Skoda’s flagship family wagon is a clever, spacious, well-mannered alternative for suburban SUVs, writes Andrew MacLean

 

Why are we driving it?

Skoda has recently launched its all-new second-generation Superb range and we’re moving our way through the six different variants – three sedans and three wagons.

This is the range-topping station wagon with the most powerful version of the 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive transmission.

 

2016 SKODA SUPERB 206TSI WAGON

On sale: Now

Price: $52,690 (plus on-road costs)

Engine: 2.0-litre four cylinder turbo petrol

Power: 206kW at 6500rpm

Torque: 350Nm at 1700-5600rpm

Transmission: 6-spd dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive

Fuel use: 7.3L/100km

 

What we like

First of all, the sheer amount of interior space offered by the Superb is almost unmatched for the price.

It’s enough to question why anyone would need a modern soft-roader for suburban duties.

While there’s plenty of room up front, there’s acres in the back seat for growing families and the boot is bigger than you’ll ever need to cart the weekly shopping or sport gear.

Beyond that, there’s a bunch of clever storage features – rubbish bins in the door pockets, umbrellas in the sills and myriad solutions in the boot to keep things secure – as well as top-quality materials, funky green ambient lighting at night, Apple CarPlay connectivity and comfortable seats.

The Superb drives really well, with good compliance over bumps, positive steering, solid brakes and the traction of all-wheel drive in slippery conditions.

The engine has plenty of punch when tapping into its top-end, but cruises along nicely, too, thanks to low-down urgency from its turbo charger.

It’s all backed-up with the latest in electronic driver aids, including automated emergency braking, as well as nine airbags.

 

What we dislike

The biggest problem afflicting Skoda remains acceptance of the brand in Australia.

While the $52,000-odd ask for the flagship wagon makes it a great buy, it doesn’t hold its value as well as other European brands.

Industry forecasts suggests the Superb will retain just 40 per cent of its value over the first three years of ownership, so take that into account during the purchasing decision.

The recent Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal has also taken some wind out of Skoda, even though this latest Superb is not part of the emission-cheating recall.

As for the car itself, there’s very few gripes.

But it’s debatable whether the flagship is worth the extra $10,000 over the base model Superb, which is just as spacious and drives just as well, even without all-wheel drive and with a less-powerful, 162kW motor.

 

Would we buy it?

Yes. The Superb is a very under-rated car that offers a genuinely clever, well-mannered and value-packed alternative to SUVs.

It looks smart on the outside, is spacious on the inside and drives beautifully on the road.

Just don’t expect it to be an easy sell when it comes time to trade up to something else in a few years time.

The Age