If you’re like most dog parents who love to take their furry friends along for the ride, there are a number of things to look for when shopping for a new car or SUV.
First, consider how easy it will be for your dog to get in and out of your vehicle. A big lifted pickup truck might not be the best option for taking your elderly dog, or tiny pup, with you. Look for something with a lower profile and preferably a hatchback so your dog — regardless of age or size — can easily and comfortably jump in when it’s time to go.
You’ll also want something that’s roomy enough. Putting a big dog in a small car will be fine if it’s just the two of you, but add a few more passengers and some cargo and things might get a little furry.
Something that’s easy to clean is also important. Waterproof seats, removable mats, and a plastic or rubber interior versus a carpeted or fabric interior makes a world of a difference when it comes to cleaning up dog fur, mud, and the occasional mishap that I don’t need to mention specifically. Dog parents, you know what I’m talking about here.
Now let’s explore a few ideal cars and SUVs for driving with your dog.
- Honda Element
The Honda Element is one of the best vehicles for dogs for so many reasons. There’s even a dog-friendly package you can get that comes with a ramp, special seat covers, a spill-proof water bowl, built-in kennel, a ventilation fan and more. The low profile and wide-opening back door makes getting in and out a breeze. A large interior with lots of windows provides space and ventilation. Waterproof seats and a waterproof interior are so easy to clean up after a muddy and fun day at the lake.
2. Volvo XC70
This all-wheel drive station wagon has a low profile with a lot of space. The excellent mpg — between 19 and 25 mpg on average — makes it the perfect vehicle for everyday driving, plus longer getaways. A split-folding rear seat combined with an optional compartment cargo divider means that you can really make the most of your space. Use the steel safety grill to divide the car into a dog space and a separate cargo space to keep your stuff safely stored and your dog safely secured. A luggage net helps keep things in place, making for an even safer and secure time traveling with your dog.
3. Honda Odyssey
Among the dog-friendly features of the Odyssey is a built-in vacuum cleaner, which is such a convenient feature for owners of breeds that shed a lot. There are also window screens that allow for extra shade to keep your dog protected from the sun on drives. Lots of room and rear ventilation rounds out the perks of the Odyssey.
4. Kia Soul
If you’re looking for a dog-friendly ride on a budget without sacrificing any of the top features you’d want, you have to check out the Kia Soul. You can get one of these for not much over $10,000, and you’ll get an average of 30 mpg. Combine those money-saving features with folding seats, special glass that prevents heat build-up, an extra large panoramic roof, rear-seat heat, and a large hatchback and you’ll see why it’s the perfect ride for dogs and their owners.
The 2017 Toyota Corolla may not seem like a super dog-friendly option at first consideration, but for a sedan, it’s a favorite amongst dog owners largely in part due to all of the dog accessories you can buy for it. Bench seat covers help protect your seats and cargo liners protect your interior. Speaking of the interior, it’s deceptively roomy inside, so your dog will have plenty of room to stretch out in a Toyota Corolla.
6. Toyota FJ Cruiser
The FJ Cruiser is top when it comes to features like waterproof interiors and lots of space. You’ll never have to worry about mud or other messes. Safety issues are also addressed here with the impressive amount of airbags — six to be exact — and reinforced door beams to protect you and your dog in the event that you’re hit from the side. If you and your dog love to explore, get muddy, and stay safe while doing so, you should consider the FJ Cruiser as a fun and funky option for dog-friendly adventuring.