It's mid-life facelift time for the Skoda Superb and, along with subtle cosmetic updates to the exterior, new engines are joining the range. Skoda is also introducing a plug-in hybrid model that will go on sale in 2020, but for now we're looking at the popular diesel version, and in particular, the new 2.0 TDI Evo engine, tested here in Combi estate guise.
In the Metal:
Design changes focus on sharpening up the visual appeal at either end of the Superb. LED headlights now become standard fit, and range-topping models get LED matrix headlight tech that can provide higher levels of illumination at night while avoiding dazzling other road users by deactivating segments of light on the move.
Slimmer LED fog lights become more of a design feature in the new-look lower front bumper with a thin chrome strip linking them together, while the grille features double-bar elements to emphasise the more purposeful image. The LED daytime running light design also now meets up with the grille.
Following Skoda's more recent models, like the Kamiq and Scala, the Skoda name is now spelt out across the rear of the Superb in place of the brand logo. A chrome strip runs across the back, too, joining the updated rear lights. Skoda has also added eight new alloy wheel designs in 18- and 19-inch sizes and two new colours, called Crystal Black and Race Blue.
Skoda has applied some minor updates to the cabin of the Superb in the form of new seat covers on Ambition and Style trim levels, along with contrasting stitching on the leather and Alcantara seats and armrest sections. Other improvements to the interior include a larger area for the wireless phone charger in the centre console.
With business and fleet customers accounting for 82 per cent of Skoda Superb sales, it comes as no surprise that the diesel engine powers the majority. To combat tightening emissions regulations Skoda is introducing a new version of its 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine. The heavily revised 2.0 TDI 'Evo' engine has a power output of 150hp and will be available with a six-speed manual gearbox or the seven-speed DSG automatic that we're driving here. New components include the crankshaft assembly and fuel injection system, in addition to the exhaust, turbocharger and thermal management systems. That translates into an engine that is lighter and, Skoda says, consumes less fuel with lower emissions.
Many car manufacturers have had to tweak existing engines to meet the latest Euro 6d-TEMP regulations and, in some cases, the side-effect of these measures has been a drop off in overall performance. The 2.0 TDI Evo appears to have worked around this problem, and it delivers a noticeably crisp throttle response. Some of that could be apportioned to the new turbocharger that features an electric motor rather than the vacuum actuator of its predecessor. Under load and when cruising the engine isn't as vocal as before, helping to add to the refined nature of the Superb.
To a broad extent, road and wind noise are well suppressed inside the Superb's roomy cabin. For those who get to enjoy the impressive levels of legroom in the rear, the Skoda is a car that you'd happily sit in the back of for several hours without complaint. Up front, the driving position affords the driver no shortage of adjustment, and there is a good deal of comfort and support for the back, sides and underneath. For maximum driving comfort, choosing the seven-speed automatic transmission is a must.
What you get for your Money:
Though Irish pricing for this updated Superb has yet to be finalised, it isn't expected to differ all that much from the existing pricing structure that sees the range start at €29,475 for the hatch and €30,675 for the Combi estate. When the full details are confirmed, this section will be updated.
Few other saloons or estate cars come close to delivering the same levels of space and quality that the Skoda Superb offers. The quality of finish to the interior alone puts it at the sharp end of its segment, while an improved diesel engine should go down well with target buyers.