We have a new puppy in the family, and if that isn’t one of the coolest things to be able to say, I don’t know what is.
His name is Louis, and this is him:
I will never get over just how much a puppy sleeps
This is him at eight weeks old, so it’s fair to say that he’s going to be an absolute chunk of a labrador. An elegant, blonde chunk of loveliness, but a proper unit nonetheless. So with a big pup comes the need for a suitable car – enter the new facelifted Skoda Superb estate.
Comment down below with who you think is more handsome in this pic
In terms of motorway mile-munchers, they don’t come much more solid than this. And to put the icing on the repmobile cake, it’s as boggo as it comes, being the 1.5-litre TSI.
From the outset, that doesn’t seem like a particularly tantalising package. 148bhp, a seven-speed DSG and not a whole load of torque to get this proper land yacht up and down the country. But we’re not caring about track-focused performance; this time, it’s all about puppy performance.
In his cage. That carrot was almost certainly grabbed from the kitchen worktop
Louis has a humongous crate that he sleeps and travels in – closer in dimensions to a 1950s American fridge than a generic dog basket. Anything short of the most spacious cars on sale will struggle to fit the whole thing in without having to fold the back seats down, but the Skoda swallows Louis’ metallic slumber cage like a treat.
Getting him into the Skoda would be the next challenge. At his age, he’s not able to lollop into the boot by himself, largely down to a complete lack of leg coordination. The ideal solution would be a ramp, but for now it’s a case of grabbing as many limbs as you can and throwing him gently into the cage. The electric boot opening and the nice low boot floor make this a doddle in the end.
Please retain all body fluids for the next two hours my dude
At this point in time, we’re not 100 per cent sure how big (or small) his bladder is. And with a two-hour motorway shlep ahead, we were listening out for any unplanned dribblings from the back of the cabin. If things had gone badly, this article may have been called ‘how waterproof is the boot floor of a Skoda?’, but thankfully Louis held things together.
Big car that's good for big miles
Once you tune out of the rather uninspiring (but frugal) four-cylinder engine, the Superb becomes a fantastically easy car to demolish big mileage in. Being the entry-level spec, you’re not exactly flooded with lovely materials and tech. But the standard VW Group bits are there to make up a very solid piece of kit.
After initially turning my nose up at the small engine in a car of this size, it actually was bang on for this long-haul dog ferrying. To start with, its gentle acceleration meant that Louis could get comfy in the back and completely conk out – even the heaviest right foot couldn’t disturb his slumber. And another benefit was the incredible fuel efficiency. The little TSI engine seems to sip fuel, leaving more pennies for chew toys and poo bags.
Straight out of the car, into the garden for a big pee. Thankfully he respected the boot floor.
I think the main thing I could take away from the doggy transportation was that the estate car as an entity very much still has a place in the industry if space is a necessity. Although many people now default to SUVs, there’s something impressive about a vehicle with a nice low side profile and ride height that can still swallow up shedloads of gear. There are many mid-sized SUVs that would have failed the Louis cage test, needing to lower the seats and go van-spec to get his temporary home in place.
Pictures were not easy
If I were to opt for a Superb, it would have to be the iV – the car that shares its bits with the Passat GTE. The hybridisation is some of the best I’ve experienced and will give performance and efficiency on another level to anything petrol or diesel.
I’ve yet to actually see how a full-sized SUV would cope with the same task (a dog ramp would almost be a necessity with what I imagine will be an elevated boot floor compared to the Superb), so we’ll need to wait for the next canine cruise to see how one of those shapes up.
The golden boy, completely bursting out of his bed