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REVIEW – Skoda Superb Sportline Plus Estate

Editor-in-chief, Senior Reviewer


Skoda Superb SportLine Plus Estate 2.0 TSI 272 4x4
  • Exterior Styling
  • Interior Finish
  • Engine / Performance
  • Ride / Handling
  • Economy
  • Practicality
  • Equipment
  • Value For Money
4.5

Summary

Although the Skoda Superb SportLine Plus looks sporty, it does well to hide its true athleticism. With a 280PS petrol engine hiding under the bonnet this is a car that can cause an upset at the traffic lights. But the performance in no way hinders what is a spacious, practical and sensible family estate car. With the optional Dynamic Chassis Control it handles well in all situations. This is one of the best all-rounders you’ll find.


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Exterior Styling

On the whole, the Skoda Superb SportLine Plus is a bit of a ‘sleeper’ car. That is to say that it looks somewhat unassuming, hiding its power and performance beneath.

That’s not to say that the Superb looks bland. Not in any way. In fact the Superb SportLine Plus looks, well, sporty. There’s a subtle-yet-effective body kit, including honeycomb grille, prominent side skirts and broad shoulders.

Look closely and you will spot the SportLine badges on the wings. Angular headlights are nestled among striking body lines, and incorporate sleek LED daytime running lights.

19-inch two-tone alloy wheels look a perfect size for what is a large estate car, and are clad in 235/40/R19 tyres. Window surrounds, roof rails and door mirrors are all finished in black.

This was a nice contrast against the Moon White metallic of our test car, which in itself is a ‘sleeper’ colour. There are more bold colours, such as Velvet Red or Dragon Green, depending on the level of subtlety you’d like.

At the back there are twin tail pipes and a subtle roof spoiler. But overall the lines are clean and executive. This is a car that chooses to be sleek over being aggressive, and that’s just one of the ways it hides its performance.

The reason why this Superb SportLine Plus is a sleeper comes down to badging. You see there are no engine-distinguishing badges on the car. So this could well be a 2.0-litre TDI with 150PS, or it could be a 1.5-litre TSI petrol with 150PS.

The reality, as we’ll come to in due course, is much more exciting than either. But nobody can tell by looking, and that’s a nice touch.

Interior Finish

The interior of the Superb SportLine Plus is a very plush place to be. It’s a harmonious blend of sporty touches and premium feel.

The front seats are heavily bolstered and finished in leather and alcantara. With a fixed headrest they have a sculpted, sporty shape.

There’s a perforated leather flat-bottomed steering wheel, more alcantara on the door cards and some faux carbon fibre finisher. Best of all it feels high quality and well put together.

LED ambient lighting features on the dashboard and door cards. You can adjust the colour and brightness to suit your mood.

There is now the option of a Virtual Cockpit. Although not fitted to our test car, this is a must-have option. It lifts the cabin aesthetics significantly, and is a neat feature to show off down the pub. Without it, the dials are a little plain and boring.

The cabin of the Superb SportLine Plus is just on the right side of interesting. The layout is somewhat traditional, and there are no particularly exciting features, which further necessitates that Virtual Cockpit! Nonetheless the liberal use of alcantara and mood lighting does enough to make it feel on trend.

One of the features of the Superb SportLine Plus is a Columbus satellite navigation system which comes with a 9.2-inch touchscreen. The ‘regular’ SportLine features an 8-inch screen, so the Plus is a noticeable improvement.

We like how it’s fitted too: it’s in the centre of the dashboard, but is raised as opposed to being flush. This makes for a more prominent centrepiece.

Engine/Performance

So why is the Superb SportLine Plus the pinnacle of sleeper cars? Well despite looking nice, the word ‘Line’ in a model designation usually means a style-over-substance offering. A ‘looks great but has a 1.0-litre engine’ type car.

So if I proceeded to tell you this Skoda has a 2.0-litre diesel with 150PS, you wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised. And it can have. Or there’s a 1.5-litre TSI petrol with 150PS.

But the car which is the subject of this review has neither. It actually has the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine found in the Volkswagen Golf R. It’s slightly de-tuned – for emissions and economy reasons – so it puts out 272PS and 350Nm of torque.

With a 7-speed DSG gearbox and four-wheel drive, this enormous estate car can put every last ounce of power to good use.

Use the launch control feature (as it’s all too tempting to do) and the Superb takes off like a scalded cat.

0-62mph takes just 5.6 seconds and the top speed is a limited 155mph. That acceleration figure is reasonably cautious too: we timed it closer to 5 seconds with just the driver on board. So when you see a Skoda Superb SportLine at the lights, be cautious. It could well be packing a ferocious punch.

The only thing that spoils the party with this blisteringly-quick car is a rather drab soundtrack. Strangely the engine sounds a little harsh at higher revs, and there is no anti-social exhaust dishing out pops and bangs.

Now I get that subtlety is the name of the game for the Superb, but with the different drive modes there could have been a loud button.

Ride/Handling

This Superb SportLine Plus is not just quick in a straight line too. Steering is nicely weighted and direct.

For a big car the Skoda feels surprisingly agile; darting from corner to corner, hunting down the apex at each one.

The 4×4 system works brilliantly. It never seems to break traction, even under full acceleration on damp and greasy roads. That in turn brings a high level of confidence to push the car harder, and faster, to get the most out of it.

Our test car had Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) fitted at a cost of £760. This, for us, would be another ‘must-have’ option. It works an absolute treat in conjunction with the selectable drive modes.

In ‘comfort’ setting the damping is softer and more forgiving, making the Superb a perfect companion for a long motorway slog.

In ‘dynamic’ mode the damping firms up to better control body roll and improve cornering. You can really tell the difference between each mode, and it allows the Superb SportLine to be more extreme in each setting.

This isn’t a compromised setup: it is both properly comfortable on a long drive, yet surprisingly composed on tight, twisty B-roads. £760 is, therefore, a small price to pay for such accomplished handling.

Stopping power is in generous supply too, with disc brakes all round. The Superb pulls up with sufficient force to put all your organs back in the correct place after the acceleration rearranged them.

Economy

Perhaps the most compromised aspect of the Superb SportLine Plus, with this engine at least, comes with economy.

It may only be a 2.0-litre engine but this is a sizeable car with blistering performance. As such the combined fuel consumption is quoted as 30.1mpg under WLTP testing.

That’s a realistically-achievable figure for the most part. Over-exuberance with the accelerator will understandably dent the figures into the mid-to-high 20s.

CO2 emissions are 162g/km as an NEDC-equivalent figure. That’s perhaps not as high as you might have expected.

There’s an ‘Eco’ drive mode to help economy, which dials back the throttle response, encourages the gearbox to upshift early and also go into neutral when coasting. The Superb SportLine Plus also features start/stop technology to save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions.

The previous version of this car had a 6-speed DSG gearbox. This new one, with a 7-speed DSG keeps revs lower at motorway speeds, helping to improve economy on a long run.

Importantly though, this high-performance Superb costs under £40,000, subject to how many options are chosen.

So there is no VED surcharge to pay. After the £530 payable when the car is registered, its £145 a year.

That could be significant if you’re also considering cars like the Audi A6 or Mercedes-Benz E-Class; both of which will be difficult to keep under £40k.

Practicality

And then we come to the Skoda Superb’s party piece: spaciousness. This is a car that doesn’t shy away from its vastness, opting instead to embrace it and all the advantages it brings.

You won’t be surprised, therefore, to learn that the boot is enormous. Space is a very impressive 660 litres with the rear seats in place. Even more impressive is the whopping 1,950 litres you get when you fold the rear seats down.

The Superb SportLine Plus Estate will be your best friend at Ikea, even if you’ve just bought every Besta unit in the shop. Should you ever need to do a run to the tip, it will again show its worth.

Cabin space is equally generous. There’s plenty of headroom throughout, and the copious rear leg room has to be seen to be believed.

There’s enough for 6ft-odd adults to be relaxed and comfortable back there. And that’s still the case if the front-seat passengers have their seats set up as sun loungers.

You even get an umbrella hidden in each of the front doors! It’s a small touch, but makes a big impact. And there will come a time when you arrive in town, it’s raining and your wife has forgotten her umbrella. The Skoda will save the day, and give you bragging rights.

The Superb SportLine Plus is an easy car to live with. It isn’t too wide, but is rather long. Care is needed when parallel parking, but you soon get used to it. Small price to pay for the amount of space and practicality on offer.

Equipment

Standard specification on the Skoda Superb is reasonably generous. Basic ‘S’ models feature height adjustable driver and front passenger seats, leather steering wheel, electronic parking brake, electric front and rear windows and electrically-adjustable, heated door mirrors.

Standard safety equipment includes Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with a whole host of other acronyms (ABS, EBV, MSR etc. – no we don’t know what they stand for either!). Seven airbags have the cabin covered, while the tyre pressure monitoring system lets you know if any deflation occurs.

All Superb models feature Bluetooth, DAB radio, adaptive cruise control and front assist with autonomous emergency braking.

The SportLine trim adds yet more creature comforts. It features privacy glass, LED interior lighting, electrically-adjustable driver’s seat with memory, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation and keyless entry and go.

Also included as standard are dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, SmartLink+ (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), front and rear parking sensors and Bi-Xenon headlights with adaptive front lighting system.

The SportLine ‘Plus’ adds heated front seats, an electric tailgate, blind spot monitoring, a 9.2-inch touchscreen and progressive dynamic steering.

There is no doubt that if you opt to purchase a Superb SportLine Plus, you will not feel short changed. The standard level of equipment is plenty to live with, and the options list is there just in case you would like some additional creature comforts.

Value For Money

The starting price of a Skoda Superb SportLine Plus with the 2.0 TSI 272PS engine is £38,045. The ‘must-have’ options of DCC ad Virtual Cockpit are £760 and £450 respectively.

That makes the car £39,255. IF you so wish, you can add other options. Metallic and Pearl paints will cost £595. And in truth that’s all the Superb you’ll ever need.

Sure, there are other options available. Heated outer rear seats, heated steering wheel, sun blinds for the rear side windows, a panoramic sunroof and uprated Canton sound system to name but a few.

Remember though, if a car has a list price in excess of £40,000 then a VED surcharge is applicable. There will be an extra £320 to pay in year 2-6 (or £1,600) in total. So you should consider this before you go a bit trigger happy with the options list.

But the great thing about the Superb SportLine Plus is that you needn’t go mad with the options. It has more than enough gadgetry to make life easy, and impress your mates.

What’s more, the Superb has an advantage over similar large cars. Equivalent Audi A6, BMW 5-Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class models will have prices far above £40,000, so will carry higher running costs.

Some people will find the notion of a near-£40,000 Skoda hard to stomach, but you need only see one in person to realise the price is justified.

And if you drive the 272PS model you’ll come away, as we did, thinking it may just be a hidden gem in the current car market. Add in a rarity factor and £40,000 doesn’t seem bad value at all.

Facts and Figures

Engine 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Max power 272PS at 5,600-6,500rpm
Max torque 360Nm at 1,700-5,600rpm
Drivetrain 7-speed DSG transmission, four-wheel drive
0-62mph 5.6 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Fuel tank size 66 litres
Fuel consumption 30.1 mpg combined, WLTP
CO2 emissions 162 g/km NEDC equivalent
Kerb weight 1,576kg
Towing capacity 2,200kg braked / 750kg unbraked
Luggage capacity 660 litres
NCAP rating 5 stars
Base price £38,045
Price as tested £40,145
Company website www.skoda.co.uk/new-cars/superb

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