If you’re like many pet owners, driving around in your car with your dog is just a part of your regular routine. Whether taking trips to the park, the vet’s office or brunch, many pets spend a considerable amount of time in the backseat of their owners’ cars.
That’s why choosing a dog-friendly vehicle can be an important consideration for pet owners when shopping for a new ride. And perhaps it even explains why auto brands like Range Rover, Audi, and Subaru have all utilized dogs in recent TV commercials. In 2017, Americans spent $70 billion on their pets, so pet owners are becoming a significant consumer market.
According to Autotrader, dog owners should look for features like low car height, fold-flat backseats and easy-to-clean interior seats. Rear-climate control could also be a benefit for dogs who get cold easily. And no matter what kind of vehicle you drive, it’s important to keep your dog safe during car rides by using a seatbelt leash or harness attachment that prevents them from flying forward in the event of a crash. Alternatively, some wagons and SUVs have enough storage space in the back to fit a dog crate; securing your pet in a crate is another option to keep them safe while on the road.
With that said, take a look below at nine of the best cars and SUVs for pet owners.
1. Chrysler Pacifica
The Chrysler Pacifica minivan boasts low floors, ample cargo space and sliding doors. So it’s no wonder that the Chicago Tribune named it as one of the best vehicles for traveling with dogs in 2017. The U.S. News & World Report has also raved about the van’s almost completely flat floors and strong seat anchors that are strong enough to tie down crates.
2. Volvo V90
Not only are Volvo wagons like the V90 low to the ground, making it easier for dogs to climb inside, but, as a company, Volvo is also committed to keeping pets safe while riding in their vehicles. In 2018, Volvo unveiled a line of pet accessories,including a dog harness, load compartment divider, dog gate and protective steel grille that are compatible with their autos.
3. Nissan Rogue
The Nissan Rogue may be a compact SUV, but it still offers plenty of space for furry travelers, as well as excellent safety scores. Nissan even customized a Rogue (dubbed the “Rogue Dogue”) with a built-in dog shower, built-in water and food dishes, and a cargo ramp as an experiment to show how pet-friendly the vehicle could be. In 2018, Nissan also released another dog-friendly concept car, the Nissan X-Trail 4Dogs.
4. Subaru Outback
Another SUV that’s low to the ground and easier for smaller and older dogs to jump in and out of is the Subaru Outback. It features an extra-large cargo space and leather interior options that can be cleaned even with the messiest of dogs sitting inside. The Outback also has all-wheel drive and off-road capabilities.
5. Subaru Crosstrek
If you love to explore the outdoors with your dog, the Subaru Crosstrek might be the right car for you. It has off-road capabilities, great fuel efficiency and a spacious backseat. Plus, Subaru offers features like EyeSight Driver Assist that help make it extra-safe.
6. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is considered one of the most dog-friendly Mercedes-Benz models, thanks to features like low floors and seats that fold flat. The wagon also boasts a wide-swinging door and a spacious cargo area that make it easy to load dog crates and other pet accessories.
7. Dodge Journey
While a number of SUVs can fit a dog crate, the Dodge Journey’s floors fold down completely flat, ensuring that dog crates sit straight and are not tilted in the back seat. This SUV also features in-floor storage bins, perfecting for keeping pet treats and toys safe and out of sight.
8. Kia Soul
With plenty of storage space and a boxy shape that better fits dog crates, the Kia Soul is another great option for pet owners. Large dogs should be able to easily jump into the back because of how low to the ground the vehicle sits. You can also buy accessories to make the Soul even more dog-friendly, including seat protectors and a cargo barrier to prevent dogs from jumping to the front seat.
9. GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
If a full-size pickup appeals to you, this large GMA Sierra 1500 Denali has a spacious cab with plenty of legroom and space for furry passengers, as well as heated and cooled seats and a rear vision camera. There are also side steps that help make it easier for both humans and canines to climb in.