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Skoda Superb Estate review (2009 onwards)
What - Skoda Superb Estate
Where - Lake Maggiore, Italy
Price - from £17,525 - £28,505 (est)
Available - spring 2010
Key rivals - Ford Mondeo Estate, Mazda 6 Estate, Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, Volvo V70
We like - huge, refined diesel engines, estate looks striking, sensible pricing
We don't like - feels heavy, might be too big for some people
GALLERY: Skoda Superb Estate
Read more Skoda car reviews
Skoda has launched an estate version of the Superb, with prices starting at approximately £1,100 - £1,300 more than the hatch
The previous Superb - a stretched Passat if you looked at it through squinty eyes - was a great car but failed to strike a chord outside taxi fleets.
The new Superb is vastly superior; stylish, larger and richly received by the motoring press. No wonder it's selling well among fleet drivers and private motorists, who want to maximise the amount of car they get for their overstretched pounds.
And that car-to-pound margin is about to improve with the launch of the Superb Estate. No rivals come close to this car on space. Those that do, won't on price. It has a simply enormous boot. The Superb Estate is like a small garden shed on wheels.
If you thought a Volvo V70 was big, it's nothing compared to this thing; 1,600 litres of total luggage room versus 1,865 for the Skoda.
Three diesel engines and three petrols are offered. Petrols start with the 1.4 TSI with 125bhp, moving up to the 160bhp 1.8 TSI, but they weren't available to test.
Instead, we tried the 3.6 V6 four-wheel drive with 260bhp. It's an impressive engine this, with flexible in-gear shove from the DSG gearbox, enough to see 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds.
It'll be expensive to buy and run though so we'd opt for one of the diesels. The range starts with the 1.9 TDi with 105bhp, but if your budget can stretch to it then climb up to either the 140bhp 2.0 TDI or the impressive 170bhp 'common rail' version of this engine.
This engine benefits from direct injection for smoother performance and refinement and will see you to sixty from rest in 8.9 seconds, while returning well over 45mpg. This would be our choice, though we'd stick to the front-wheel drive car as the 4WD version blunts the performance and is unnecessary for the UK.
Ride and handling
The Estate feels like a heavy car, and is, starting at 1,504kgs in even its smallest engine form, which is 79kgs heavier than the hatch. As a result you can feel the bulk move as you turn the wheel through corners. However, this isn't a criticism, more a passing nod that you won't want to go haring down a country road in one.
Instead, enjoy its superb (ahem) refinement, punchy engine and relaxing interior on long-distance motorway journeys, because this is where the Superb excels.
It rides well, too, even on large 17 and 18-inch wheels, the Superb's suspension preventing nasty bumps and pot holes from pervading the calm of the cabin.
Now we're getting to the really interesting part of this car. Forget how it drives and handles because the single most important part is that big rectangular area at the back. It is vast in there, even before you drop the rear seats for more space.
The regular boot is 633-litres. Compare that to a V70 - 575 litres. Mondeo Estate? A paltry 542- litres. Vauxhall Insignia Estate - sorry, Sports Tourer: 540-litres. Only the Mercedes E-Class Estate is bigger, the outgoing car posting a London flat-sized 690-litres. But have you seen the price those start at (well over £30k in case you were wondering)?
With the rear seats in place, and a full load of luggage in the boot, your passengers still benefit from limousine-levels of legroom. No passengers and large loads? Just drop the seats flat to unleash 1,865-litres of space.
The partitioned boot floor can be raised or lowered depending on whether you need depth or a flat floor, and there's even a removable lamp in the boot which recharges when you plug it back in, as well as power-assistance for the tailgate.
Economy and safety
The 3.6 V6 drinks a gallon of unleaded every 27.7 miles, so you might want to rule that one out. Stick then to the 170bhp diesel, which averages 47.9mpg in six-speed manual trim and a healthy 155g/km of carbon dioxide emissions. That should please the taxman - or maybe not, because your bills will be low if you're a company driver.
If you do want a petrol, the 1.4 TSI will be cheap to run, but I wouldn't imagine it coping well with a car of this size. So it's the 1.8TSI then if you must have a petrol, which averages 38.7mpg and has emissions of 171g/km.
Safety kit is well catered for no matter which trim you choose; S, SE or Elegance. You get seven airbags, including a knee bag and ESP as well as the usual crash protection measures fitted to modern cars.
MSN Cars verdict
If you want a big estate car you've come to the right place. The Superb is vast. But there's a lot more to this car than just a big boot and a low price tag. It is well appointed, comfortable, refined and has real street presence. Think of it as more of a cut-price VW Phaeton, albeit with an estate boot.
|Need to know|
|Engine - diesel||2.0 common-rail|
|Power - bhp||170 @4,200|
|Torque - lb/ft||258@1750-2500|
|Top speed (mph)||137|
|Rating||Skoda Superb Estate (170 diesel)|
|Ride & handling||****|
|MSN Cars verdict||*****|
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