Skoda’s Superb Outdoor offers all-wheel drive grip, three great engines and modestly handsome styling with an SUV-style twist. Is it worth the £2,500 mark up over a normal 4x4 estate? You be the judge.
Skoda offers a choice of three engines under the bonnet of the Superb Outdoor.
The entry-level unit is the petrol-powered 160PS 1.8-litre TSI. This turbocharged unit is one of the mainstays of the Volkswagen Group and it’s no surprise that in a market where diesels are the big sellers, it still remains a popular choice in the UK. The Outdoor is a big car to lug around though and with 250Nm of torque available, you might want something a little gutsier if you’re frequently travelling fully loaded.
In that case, you’ll turn to one of the two versions of the 2.0-litre TDI diesel available. Here you choose between a 140PS and a 170PS version. Sounds simple but actually, things aren’t quite so straightforward as that.
The 140PS car comes with the excellent DSG twin-clutch sequential gearbox, so there’s no clutch pedal, and it’ll do a reasonable impression of a ‘proper’ automatic if you want – or you can take control yourself and flick it up and down the six-speed box.
As a result, it’s the priciest Outdoor, but those looking for more muscle will be drawn to the 170PS car. With 350Nm of torque at just 1750rpm and the ability to get to 60mph in less than 9 seconds from rest, it’ll only run out of steam at 135mph.
The all-wheel drive system offers reassurance in poor weather conditions and this Outdoor will be all but unstoppable if also shod with a set of winter tyres.
Skoda could have really gone to town on this one with loads of cladding, auxiliary lights, big mud flaps and gnarly tyres, but the Outdoor is, in fact, remarkably restrained. In fact, you’ll probably have to double take to check exactly what’s changed from a styling perspective.
The wheel arches are now dressed with subtle plastic spats, and this theme extends to the base of the doors and the bumpers. It’s a little more obvious if you specify the car in a pale paint finish, but darker Outdoor models are very low key indeed.
The 18-inch Luxon alloys are a very nice touch, although perhaps a bit big if you’re really intent on bumping up dirt tracks.
Unfortunately, perhaps for Skoda, the same can also be said for the standard Superb estate 4x4 variant which retails at around £2,500 less, model for model. Yes, you do get more equipment in this Outdoor, but whether it’s worth around 10 per cent of the entire price of the car is a question buyers will need to carefully consider.
This Superb Outdoor deserves to do well as it’s a welcome addition to the range.
But if it’s to compete against models from prestige brands like Audi, then Skoda dealers will need to sell it with great awareness of the fact that their buyers typically have very different spending patterns and will want a very sharp bottom line.
If this car can be delivered to them with exactly that, it might well do decent business for its Czech masters.