Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. As do cars. Those with mini mutts won’t need to compromise their car choice as their beloved pets will usually be happy in the back seat. But when dogs get to a certain size, their needs can start to influence vehicle choice. Even those with smaller dogs often prefer to transport their precious pets in dog crates, which often need even more space in car boots.
Assuming you’d have your Yorkie on your lap, this list for dog owners describes the best cars for larger dogs and dog crates.
This Kia offers a lot for dog owners with a small budget, with a massive boot and even bigger range of accessories – from a variety of guards to boot liners and complete cages and crates. The 2016 model also gave a little more space in the boot and has been praised for holding its value better than many in its category.
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Not everyone needs enough space for three Irish deer hounds, and many people need a practical city car – something with a spaniel-sized dog in mind. With an almost vertical rear window the small space goes a long way for dogs and choices of guards abound. The Mini is also a lot lower than its SUV rivals, making it easier for smaller and mid-sized dogs to get in and out.
You can get a sense of just how much will fit in the Mini Countryman from this video.
Only in its second generation, the Tiguan already outsells all VW models except the Polo and Golf here in the UK. The 2018 Tiguan offers more than its predecessors, with more boot space to include one or more of the many doggy accessories – dividers, boot liners and cages – on offer from third parties.
It’s hard to beat a boot size of 981 litres – though Land Rover includes the generous space up to the roof in this (actually its floor space is the same as the Nissan X-Trail). This may suit owners with very large dogs, especially ones who prefer to sit rather than lay down in the car. As with the Nissan, Land Rover offer a range of Pet Pack optional extras, including elements such as an access ramp and dog shower! The boot also has few intrusions so it’s also suitable for large dog crates. The automotive media have also noted the SUV for its good ride, which may give it an edge over its rivals.
SUVs and 4x4s often have space to spare, but they’re not to everyone’s taste. A classic dog-friendly car is the Volvo estate, in particular, the V70. Older models were boxy, which gave good height right to the back. More recent models have lower roofs, but thanks to its wide berth, low boot lip, flat floor and reduced wheel arch intrusion, the V70 still offers lots for dog owners – especially for those that don’t want to help/lift their dog into the car. The ubiquity of the car has also meant there are a number of cage/dog guard options for V70 owners.
With the Passat, you’re buying a classy road car with a high-quality build as well as a boot that’s larger than you might expect: beating the equivalent Vauxhalls (Astra Sports Estate) and SEATs (Leon ST Estate) in terms of size. There are also a range of cages, dividers and fitted dog beds available for the Passat, making it easy for owners to customise the space as needed.
The Nissan X-Trail SUV has a generous boot, even with the seats up. The incline of the back window isn’t too steep – it’s easy to see the floor space and forget that its value can be lost by a steep rear window.
Conscious of its potential audience and the height of the boot, the X-Trail has the option of a useful add-on. The Paw Pack is a £600 bundle that includes a ramp (to help dogs into the boot), a boot liner, a hanging storage rack (for leads, treats, jackets etc.), a spill-resistant water bowl, a dog bed (demonstrated in the video below) and a shower. The only challenge is finding a dog guard to fit.
Up at the pricier end of the market is this surprise: a Porsche offering one of the biggest boots available to man, woman or beast. Any dog would have a spacious ride and the model also houses cages, guards, crates and boxes with ease. As well as a roomy boot for your pet(s) you get a high-spec, high-performance SUV from the German sports car legend.
MCV stands for ‘maximum capacity vehicle’ and the estate version certainly delivers a lot of space for a small price tag. Romania’s Dacia are a lesser known marque but have reputable backing, co-produced by the French manufacturer Renault since 2004. Size is the focus of the model but comes at the expense of tech and gadgets, which may suit dog owners who know that pretty interiors rarely remain that way for long when pets are involved.
The Superb Estate offers one of the biggest boots you can buy. The rest of the car is also large and with some clever practical touches it’s ideal for a big family with big pets – though some of the height is reclaimed by the slanting rear window.