+ Huge levels of space
+ Strong refinement
+ Low BIK rate
- Limited EV range
- Slow charging
- Some key equipment optional
Verdict: It’s very hard to fault the Skoda Superb as a pure combustion car, and the same goes for this plug-in model. For many, it is the perfect family wagon being spacious and durable, yet polished enough to have a premium touch. The iV PHEV simply adds to this wide spectrum of talents.
2021 Skoda Superb iV Estate review: the five-minute read
Let’s kick off this review with what we already know. The Skoda Superb Estate is arguably the best all-rounder when it comes to larger family cars. It’s incredibly spacious, packed full of clever features, well built, hosts a strong range of engines, is comfy over long distances and presents itself as a rather mature package. Sure, a BMW 3 Series Touring is a keener steer, but in the real world, the Superb is king of the hill in our eyes. Can this iV plug-in hybrid add to its accolades?
In a nutshell, it is the same Superb that we know and love, but this new iV is powered by a 1.4-litre petrol engine and a 113bhp electric motor. Its 13kWh battery powers said motor for a combined output of 215bhp. The aim of the game is to facilitate a pure EV running mode and boost overall efficiency.
Something that’s worth highlighting is how cleverly the hybrid drivetrain has been packaged with the Superb still offering incredible practicality. The rear hatch gives way to a vast 510-litre boot that has a dedicated underfloor cubby for charging cables. Its rear bench continues to accommodate the tallest of adults with acres of space. The only shortcoming is that middle occupants have to contend with a sizeable transmission hump, but that’s also the case for regular Superb models.
Overall the cabin is a fortress of logic with everything sensibly located and falling to hand with ease. There’s a real sense of permanence to this space thanks to strong build quality. You also have the added bonus of the current Skoda Superb hosting the marque’s previous-generation infotainment system – yes we said bonus. Here you can dodge the mess that is Volkswagen Group’s latest unit.
Some car manufacturers have struggled to blend battery and combustion into seamless forward momentum – Peugeot, we are looking at you. Skoda has hit the bullseye with this highly refined drivetrain delivering in terms of harmony between the two power sources.
In EV Mode it is as silent and torquey as you’d expect but combined as a hybrid the engine will quietly bleed into the equation to lend support or charge the battery if it’s low. The only downside is that when the battery is depleted, overall power is notably less. It’s not sluggish but fully laden you begin to note that this car has become a large vehicle with 102bhp.
You can get the Superb to charge the battery to a predetermined level while driving – a great tool if you’re wanting to go electric when arriving into an urban environment. Typically you’ll charge the Superb via its nose-mounted socket, something that takes three hours and 30 minutes from a wallbox. Unfortunately, charging is capped at 3.6kW, meaning that even if you have access to a faster charger, it will still take that amount of time. During testing we got around 22 miles of pure EV range, or about enough to cover the bulk of an average commute.
The Skoda Superb iV is a lovely means of clocking the miles. Its suspension is supple, noise is kept to a minimum, and its steering light when around town. That said, the steering might be a bit too light and lacks the feedback for truly convicted driving on twisting B-roads. If you’re after an engaging estate car you might want to look elsewhere, but for a machine that ticks the vast majority of boxes within the perimeters of family life, you’ll be pushed to find something better.
The Skoda Superb has long been our large estate car of choice, but this iV might just be the one to go for – especially if you want to make a tax saving as a business user.
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2021 Skoda Superb iV Estate interior and infotainment
Durability is a core element of any family car as it has to put up with the brutality of toddlers, dogs jumping in and out, not to mention taking such punishment for years. While the Superb’s interior isn’t the most inspiring in terms of design, it is strong and promotes a sense of solidity.
The lowest trim you can have an iV in is SE Technology, meaning that it at least comes with an 8-inch touchscreen display. This can be upgraded to a 9.2-inch system, but both come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The key thing here is that this is Skoda’s old system, and while not as graphically impressive as what you’ll find in the new Octavia, it’s a million times more functional.
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2021 Skoda Superb iV Estate practicality and boot space
They say that space is the final frontier, but the Skoda Superb has this base more than covered. There’s plenty of storage spaces dotted about the hardy construction of the cabin, and there’s ample adjustment in the seating for driver and passenger to get comfy.
The rear bench will generously accommodate even the tallest of adults thanks to lofty headroom and a vast expanse of legroom. While the middle passenger has to straddle a transmission hump, these rear quarters put rivals to shame.
Its boot is a masterclass in practicality with 510-litres on offer with the seats up, or 1,800-litres with the posts folded flat. There’s a dedicated storage space for charging cables under the boot floor, and the large aperture of the hatch opening is ideal for bulky cargo. A totally flat floor is great for dogs, too – of which you can easily fit three.
2021 Skoda Superb iV Estate engine and electric motor
All Superb iV models get the same plug-in hybrid powertrain. Under the bonnet, you’ll find a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine that possesses 102bhp. It is twinned with a 113bhp electric motor that’s powered by a 13kWh battery pack. In silent EV Mode we managed to get around 22 miles from the car before its engine seamlessly chimed in to take over and simultaneously charge the battery should you desire.
It is an impressive setup that can subtly switch its power source without the jolts and delay of some rivals. Under load, the petrol engine can become a little vocal without electrical assistance, but generally speaking, this is a pretty refined package.
The 13kWh battery takes 3.5 hours to charge in almost any scenario due to only being capable of accepting a 3.6kW charge. That’s a bit annoying as most home wallboxes are 7kW and rapid public chargers are available. Its best application is when plugged in at home at night and taking advantage of cheaper electricity rates, this way your commute will primarily be covered in EV Mode the following morning.
In addition to the environmental benefits and potential savings on fuel, the Skoda Superb iV is also a good choice for business users paying BIK.
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2021 Skoda Superb iV Estate driving
If you’re after the best handling and most fun estate car in this class, head to your nearest BMW dealer for a 3 Series Touring, but if you’re the 90% of the population who aren’t car enthusiasts, step this way. The Skoda Superb does very little to encourage you to drive at a pace. Sure, the rapid torque on offer from the battery is great and there’s plenty of grip to take advantage of, but the overly light steering leaves you detached from the driving experience.
Engineers have instead focused on refinement and comfort, something high on the agenda for anyone spending lengthy stints behind the wheel. All cars get adaptive dampers, and left to their own devices they do a great job of cushioning the ride and soaking up road imperfections. Firm things up in sport for better body control and much-needed weighted steering, but don’t expect a transformation in temperament.
Despite being a big car, the Skoda Superb is a good companion around town thanks to standard parking sensors and excellent visibility all the way around. However, we think it’s a bit stingy that Skoda has a habit of making a reversing camera a pricey option when rivals will offer such kit as standard.
The Superb iV Estate is a very pleasant means of clocking miles on the motorway. It has the strength for strong overtaking but is a relaxing drive when letting the cruise control take the strain. It can keep pace on the motorway in EV Mode, but on longer trips, we found it best to utilise the powertrain as a hybrid and save some electrical power for closer to our destination.
The best large estate car just got better.
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