- Doors and Seats
5 doors, 5 seats
2.0T, 4 cyl.
- Engine Power
Petrol (95) 8.1L/100KM
6 Spd Auto (DCT)
5 Yr, Unltd KMs
- Ancap Safety
5/5 star (2015)
Storage, but make it sexy. Skoda’s expansive Superb wagon has the potential to charm car enthusiasts and utilitarians alike – so is there anything it can’t do? Now that’s a question worth investigating…
- That huge boot!
- Cabin combines practicality and comfort without sacrificing style
- Freeway driving made fun, especially in sport mode
- Ride can feel hard when driving over imperfections
- Dual-clutch transmission and idle-stop system lack polish at low speeds
- Fuel consumption errs on the high side
Is the Skoda Superb a good car?
I’ve been a car reviewer for roughly four years now and, would you believe it, I hadn’t test-driven a single wagon until I hopped behind the wheel of the 2022 Skoda Superb Sportline wagon. And certainly not for lack of trying.
Wagons are something of a dying breed these days, with only a handful of manufacturers persisting with the body type as SUVs take precedence.
Affordable wagons are even harder to come by – with my own rudimentary research returning a median starting price of roughly $150,000 before on-road costs, once you tally up every option available Down Under.
I’ve never understood this dwindling lack of choice. There’s a running joke that all automotive journalists are wagon enthusiasts, but putting my professional leanings aside, wagons have always just made sense to me.
Compared to the ever-popular SUV, wagons tend to have more storage space, more legroom, an elegant, timeless silhouette, and a lower stance that can provide enhanced driver feel.
You wouldn’t call it ‘cheap’, but the Skoda Superb is one of the more affordable wagons available starting at $58,990 drive-away for the entry-level variant, while the Sportline variant I’m testing here starts from $65,290 before on-road costs, or $70,990 drive-away.
It’s bigger, more powerful and more expensive than Skoda’s other wagon offering, the Octavia.
If you’re not a wagon fan, the Sportline is also offered as a sedan, with the same level of performance, but a lower price point of $56,990 drive-away.
Splurging on the Sportline wagon over the entry-level Superb Style essentially gives you a bigger 206 TSI engine, all-wheel-drive capabilities (the Style is front-wheel drive), more equipment as standard and jazzier looks.
Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine outputting 206kW of power and 350Nm of torque that drives all four wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
It’s easy on the eyes too – with a premium feel that puts it more in line with the BMWs and Audis of the world than your typical drab family hauler.
|Key details||2022 Skoda Superb Sportline wagon|
|Price (MSRP)||$65,290 plus on-road costs|
|Colour of test car||Quartz Grey|
|Options||Metallic paint – $770 |
Ventilated front seats – $1900
19-inch black Supernova wheels – $300
|Price as tested||$68,260 plus on-road costs|
|Rivals||Volkswagen Passat | Volvo V60 Cross Country | Mazda 6|
What is the Skoda Superb like inside?
Skoda has a laser focus on practicality, with its “simply clever” tagline evident in the Superb’s cabin – from the multiple cargo nets in the boot to the cooled central glovebox.
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The interior of the Sportline variant marries this trademark pragmatism with just the right amount of sex appeal, courtesy of things like the Alcantara trim on the doors that makes the cabin feel cosy and luxe, or the sports seats that look racy but offer maximum comfort.
Heated front and rear seats are standard on the Sportline grade, which is a huge win, and my test car had optional front seat ventilation for an added $1900 – a fairly pricey extra that I couldn’t bring myself to try in the midst of Melbourne’s arctic winter.
The Superb’s cabin is a fantastic mid-point between family car and drivers car – no-one has to compromise.
While there are concessions to people who aren’t quite ready to resign themselves to soccer mum (or soccer dad) status just yet, make no mistake: the Skoda knows its most important audience is in the back seat.
It’s so roomy back there that I could almost stretch my legs out straight with the driver’s seat in my regular driving position, and getting child seats into the second row for once doesn’t feel like a nightmarish game of Tetris.
When installed in the rear-facing position, my Britax Graphene usually juts off the edge of narrow back seats or sits at an awkward tilt – even in some SUVs.
In the Superb, however, it had room to spare and my little one actually had space to kick his legs about.
A second child seat wouldn’t be a dealbreaker either, and you’d still be able to fit a (very patient) adult passenger in between them if you wanted.
As a mum, I particularly appreciated the built-in sun blinds on the rear windows – something that’s usually an expensive extra purchase at Baby Bunting (if you don’t want to settle for the hideous and fairly ineffective Bunnings Warehouse version).
Upon exiting the vehicle, a thoughtful message even appears on the infotainment screen reading “Got everything? Mobile phone? Everyone out the car?”.
The only downside to a wagon compared with an SUV is the lower ride height, meaning loading and unloading little kids can put a strain on your back.
But on the flipside, you get a positively cavernous boot as a consolation prize for that back pain – a whopping 660L with all the rear seats in place, or up to 1950L with the rear seats folded – all accessible via a power tailgate.
Under the floor is a space-saving spare wheel as standard – an upgrade on the base-spec’s standard temporary spare wheel.
If I had one complaint, it would be that the boot is so large that even sizable objects are prone to rolling around – hence all those cargo nets. You’ll want to secure your load before setting off.
You can even access the boot from the rear seat through a little trap-door hidden behind the armrest. That armrest can be hard to pull down, however, due to a lack of a pull-tab, meaning you’ll have to jam your fingers in there to get it down.
|2022 Skoda Superb Sportline wagon|
|Boot volume||660L seats up|
1950L seats folded
How big is the screen in the Skoda Superb?
Smartphone connectivity in the Superb is entirely wireless – there’s a wireless charger and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both cord-free.
The wireless charger is fantastic – there’s a cover to stow your phone out of sight, and it has enough room for large-display devices.
I’ve had issues with wireless CarPlay before, but Skoda has ironed out most of the kinks with its version. Pairing my phone was easy and it stayed connected throughout my week with the car, seamlessly reconnecting the second I turned the car on. It only dropped out once on the fourth level of an underground carpark, but phone call quality remained excellent up until that point.
If you do want to use a cord for connection, you’ll need a USB-C cable, as the Superb doesn’t offer traditional USB ports.
Managing the car’s infotainment functions is intuitive and straightforward via the 9.2-inch central touchscreen. It’s not the largest or most visually spectacular touchscreen on the market, but it’s well executed and intuitive to use, which is more of a priority for me.
Steering wheel controls manage the display on the driver’s side, and allow for plenty of customisation. I particularly loved the setting that supersized the digital speedometer.
While the voice and audio controls on the steering wheel worked well, I missed having a button to easily hang up phone calls while using Apple CarPlay and had to settle for using the touchscreen (however, when using Bluetooth or Android Auto, you can simply push the volume dial on the steering wheel to hang up).
Is the Skoda Superb a safe car?
The Skoda Superb has a five-star safety rating from ANCAP. It was last tested in 2015, and has since gained additional safety technology.
When tested, the Superb scored highest in the categories of adult occupant protection and child occupant protection – receiving 86 per cent for both.
Pedestrian protection was rated at 71 per cent, while the Superb received 76 per cent in the safety assist category, which pertains to a car’s autonomous and semi-autonomous crash-prevention technologies.
The 2021 update for the Skoda Superb saw it gain predictive pedestrian protection, which warns the driver of a pedestrian in the car’s path with a sound and a jolt to the brakes, as well as extended side assist, which uses sensors to monitor your blind spots at the side and back of the car, and can detect cyclists up to 70m away.
Both the Style and Sportline variants receive the same safety equipment as standard, including nine airbags, a rear-traffic alert, driver fatigue detection, forward and rear autonomous braking, adaptive lane assist (to keep you in your lane), traffic jam assist (braking and steering the car in traffic up to speeds of 60km/h) and adaptive cruise control.
I appreciate that you don’t have to pay extra to get basic safety technology, and it means families can feel comforted that opting for the lower spec grade won’t short-change them in the safety department.
The car’s cruise control is accessible by a stalk on the indicator, and is reasonably easy to manage, although I personally prefer steering wheel buttons.
Skoda’s park assist – offered standard on the Sportline and as part of an option pack on the Style – is an added bonus for drivers who aren’t confident with parallel or perpendicular parking, but it refused to operate in my narrow street, and occasionally left me a fair distance from the kerb, so isn’t a fix-all solution.
The reverse camera lacks a full overhead view, which would be handy given the car’s longer body, but it does helpfully provide multi-angle views, including a close-up of the car’s front and rear bumpers showing their proximity to the kerb.
I was able to inadvertently test the rear autonomous braking system when reversing into a parking spot in the median strip of a busy road, and the car assumed I was backing into oncoming traffic. I can confirm it works – and my family and I may never recover from the dramatic and very abrupt brake response.
Similarly dramatic are the car’s sensors, which are a tad overbearing in both volume and sensitivity. One too many times I stepped out of my car in an underground car park to find that I’d parked almost a metre out from the wall, when I thought I had only millimetres to spare.
I couldn’t find an option to change their reactivity levels and had to settle for lowering their volume.
How much does the Skoda Superb cost?
It’s tricky to measure the Superb against its competitors because, simply put, there aren’t many.
The most natural competitor comes from Skoda’s sister brand, Volkswagen, with its Passat wagon, which starts at $67,690 before on-road costs for an all-wheel-drive variant and offers a comparable 650L of boot space.
Shoppers looking for a wagon that doesn’t require them to take out a second mortgage will likely be browsing through the Mazda 6 range, which starts at $36,420 before on-road costs but doesn’t offer an all-wheel-drive option.
Slightly more premium competitors include Audi’s A4 Avant, which starts at $76,000 before on-road costs, or the Volvo V60 Cross Country, which offers all-wheel drive and a starting price of $64,990 before on-road costs, but is still smaller than the Superb, offering 131L less room in the boot.
With all that in mind, the Superb Sportline’s $70,990 drive-away price is right where it needs to be – but be cautious that options can quickly inflate that final figure.
Another consideration is the Superb’s fuel consumption, which erred on the high side over the course of my loan. While Skoda quotes 8.0L/100km for combined use and 9.8L/100km for urban driving, my trip computer showed 10.8L/100km.
Granted, I did most of my driving in peak hour, travelling short distances to work, childcare and home, and running errands in surrounding suburbs, but I’d hazard a guess that this is how most Superb owners would spend the majority of their time.
Average fuel consumption of 10.8L/100km isn’t completely terrible (my Subaru Outback is often closer to 12L/100km in the same conditions), but it does start to get expensive when you consider Skoda stipulates premium fuel of 95RON at a minimum.
|At a glance||2022 Skoda Superb Sportline wagon|
|Warranty||Five years/unlimited km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 15,000km|
|Servicing costs||$1800 (5 years), $2700 (7 years)|
Like most manufacturers, Skoda has a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and offers buyers the option of pre-purchasing service packs.
The five-year plan is priced at $1800 for the Superb, which breaks down to $360 per service, while the seven-year plan is $2700, which breaks down to $385 per visit. The latter also adds two years to the warranty period.
Those prices are very similar to a major manufacturer like Mazda, which charges $1810 for five years of servicing on its more affordable front-wheel-drive Mazda 6.
The option to boost your warranty period with a seven-year service pack is also enticing and puts Skoda in competition with Kia’s market-leading warranty (putting aside Mitsubishi’s conditional 10-year warranty).
Also worth noting is the fact existing Skoda owners can purchase these packs retrospectively, which will in turn extend their warranty period, even if they’re already a few years into the standard five-year term.
|Fuel Useage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||8.1L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||10.8L/100km|
|Fuel type||95-octane premium unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||66L|
What is the Skoda Superb like to drive?
The on-the-road feel of the Superb Sportline showcases its best and worst qualities in equal measure.
I’ll start with the good news first: at speeds of 50km/h and more, the Superb is a really fun drive. Pop it into Sport mode and the steering becomes more direct, acceleration is sharpened, and the four-cylinder engine is capable of a hearty little snarl to match.
I often find that dual-clutch transmissions really excel at speed, and that’s definitely the case with the Skoda – put your foot down and you’ll elicit punchy gearshifts and plenty of power.
I also loved the slimline, sporty leather steering wheel, which has a racy feel to it without being overly chunky – it really added to the driver enjoyment factor.
Being a wagon, visibility is ample, although I found the rear and side mirrors could have been larger to really take advantage of the views on offer.
For a long car (it’s 4.86m long with a 2.84m wheelbase), the Superb handles well, but the 11.7m turning circle means U-turns and sharper corners require a bit more strategising.
The car’s all-wheel drive system – which operates primarily in front-wheel drive under normal driving conditions, but is capable of sending drive to all four wheels when required – provides peace of mind in situations where traction may become a problem.
Where the Superb Sportline can occasionally fall short is around town. At rolling speeds the dual-clutch transmission can lack polish and this can make for a messy companion to the idle-stop system, with the occasional lag between hitting the accelerator and the system restarting the engine.
Initially, I found that when idling or rolling in traffic, the engine also gave off an unappealing shuddering sensation. When I raised this with Skoda Australia, it investigated and found that it was actually a fault with that particular car’s transmission.
Thankfully, I was given a second, non-faulty car to test in order to have a point of comparison and it made a world of difference.
The pronounced shuddering sensation at low or rolling speeds became a far more palatable light trembling when inching forward in traffic, but some engine vibration was still passed on to the cabin when idling.
Without the aforementioned transmission issues, the car’s power delivery also became a lot smoother and more linear off the line, and it was less jerky to manoeuvre when parking.
Comfort-wise, the ride on the Superb’s 19-inch wheels is on the firmer side. Of course, some of this is an inevitable byproduct of being closer to the road than in an SUV, and the suspension certainly removes some of the noise, vibration and harshness, but not all.
While the car coped fine with regular speed bumps and rougher road surfaces, the second I drove over even the smallest pothole, there was a clunking noise and a jarring sensation sent up through the cabin – something Comfort mode couldn’t quite counteract.
|Key details||2022 Skoda Superb Sportline wagon|
|Engine||2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power||206kW @ 6500rpm|
|Torque||350Nm @ 1700–5600rpm|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Six-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||127kW/t|
|Tow rating||2200kg braked, 750kg unbraked|
Much like the trendy parents who make up most of its target market, the Superb wagon is an excellent multitasker.
The Sportline variant offers a reasonable price point, manageable servicing costs, and a comprehensive level of standard safety and technology, making it the perfect mid-point in an ever-dwindling segment.
It’s also a fantastic option for families who don’t want to sacrifice form in favour of function.
Supreme storage, a beautifully executed, thoughtfully laid-out cabin, and a punchy, enjoyable driver experience at speeds of 50km/h and above are particular highlights.
The best part, though? There’s stock! At the time of writing, I spoke to a Skoda dealer who said roughly 80 per cent of their stock consisted of Superb wagons – a major drawcard in a climate where getting your hands on a car is harder than trying to catch a footy covered in Vaseline.
However, some buyers – particularly those transitioning out of an SUV – might find the Superb’s ride isn’t quite as cushioned as it could be, and will have to weigh up the potential for increased petrol costs as a result of the elevated urban consumption.
They may also have to get used to the aforementioned eccentricities of the dual-clutch transmission at low speeds, particularly when manoeuvring in parking spots or crawling forward in traffic.
There’s a simple solution for that, though: one test drive and you’ll know whether it’s something you can live with.
Even wagons can’t have it all.
2022 SKODA Superb 206TSI SportLine Wagon
Interior Comfort & Packaging
Infotainment & Connectivity
Susannah Guthrie has been a journalist since she was 18, and has spent the last two years writing about cars for Drive, CarAdvice, CarSales and as a motoring columnist for several in-flight and hotel magazines. Susannah’s background is news journalism, followed by several years spent in celebrity journalism, entertainment journalism and fashion magazines and a brief stint hosting a travel TV show for Channel Ten. She joined Drive in 2020 after spending a year and a half at the helm of Harper’s BAZAAR and ELLE’s online platforms. Susannah holds a Bachelor in Media and Communications from the University of Melbourne and cut her teeth as an intern for Time Inc in New York City. She has also completed a television presenting course with the National Institute of Dramatic Art. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and her one-year-old son who, despite her best efforts, does not yet enjoy a good road trip.