If you’re a dog owner, you may often take your dog with you in the car, whether it’s a quick trip to a regular walking spot or a longer drive for a family holiday.
When taking your dog on car journeys, you want it to be easy and simple: your dog needs to be able to get in and out of the car easily and then have a safe, stress-free journey in a vehicle that has enough room for them. Also, you don’t want them distracting you while you drive, so they need to be properly restrained.
If you’re thinking about buying a new car, it’s a good opportunity to consider what would suit your dog best, alongside the rest of the family.
For a start, the AA suggests you generally need the following:
- Enough space for your dog to comfortably sit, lie down and turn around.
- Good suspension for a steady ride.
- The capacity to fit a pet harness, dog grill, or pet crate.
- A low boot so your dog doesn’t damage their legs jumping out (or make sure you can easily lift your dog in and out of the car).
- Electric windows which can be operated from the driver’s seat to provide air for your dog.
Here are five cars that come highly recommended for dog owners:
Nissan X-Trail SUV
This SUV is a top pick for Car Buyer, which describes it as “spacious, comfortable and easy-to-recommend SUV”.
It has a high ride height, which may not be ideal for all dog owners, but Nissan has the answer: the Paw Pack. Pay £500 and suddenly your dog has its own “bespoke travel compartment”, as Nissan puts it, complete with “a Foldaway Dog Ramp and bag for storage, Dog Guard, Trunk Liner, Super Soft Dog Bed and Seat Back Tidy”.
Nissan isn’t the only car maker to offer pet-friendly extras to car buyers, to improve accessibility or keep the car clean, so when you choose a vehicle, be sure to check what’s available. It may be worth paying the extra.
Land Rover Discovery
Auto Trader names the Land Rover Discovery as one of the best cars for dog owners.
As well as having plenty of room, the website praises its off-roading ability. “If you fancy taking your pack for a walk in the wilderness, the Disco will get you further into the countryside than anything else,” it says.
Land Rover also offers a Pet Pack as an optional extra, which, like Nissan’s Paw Pack, includes a ramp to help your dog get in and out of the car.
Honda Civic Tourer
The AA praises the Honda Civic Tourer for being both stylish and pooch-friendly: “Complete with a big boot – 1,668 litres with rear seats folded flat – including underfloor storage and a knee height lip, it’s extremely dog-friendly,” it says.
The AA adds: “Inexpensive dog guards and boot lip protectors are also available, making car maintenance easier.”
Skoda Superb Estate
This estate is widely recognised as one of the best cars for dogs.
According to What Car? “It's got more space inside for your family and their luggage than most other cars in this class, it's decent to drive and it won't break the bank to buy or run. It really is a great all-rounder.”
The AA adds of the Superb: “Excellent as a motorway cruiser or country adventurer – with a 4-wheel drive option available – it provides a comfortable and relaxing journey for everyone, whether they’ve got 2 legs or 4.”
Mercedes E-Class Estate
This estate is a pick for dog-owners who can afford a bit of luxury, but without sacrificing on space; it has a particularly large 670-litre boot.
Auto Express says this Mercedes is particular good for long journeys, providing “a refined ride and quietness”. It adds: “To protect your E-Class from dog claws, there’s an optional folding sill protective mat and once the dogs are out, there’s automatic boot closing (standard on the All-Terrain model) if you’re busy with wayward dogs.”