Skoda introduces Superb Estate in bid to unseat the luxurious Mercedes-Benz E-class

by SpeedLux

Skoda and Mercedes-Benz are two brands you probably wouldn’t put on a level playing field, but the Czech carmaker’s new Superb Estate might be the car to blur the lines of luxury.

When it comes to big estate cars, it’s all about size and versatility of luggage space, ease of loading, plus quantity and quality of useful features such as fold-down seats, lashing points and cargo nets.

On paper, the latest Skoda Superb estate has everything going for it.

Badge power: The three-pointed Mercedes star is synonymous with luxury, but Skoda is challenging the order by taking a step upmarket with the Superb 


A huge, 1950-litre load bay eclipses everything else on the big-estate market – even that of traditional load-lugging king, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, with its 1855-litre boot.

From a cost and branding point of view the two models are not traditional rivals – but as a practical proposition, they certainly are. 

We compare the £35,040 Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 190 DSG 4×4 L&K range-topper with the £39,995 E220 Bluetec Estate AMG Night Edition.

As ever, Skoda manages to address any badge snobbery straight off. Even before we look at its practicality, we know it’s faster than the Merc, thanks in part to it being physically shorter and lighter.

At 187bhp, its lower-capacity 1968cc diesel is more powerful than the E-Class’s 175bhp 2143cc, too, if not more efficient; the presence of the Superb’s admittedly highly capable four-wheel-drive system as opposed to the E’s rear drive makes sure of that.

But estate connoisseurs are more interested in stats such as towing weight and boot payload weight, and the Superb maxes it here as well.

The difference in boot space between the Skoda (leading) and the Mercedes is 95 litres - that's the same as a large travel-rucksack


When it comes to running costs, another Skoda score is for insurance group ratings, which are 11 down on the Merc’s, ensuring substantial savings on the annual premium. Projected residuals on the used market are comparable as well.

As ever, style and desirability (or otherwise) are in the eye of the beholder.

Is the handsome Skoda more attractive than the boxy, solid Merc? Can you suspend badge allure long enough to make an unbiased decision? That could be the biggest challenge here.

Now we get on to the important bit, the cars’ leather-trimmed cabins.

Quality first: the Skoda’s is, indeed, superb – and it has better stowage and is more spacious as well. Yet the E-Class’s is better still.

Exact carrying litreage notwithstanding, both swallow about the same amount of gear.

The Merc’s boot is wider, the Superb’s has a slightly better load height, but in terms of real-world load lugging they are pretty evenly matched.

Top Trumps: The Skoda Superb is more powerful, fast to 62mph and has a higher top speed than the Mercedes-Benz E-class

There are other considerations, however.

The Skoda alone features a folding front passenger seat; an excellent feature, were it not for the fact that in a slight oversight, the larger of the two folding rear-seat sections remains in the Continental-market configuration behind the driver. Whoops!

As a result, through-loading space is actually better in the Mercedes.

Neither do the Superb’s rear seats fold fully flat; for a false flat floor plus remote seatback-release levers set near the tailgate, you’ll need to consult the options list – as you will for a proper load bay partition. The Merc covers these as standard.

A brief word about driving dynamics before we end.

The laid-back, family-oriented Skoda is more refined and muscular, and feels more comfortable on the road. The exec-targeting E-Class is a touch heavier to control, less cossetting but slightly sportier.

Ultimately, it’s a big ‘bravo’ to Skoda for putting in an excellent all-round performance against an established estate-car king from a class above. It makes an undeniably accomplished buy, for a remarkably family friendly price.

Yet the Mercedes’ experience shines through here, in terms of layout, quality, convenience and desirability. The E-Class remains, in our eyes, the greatest modern estate on the market.

Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI 190 DSG 4×4 L&K Mercedes-Benz E220 Bluetec AMG Night Edition
PRICE £35,040 £39,995
0-62MPH 7.7sec 8.8sec
TOP SPEED 142mph 136mph
ECONOMY 55.4mpg 60.1mpg
CO2 EMISSIONS 135g/km 130g/km
WEIGHT 1635kg 1760kg
ENGINE 4cyl in-line, 1968cc, diesel 4cyl in-line, 2143cc, diesel
POWER 187bhp at 3500rpm 175bhp at 3200-3800rpm
TORQUE 295lb ft at 1750rpm 295lb ft at 1400-2800rpm
GEARBOX 7spd dual-clutch automatic 7spd automatic
The Skoda costs almost £5k less than the Mercedes
Surprisingly, the Skoda should match the the Mercedes (pictured) for value retention

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