The best cars for dogs and dog owners

We take many things into consideration when buying a new car: price, fuel economy, maybe even the colour. But how about if it’ll be suitable for your pets?

A 2014 survey by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association stated that an estimated 24 per cent of UK households have dogs. It makes perfect sense then that one in four car buyers should keep their pet in mind when buying a new car.

Some car manufacturers offer dog-friendly car accessories, but the car you buy in the first place can help keep your pooch feeling peppy. Here are ten of the most fido-friendly cars on sale today. If you’ve picked the perfect car for you and your four-legged friend, our PCP calculator will help give you a better idea how much it could cost.

Subaru Outback

Subaru’s spacious estate gets off to a great start as a doggy carrier. The 512 litre boot is more than large enough for almost any breed, and the load lip is low enough for all but the tiniest of legs to jump into.

Subaru offers a range of useful accessories, too; a hard-wearing plastic strip can attach to the top of the rear bumper to protect it from scratches (£102,50), while a dog guard (£267.50) prevents your pets from climbing into the cabin while on the move.

It’s not just dog owners who can enjoy the Outback. Thanks to its no-nonsense, practical design and four-wheel-drive system, it’ll be perfect for anyone looking for a reliable, all-weather workhorse. Or should that be workdog?

Volvo XC70

If the Outback isn’t quite your style, then the Volvo XC70 can offer many of the same virtues in a more handsome package. With all five seats in place, the 575-litre boot is generous, while a four-wheel-drive system can get you to your favourite walkies spots in all weathers. The smooth ride will be enjoyed by all, regardless of species.

The optional dog guard is very well-designed: when not in use, it stores against the interior headlining of the boot, so as to not hinder rear visibility, but can be easily folded down when needed.

Citroen C3 Picasso

Not every dog owner will be interested in large estate cars, though. If ultimate boot space isn’t the number one priority, in purely black and white terms (the only terms that dogs can appreciate) the Citroen C3 Picasso has much to recommend it.

The boot is tall and boxy, so animals and cages are easy to load, while good all-round visibility thanks to the low window line means that it isn’t just easy to drive around town, but helps the smallest of dogs to see out while on the move.

Ford Kuga

While some dogs might find the feline-sounding name troubling, the Ford Kuga is an otherwise ideal dog transporter.

If easy access to the boot is required while your hands are full of small, suspicious looking black plastic bags, the Kuga keeps a handy trick beneath its rear bumper. A simple swipe of the foot under the back of the car activates a sensor which automatically opens the boot.

The dog-suitable extras are cheap, too. For £43, a transparent film can be applied to the top edge of the rear bumper to stop scratches, and the Protection Pack includes a boot liner and rubber floor mats for £89.

Suzuki Vitara

While many compact crossovers focus on style over substance, the Suzuki Vitara has been designed with the intention that it might be taken off road once in a while. While the interior plastics aren’t as soft to the touch in its rivals, they look more than hard-wearing enough to not be ruined by excitable dogs and their associated claws, hair and slobber.

Better still, Suzuki offers a plastic cargo tray which fits neatly into the 375-litre boot, and two different dog guards: one which fits above the rear seat back and another which splits the boot area vertically, allowing the transit of either another dog or some shopping. Either that, or two dogs which don’t get along with one another…

Range Rover

If money was no object, then the Range Rover is arguably the car that every dog would want to be seen in. With 1,124 litres of space in the tall rear compartment, there’s more than enough headroom to sit up and scout for potential territory-marking trees. The split tailgate makes access a little easier, though thanks to the high ride height, smaller dogs are still going to need some help.

Its go-anywhere attitude to off-roading means that you can hike to all manner of places you’ve never been to before, and optional screens in the headrests mean you can put on Marley and Me to keep them distracted on longer trips.

Peugeot 3008

If upwards of £73,000 is a little too much just to treat your dog to a split tailgate, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the Peugeot 3008 uses a similar system.

Depending on the model you choose, it even offers some off road capability. A hybrid version drives all four wheels, and can potter about in near-silent electric-only mode for short distances. Perfect for when the puppies are all tuckered out.

Honda Jazz

While it’s much smaller than an SUV overall, the latest Honda Jazz is just as capable as catering for tall dogs. That’s thanks to its ingenious “Magic Seats”. If passengers aren’t sitting in the back, simply lift up the rear seat squab, and it can store vertically against the seat back, opening up a wide, tall space for the biggest of dogs to slip into. Then it’s simply a case of using a pet harness to safely attach your dogs to a seatbelt and you’re ready to go!

Skoda Superb Estate

The Skoda Superb Estate offers something for everyone – human or hound alike. The driver will appreciate the impressive refinement and wide ranging choice of petrol and diesel engines, while the dogs are well catered for by a selection of extras.

For £30, a dog hammock can be fitted between the front and rear seats, and is constructed from a hard-wearing waterproof fabric, minimising the effects of ‘wet dog smell’. A specifically designed harness which attaches to the seatbelt is offered in a range of sizes, and a boot divider is priced from £105.05. All of these items are also suitable for the smaller Octavia and Fabia Estate.

The Superb is the best of the three, if only for the huge 660-litre boot. It benefits from a wide opening and low loading lip, too. Why swing a cat when you’ll have the room to swing a Dalmatian? Please though, don’t swing either – they don’t like it very much.

Citroen C4 Cactus

As much as dogs enjoy poking their head out of a moving car, it isn’t very safe. We understand that the fresh air might be appreciated though, which is where the Citroen C4 Cactus comes in. Unlike many cars, the rear windows don’t slide down, but hinge outwards – perfect for letting in a breeze while remaining closed enough to prevent any escape.

There’s a pleasing, typically French rugged nature to the Cactus which means that you won’t mind too much if it gets well worn and grubby from dirty paw prints. Up front, it’s easy to drive and very cheap to run.

Land Rover Discovery

It may be longer in the tooth than the average canine, but the Land Rover Discovery is still a brilliant all-round 4×4. It’s comfortable, great on and off road, and there’s room for seven.

In five seat mode, the 1,124-litre boot means that you can play a game of fetch in the back, while the square shape and non-existent loading lip make egress simple.

Paws for thought

Click the ‘select a car’ button on our homepage to start getting offers on any of these doggy favourites. If you’d like to see a broader range of cars then put your requirements into our car chooser and sit back while we sift through the 400+ cars on sale to a selection just for you. Once you’ve found your ideal new car, our PCP calculator can help give you a better idea how much it will cost.

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