Best New Family Car
Skoda Superb Hatch Review
It’s more business than party, but with room for three booster seats in the back and plenty of boot space, we think the Skoda Superb hatch is the best new family car for most people
The Skoda Superb is a powerful and reliable car with relatively low running costs. It's a joy to drive and comes packed with useful features as standard. Add to this the phenomenal space in the boot and cabin; it fits three booster seats in the back seat, and you’ll see why we think it’s the best new family car on the market.
- Reliable and great to drive
- Loads of space inside the cabin and the boot
- Room for three booster seats
- Not quite as stylish as more premium hatchbacks
- Only two isofix points
Inside the Skoda Superb
While you might not immediately be blown away by the Skoda Superb's awesome styling, if you look a bit closer, it really is a smart looking car. But it's the amount of space you'll get on the inside that really sets it apart. We've come to think of it as more of an automotive Tardis than a family car.
There's bags of legroom in the rear of the cabin, which will please teenagers and adults alike. And we managed, without any sweating or swearing, to put an entire travel system – carrycot, pram base, child seat and Isofix base – into the boot, with room to spare for a couple of shopping bags. There are various hooks and cargo nets to keep things secure, plus a ski hatch through to the boot for more adventurous families.
Full marks to Skoda for some brilliant, practical features, including an umbrella that tucks into each door (on SE models upwards), an ice scraper hidden in the petrol filler cap, and a cup holder that grips the bottom of your water bottle so you can open it while driving.
How many car seats can you fit in a Superb?
There is just about enough room to fit three child booster seats across the rear row. We tested it with three kids in the back. You can only strap in one at a time before putting the next seat in, otherwise you can't get to seat belts, but it's a relatively rare phenomenon to get three in a row strapped in, so we'll take it. There are only Isofix hooks for two of the three rear seats, however, and they're concealed with those pointless plastic covers which you'll undoubtedly lose as soon as you take them off to access the bars.
Infotainment and extras
The infotainment system is the same as you'd find in any VW, which means it's simple to use, with clear sat-nav and graphics for selecting the DAB radio station of your choice. There's even – old school – a CD player in the glove box, which we liked for playing old children's stories we’d dug out of the attic. The only downside is that there's only one USB charging point for phones or kids' iPads, which is in the front of the car.
All models get child locks, DAB radio, Bluetooth, air conditioning and a touch-screen for the infotainment system. SE trim adds things like adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, and the cool umbrellas, and SE Business includes sat-nav, front parking sensors, and a wireless phone charger. There are more fancy trim levels, but they push the price up quite a bit.
What is the Skoda Superb like to drive?
Driving the Superb is all about comfort and composure. We enjoyed miles of stress-free driving in peace and quiet (we had momentarily ditched the kids). You won’t need to worry around corners either, as it’s got plenty of grip. The steering is precise, which inspires confidence, but it is quite light for the size of the Superb. This is handy if you’re driving around town or stuck in traffic as you won’t have to put loads of effort into turning the wheel, but we wanted a bit more weight when travelling at speed. It’s not the easiest family car to park, simply because it is so big – a hatchback is better from that perspective – but if you pay for parking sensors front and rear, you’ll gain the confidence, and it’ll be a breeze.
The manual gearbox and the clutch are light and easy to use, but the automatic gearbox (which costs a bit more) is the top choice for an even more relaxed driving experience.
Running costs and reliability
The Superb has a relatively low purchase price; it’s available for less than £300 a month on a PCP deal, it’s cheap to run, and it retains its value well, which is a winning combination. Servicing and insurance costs are also competitive, and Skoda customer satisfaction is really high, with customers reporting few problems with their cars.
The petrol and diesel engines you can get in the Superb are focused on low-running costs, with one of the models (1.6 TDI Greenline) having CO2 emissions below 100g/km. Many of the engines have impressive official fuel economy figures too.
The Superb is our clear family car winner, with its excellent combo of decent running and servicing costs and well thought-out, practical kit – and above all, that phenomenal space in the cabin and the boot.
What are the safety features like?
Safety is obviously very important in a family car, and the Superb scores really well here. It was awarded a maximum five stars when it was tested by safety organisation Euro NCAP in a variety of crash tests, including scoring 86% for child occupant protection. On all versions of the car, you get six airbags, traction and stability control, hill hold assist – which holds the car when you have to do a hill start – and a multi-collision brake system that applies the brakes automatically if it senses a crash, to stop further impacts.
If you go for a higher model in the range, you can get safety tech including blind spot monitors, which are really helpful on the motorway; adaptive cruise control; full park assist, which will park the car for you; city emergency braking; and traffic jam assist that steers, brakes and accelerates at low speed. Pretty much all the bases are covered, you’ll just have to pay for some of the options.
Model: Skoda SE 1.4 TSI
Isofix points: Two
Room for three booster seats? Yes
Price: from £22,120
How we test
Teaming up with Auto Trader, we surveyed over 10,000 drivers to discover which cars really offer value for families. After crunching the data we put the top three family cars through their paces to find out which new car is bestRead more »