The first time I go out in the Skoda Superb Estate I question my driving skills. Every time I stop in traffic the the car seems to stall and, flustered, I have to restart it quickly while apologising to the driver behind. I say ‘seems’ to stall because I hadn’t read the manual before setting off in the car, obviously, and so had never heard of the ‘Stop-Start system’. This system automatically switches off the engine in order to save energy and reduce emissions when the car stops and is in neutral. All I need to do is to press the clutch for the engine to restart.
Once I work that out I enjoy using the car. I usually drive a battered Volvo XC90 and find the Skoda much nippier and responsive to drive (the engine is 2.0 TDI 140PS).
The Skoda is very comfortable for me to drive. Both of the front seats are electronically adjustable so that you can get them to just the height you need: perfect for me as I’m 5’2” tall. The front seats are heated too, which I really like. The rear seats have plenty of leg room although the kids say that the middle seat is quite small. The eldest feels queazy when she sits in the back of the Skoda. The boot has plenty of room for bags, dogs and general paraphernalia and there’s a fold-down panel in the rear middle seat so that you can reach through into the boot from inside the car. I find the boot quite hard to close as the strap to pull it shut is a little too high for me.
There are lots of practical design features around the car which make life easier. The squishy-lined sunglasses holder which flips open just above the driver’s head is a great idea. The boot has partitioned sections at the sides to hold small things like umbrellas. Attached to the sides of the boot are some straps with clip fastenings, perfect for holding our dog’s lead when she’s in there. The rear seats even have their own digital clock so that children don’t have to ask what the time is every few minutes. Excellent.
I find the Skoda easy to park both in car parks and in parallel parking spaces. It has parking sensors at the back sending images to a display on a screen at the front so you can see what’s going on. It is quite a long car though so I have to be careful that it doesn’t stick out of parking spaces.
As far as I know I’ve never driven a car with six gears before. I only notice that the car actually has six gears when I park it on Brighton seafront. I’ve been driving it for four days. ‘But how will I know when to use the extra gear?’ I ask my passengers. The children ignore me but luckily my sister is with us. Her car has six gears too so she’s an expert. On the way home she points out the display on the dashboard where the Skoda is actually telling me which gear I should be in and I change into sixth gear.
I like the car and would definitely consider buying a Skoda after driving this and the Yeti I reviewed last year. For the country lanes where we live though I like to have a car with four wheel drive.
My husband says: ‘It’s enjoyable to drive, practical, comfortable, well-made, solid and safe. I’d certainly look at Skodas next time we buy a car.’
The eldest (15) says: ‘It’s good, really comfortable and the heated seats are good.’
The youngest (11) says: ‘Can we buy a Skoda?’
Family travel lowdown
We were lent the car for a few days for the purposes of this review. All opinions are our own. The Skoda Superb Estate Elegance 2.0 TDI 140PS with Petrol Blue metallic paint which we used costs £26,645 including VAT.