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First Drive

Skoda Superb review: Leon Cupra-engined SportLine driven

£34,275 when new
Published: 05 Dec 2016


  • BHP


  • 0-62


  • CO2


  • Max Speed


  • Insurance


What is it?

Skoda’s large-but-cheap Superb all-wheel-drive saloon, this time fitted with the same turbo four from the Seat Leon Cupra, good for a healthy 276bhp. This car is also in ‘Sportline’ trim, which brings a few little extras, like 19in wheels, black accents, a 15mm suspension drop, an electronic diff and slightly massaged bumpers. Oh, and fabric sports seats. We like the seats.

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Any good?

Bluntly, yes. The engine doesn’t sound particularly spine-tingling, but there’s a level, metered delivery and plenty of attitude when it needs it. The DSG is only six-speed and slightly more hesitant than the ones you find in the latest VW or Audi products, but again, it works well in context. All the figures feel easily attainable, and the all-wheel drive apportions power without being too obvious about it - wheelspin isn’t really an issue unless you abuse it. Obviously we abused it, and found that the fronts will spin on a greasy road and throw torque rearwards, at which point the rears will stutter until everything sorts itself out. But generally it feels secure and tidy, with a side-order of confidence. 

So it’s fast then…

Anything that runs to 62mph sub-six is quick, but the Superb is genuinely useable. The suspension is soft pretty much no matter what mode you put it in, so it’d be useless on a track, but on the kind of roads we have the pleasure of driving on in Europe, it works brilliantly. The steering could be a bit more aggressive, and it could really do with some slightly stiffer springing and more expensive damping - you can get a double bobble from the front end over big bumps - but then it wouldn’t be as comfy or as cheap…

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Sounds like it’s not sure what it is?

Not at all. The best thing the Superb does is be big, cheap and well-sorted. This is a rapid car that’s still huge on the inside, beautifully comfortable and all for relatively little cash. Even with a few options it’s only £35k - you’re genuinely getting a cliché-tastic ‘lot of car for the money’. It also looks really rather good. Stick it on steel wheels and winter tyres and you’ve got a proper street sleeper.

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