shrugged off by the supple suspension and thereís very little road noise that filters into the Skodaís cabin, even at brisk motorway speeds. Itís the same with wind noise, which is kept at a serene distance, though some engine hubbub can be heard from the 1.9 turbodiesel. The 1.4-litre petrol engine can also make itself heard as it needs to be revved quite hard and often to give its best. Regardless of which engine you prefer, ever Superb Estate copes well with corners. Thereís some body lean, but nothing out of the ordinary for an estate of this size and class, and it provides ample traction through corners. The steering has just enough feel for some fun, yet it is light when parking. Overall, the Superb Estate is impressively sure-footed and composed.
Have a look at the most recent JD Power Survey and youíll see Skoda comes in fourth overall out of 29 manufacturers included. Skoda is ably mixing it with the likes of Honda, Lexus and Mercedes on the satisfaction and quality fronts, so the signs for the Superb Estate are, well, superb. All of the exterior and interior panels are joined with precise gaps and there are no rattle or squeaks to irritate inside the Superb wagon. The materials are of a high grade and every surface where your hand comes into contact with the car feels substantial and of top quality. Close your eyes inside the Superb and you could easily be in an Audi Ė thatís how good this car is.
Another full score for the Superb Estate thanks to twin front, side and curtain airbags all being included as standard on all models. Every Superb Estate also comes with a driverís knee airbag for added protection in the event of a shunt. Add in ESP traction and stability control on every version of the Superb Estate, plus two Isofix child seat mounts in the back seats, and itís a very safe bet. The 1.8 TSI with DSG gearbox also includes a hill hold function to stop the car rolling back when stopped on a gradient. Go for the top spec Elegance trim and you also enjoy adaptive headlights that help to illuminate further round corners than standard headlights. An alarm and immobiliser are included with all models.
Sit in a Superb Estate and youíll hear the echo when you close the door Ė thatís how big this wagon is. With the rear seats in place, thereís 633-litres of load space on offer and itís deep enough that suitcases can be stored upright rather than flat yet you can still pull the load cover across for security. Flat sides to the boot make it easy to slide in larger goods, while Skodaís optional load securing system provides bars and straps to keep items from sloshing around the cavernous space. Another option is a sliding load floor that pulls out to make it easier to lift heavy items in and out of the car. Other neat touches include a torch mounted in the side of the boot wall that can be taken out and attached to anywhere on the carís bodywork by a built-in magnet, while strong lights mounted in the tailgate make it easy to see at night when loading the car. The tailgate itself can have its opening height set at any height if you have the optional electric opening fitted. Then thereís the easy to fold 60/40 split and top rear seats that drop to open up a massive 1865-litres of load bed. The only small disappointment here is the small step left in the load floor when the seats are folded.
So much space and practicality should cost a premium, yet Skoda kicks off the Superb Estate range at very affordable prices. The 1.4 TSI model costs much the same as many smaller hatchbacks, yet all Superb Estates come with alloy wheels, roof rails, air conditioning, CD stereo and MP3 connector. Upgrade from S to SE and you gain larger 17in alloy wheels, six-disc CD autochanger, rear parking sensors, cruise control and an umbrella stowed inside of the rear door. The Elegance comes with 18in alloy wheels, adaptive Xenon headlights, satellite navigation, leather seats and heated front seats, Bluetooth connection, and rain-sensing wipers. All of the engines, except the 3.6 V6, are easy on fuel and emissions, while insurance is another cost that wonít break the bank with the Skoda wagon. Servicing is reasonable at Skoda dealers and long term used values for the Superb Estate should ward off many of the ravages of depreciation as this is a car that will be in big, and we mean this in every sense, demand as a used car.