By: Sam Bisby
Few of us would argue that we’re are a nation of dog lovers. Over 8.5 million of our furry friends live in the UK, and almost a quarter of households share their homes with at least one dog. They also share our cars, so we thought we’d check out some of the best cars for dogs on offer at Stoneacre.
So, where to start. Well, just like cars, dogs come in all shapes, sizes, colours and personalities. If you currently share your life with a small bundle of cuddles…sorry, a small dog…then pretty much any sized car will suit you and your pooch. That’s why, for the purpose of this blog, I’ve looked at things from the point of view of a large dog.
Before we begin, here are a few of the essentials you’ll need to tick off if you’re looking for dog-friendly cars.
- Easy-to-clean seats. Dogs have a habit of getting dirty. For some, it’s their life quest, and after rolling in mud, diving into ponds, and splashing through puddles, they’re going to bring some unpleasant gunk and odours into your car. So the most dog-firendly cars will have upholstery that’s easy to clean.
- Quick and easy access. Let’s face it, if you’ve got a dog you’re unlikely to choose a two-seat coupe. Instead, you’ll want a car that lets your dog jump in and out with ease.
- Plenty of space. Big dogs take up a lot of room, so it’s important that you choose a car that gives them plenty of space to sit, lay, roll, stand, sprawl…see, lots of space!!
- Safety first. Funny, but dogs aren’t too keen on wearing seatbelts. But in all seriousness the Highways agency states that animals travelling in vehicles should be suitably restrained. This is so they do not distract you whilst driving, or injure you and themselves in the event of you having to stop quickly. They recommend using either dog seatbelts or a dog crate fitted to the boot to ensure your pooch is fully secure during journeys.
- Large capacity. Dogs are a bit like babies and toddlers – they rarely travel light. So the best cars for dogs will have plenty of room to store those canine essentials, like toys, balls, blankets, food bowls, baskets, leads, harnesses, crates, drinkies, treats and coats (yes, some dogs have an entire wardrobe of garments). Not mine, of course. No way. Never. Honest!
So, that’s the quick check-list out of the way and it still leaves a whopping choice available. To help, we’ve taken a look at the fantastic range of dog-friendly cars offered by the brands available throughout the Stoneacre network.
When it comes to space and four-pawed accessibility, Citroen’s Berlingo gets the nod from many dog owners. With an impressive 673-litres, the boot can easily accommodate a dog crate. It’s easy to get your dog in and out of too. And if you need more space, simply take the rear seats out for a cavernous 3,000 litres – almost enough for an entire pack of pooches.
With great headroom too, it’s ideal for those in-and-out ‘walkie’ sessions; especially handy if you have a couple or more boisterous boys or girls to transport. Definitely worth including on our list of best cars for dogs.
Citroen Berlingo Multispace
Billed as the ‘ideal choice for drivers with big families’ the Fiat Doblo certainly sounds like it ticks all the right boxes; especially if your family is made up of furry chums.
Very similar to Citroen’s Berlingo, the Fiat Doblo comes equipped with an easy-to-load boot and enough room to make your dogs feel relaxed and comfortable during the journey. If that’s not enough, you can always triple the space available by folding down or even removing some of the seven seats. This will give you as much as 3,200 litres – almost enough room to let the dogs go ‘walkies’ without even leaving the car.
We’ve tried not to simply choose the largest model from each manufacturer’s range in our list of best cars for dogs; that would be too easy and it would also be cheating. It wouldn’t be practical either – not all of us can afford to splash out on huge SUVs and 4x4 mammoths. So we’ve included the more conventional Hyundai i30 Tourer; blending the virtues of a standard family saloon with a number of key dog-friendly features.
Take the car’s space, for instance. It can certainly rival those chunkier SUVs for boot space and the car’s safety features certainly help to keep you and your dogs safe. The car’s low loading deck makes it easy and pleasurable for your dogs to jump in and out. Plus, with plenty of handy storage compartments, you’ll find great places to pack away your pooch’s essentials.
Hyundai i30 Tourer
The Ford Kuga’s size and even its shape makes it one of the most dog-friendly cars and we think it might have been designed by a dog owner. It’s certainly big enough to cope with a couple of bigger beasts, with over 450-litres of space in the boot. Ford supply bespoke boot liners too, to help you keep the contents of dirty paws and sloppy chops contained.
A flat load space and no awkward boot lip mean it’s relatively easy for your dog to get in and out too. Better still, Ford’s optional hands-free tailgate is a real plus when you’re juggling several leads, or trying to coax reluctant passengers back on-board.
Let’s face it, we could have selected any model from Jeep’s great range and it would have been perfect for you and your dogs. Jeeps are designed and built for the outdoors, and so are dogs! Sounds like a perfect match.
The Wrangler is perhaps Jeep’s most ‘traditional’ model and is definitely built for any challenge. It can deal with the toughest terrain and the toughest of dogs too. So if you need a car that’s built to handle everything you and your pack can throw at it – whatever the weather, whatever the environment - check out Jeep’s Wrangler.
The Nissan’s X-Trail is well big! Its sheer size makes it the perfect car for drivers with dogs to transport and certainly a contender in our best cars for dogs list; something Nissan have now recognised. The brand’s recently announced ‘concept’ car is the Nissan C-Trail 4Dogs, and boasts that it comes ‘complete with everything you’ll ever need’ for your furry friends.
This includes wipe-clean premium leather upholstery, pull out shower and doggie fur-drier, plus a slide away ramp, two dog beds, canine-cam, even a treat dispenser and non-spill water bowl. Pity it’s not in production yet. Until it is, the fantastic X-Trail will have to do.
Ok, we’re not going to bang on about space anymore; all these dog-friendly cars have been chosen because they provide enough room to comfortably house a large dog, or two. And the Kia C’eed is no exception.
In addition, and what we think dog owners (and the dogs themselves) will really like is the car’s practicality. There are spacious and convenient cubby holes and door bins, where you can easily store toys and leads and bowls, etc. It’s a good drive too, so no nasty surprises to upset your dog’s equilibrium, or delicate stomach. Oh, and it’s a much more affordable option than expensive rivals like the VW Golf.
Kia C’eed SW
Recently voted 2017 European Car of The Year, we’re guessing it might score top marks from the continent’s tail-waggers too. The SUV’s split tailgate makes it really easy to get your dog in an out, plus the smooth handling and quiet drive, particularly from the 3008’s hybrid engine, means there’s far less noise to disturb or alarm any nervous four-legged passengers.
Peugeot 3008 SUV
As we’ve already pointed out, a quarter of all UK families now have at least one dog. So it should come as no surprise that one of the best-selling family cars is a big hit with dog owners too.
Many choose the Vauxhall Insignia estate version, although the standard five-door hatchback is just as roomy and accommodating. Plus, with comfortable seating and built in climate control, you can certainly keep your dog feeling settled and happy during most journeys.
Volvo’s mid-size V60 is naturally big on safety features, so you and your dog will certainly feel secure. Tie-downs in the rear make it easy to secure any pet carrier and there’s climate control features in the back too, so it’ll certainly be a comfortable ride whatever the conditions outside. Add a fold-down cargo rack in the back, and it’s easy to see why this is a really popular choice from our dog-friendly cars.
So there you have it, ten of the very best walkie-wonderous, doggie-delightful, pooch-perfect and four-legged-fantastic cars we could find – all available to check out, test drive and lap-up at Stoneacre right now. Fetch yourself down to your nearest branch for a closer look at our best cars for dogs. You’d be barking mad not to…sorry, I couldn’t resist that.
Once you’ve chosen your dog-friendly car, make sure you equip it with everything you need to keep your dog safe and your car in good condition. This includes boot mats, dog guards, seat protectors, sun shades, even handy air-fresheners to keep those outdoor odours at bay.
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