They’re our best friends, so shouldn’t your prized pooch get a car they like as much as you do? We’ve fetched 10 of the best options on the road
Dogs are comfortably the most popular pets in the UK with 1 in 3 (31%) households now owning one, up from 23% in 2020. During lockdown, Britons bought four million new puppies, sending the country’s dog population soaring to 13 million in 2022, and the need for dog friendly cars growing with it. Naturally, man’s best friend deserves to travel in comfort and style, so picking a car that can keep your pooch pleased on the way to and from walkies is an important consideration for owners.
Ahead of International Dog Day this weekend (Saturday 26 August), carwow’s Automotive Expert and Chief Content Officer Mat Watson shares some of his top picks for dog owners. From estates that are closer to the ground, to SUVs boasting more space for canine friends, Mat reviews the best of the best woof-worthy wheels:
Our top dog-friendly cars are:
- Skoda Superb Estate
- Skoda Enyaq
- Land Rover Defender
- Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer
- Toyota Corolla Touring Sports
- BMW 5 Series Touring
- VW ID Buzz
- Hyundai Ioniq 5
- Volvo EX90
- BMW M3 Touring
1. Skoda Superb Estate
- 660-litre boot capacity with rear seats up
- Huge 1,950-litre boot capacity with rear seats down
- Large boot opening
- Well-equipped as standard
“If you’re looking for a comfortable, roomy estate, the Skoda Superb is the GOAT. Or should that be top dog? Either way, its 660-litre boot means that even Great Danes and Saint Bernards should have no trouble stretching out.
“What’s more, the Superb Estate has a wide-opening boot that sits low to the ground, making it easier to climb in and out. There’s a slight lip if you don’t get the adjustable boot floor, but it’s nothing insurmountable.
“The soft suspension means that not only is it pleasant to drive, your pup won’t be jostled and jiggled about too much in the back. Lower-spec models represent the best value, and mean you won’t get dog hair on any fancy upholstery.”
2. Skoda Enyaq
- 585 litres of boot space with the seats up
- 1,710 litres with the seats folded
- Affordable, practical electric SUV
- Range of over 300 miles
“Sticking with Skoda for a moment, because if you’re thinking the Superb Estate sounds great, but you’d prefer an electric vehicle, then Skoda has another option to tempt you.
“The Enyaq has one of the biggest boots of any electric family car. It’s beaten by the Tesla Model Y, but that has a very sloped rear roof that’s not particularly dog-friendly. The Skoda has a blockier rear end that means your dog will have lots of headroom. The downside is that there’s a bit of a lip to jump over.
“There’s little sacrifice for human passengers, either, as the cabin is spacious and comfortable. And with most versions having an official range in excess of 300 miles, the world is your dog park.”
3. Land Rover Defender
- 786-litre boot in the 110 model
- 1,094-litre boot in the 130 model
- Over 2,000 litres of seats down space in the 130
- Loads of off-road ability
“By their very nature, dog walks tend to take place in the wild outdoors. So what could be better for getting to the best spots than one of the best off-roaders in the business?
“The Land Rover Defender has a massive boot – if you avoid the three-door 90 model. Go for the 110 and you have 786 litres of space, or the stretched 130, which has more than 1,000 litres even with the second row of seats in place. Your dog will think it’s moved to a mansion.
“Although the cabin is posher than Defenders of old, it still has the rugged appeal of a proper workhorse 4×4 in the boot, so you don’t have to worry about getting mud out of fancy carpets.”
4. Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer
- 608 litres with the seats up
- 1,634 litres of seats down space
- Plug-in hybrid is a bit less spacious
- Rare electric estate
“The latest Vauxhall Astra is a handsome thing, but it’s far from form over function as it comes with a usefully large 608-litre boot, or a cavernous 1,634 litres if you fold the rear seats down.
“What’s more, it’s available with a plug-in hybrid (which reduces boot capacity a bit, but not enough that Fido will notice) to keep running costs low. And even more interesting is that, while electric estates are rather rare, the Astra Sports Tourer will soon be offered as an EV.”
5. Toyota Corolla Touring Sports
- 581-litre boot capacity with rear seats up
- Comfortable ride quality will keep your dog happy
- Large boot opening with flat load bay
- 2.0-litre model offers some additional zip
“Electric cars have their benefits, but they don’t suit everyone. However, when it comes to carrying your pets in an eco-friendly way, there are worse ways to do it than in the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports hybrid.
“While it isn’t as spacious as some similarly-sized estates, the Toyota’s 581-litre boot is still plenty big enough for carrying dogs about – which is impressive when you consider the hybrid battery packs are mounted underneath the boot floor.
“Disappointingly, there aren’t many additional storage spots in the boot you can stow smaller dog items in, though the Touring Sports’ boot does have one handy feature: its adjustable floor is reversible and has a rubber lining on its second side, which is easier to wipe down and keep clean than the carpeted surface on the other side.”
6. BMW 5 Series Touring
- 570-litre boot capacity with rear seats up
- 1,700-litre boot capacity with rear seats down
- Flat load bay
- Efficient plug-in hybrid option
“There are a few premium estates that are worthy of your attention. The Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class Estate, for example. But one of the best is the BMW 5 Series Touring. It’s just a great all-rounder, being practical, nice inside and good to drive.
“The flat load bay that’s flush with the low load lip is an added bonus, and all cars come with a retractable luggage net that means you don’t need to install a partition accessory to keep your dog out of the passenger cabin.
“The car’s smooth ride helps keep your pet comfy on long journeys, too, though the stiffer suspension on M Sport models means this spec of 5 Series Touring is a bit bumpier over rougher roads. The SE trim does without the sporty suspension and the hybrid engine offers plenty of performance without a huge fuel bill. This would be our choice.”
7. VW ID Buzz
- Huge 1,121 litres of boot space
- Loads of space for other things
- Range of 258 miles
- Looks fantastic
“If the BMW 5 Series Touring is a bit too run of the mill for you, why not try something completely different. The Volkswagen ID Buzz is a real head-turner thanks to its quirky retro-inspired styling.
“But more importantly, it’s also ridiculously spacious inside. We’re talking about a humongous 1,121-litre boot. That’s so big you could fit your dog in the back and still have room for stuff for a weekend away.
“The official range is 258 miles, but our tests put that figure at more like 215 miles in the real world. Still, that should be more than enough to get you to your favourite walking spot and back.”
8. Hyundai Ioniq 5
- 527 litres in the boot
- 1,587 litres with the back seats down
- Wide boot with no load lip
- Nearly 300 miles from a charge
“If you want an eye-catching electric car, but you’re willing to sacrifice some space in exchange for more range, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a good option. The long range model gets 298 miles per charge in official tests, and although its boot is about half the size of the ID Buzz, it should still be big enough for all but the most massive of mongrels.
“What makes the Hyundai stand out, though, is that you can use the battery to charge and run other electrical items. It means that you can use the car to bring the dog and the family on a weekend away, then use it to keep things like camping equipment and e-bikes working.”
9. Volvo EX90
- 650 litres of boot space
- 310 litres even in seven-seat mode
- State-of-the-art safety tech
- 364-mile range
“Want your dog to travel in style? The Volvo EX90 is a very good shout. Its 650-litre boot should be big enough for most, but even if you have it in seven-seat mode, the 310 litres on offer could be enough for a small pooch.
“If safety is your key concern, then the EX90 is perfect. It’s covered in cameras, radar and lidar to build a picture of the world around you, so it can help avoid – or at least mitigate the outcome of – a crash.”
10. BMW M3 Touring
- 500 litres of seats up space
- 1,510 litres with the seats down
- No load lip
- Wild performance
“While the idea of buying a 510hp dog wagon might sound ludicrous, the M3 Touring would actually make a capable companion.
“Sure, the 500-litre boot isn’t the biggest out there, and the stiff ride might aggravate your Alsation, but you’ll have just as much fun driving to your walk as your dog will have once you’re there.
“There’s no load lip either, so getting in and out is much easier. And if you need to fold the rear seats down, there are handy electronic switches so you don’t need to reach past a slobbering dog that thinks you’re after a post-walk cuddle.”
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