Looking for a car that can accommodate every member of your family, including the dog? You're in good company, with more than 9.6 million dog owners in the UK, there are plenty of motorists needing to tranport their four-legged friends. And, as keeping our pets safe, secure and comfortable is top priority, making sure you choose the right car is vital.
Which Type Of Car Is Best For Dogs?
There are plenty of dog-friendly cars on the market right now, which make it easy to ensure your pooch has a comfortable ride. The key features you’re looking for when it comes to the best cars for dogs include:
- An easily-accessible boot areas.
- Plenty of litres of boot space.
- Durable and easily-cleanable interiors
- And ideally something without an overly-firm ride.
This rules out a large number of cars like convertibles and saloons, especially as the boot really is the safest place in a car to transport your dog in.
Where Should A Dog Be In A Car?
The law is very clear when it comes to transporting dogs in cars, with Rule 57 of the Highway Code stating that drivers must 'make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained'. Not all family hounds will appreciate being restrained, which makes a comfortable dog crate and a car large enough to accommodate them a really good option. Failure to safely secure your dog whilst driving can land you a find of up to £5000, so it's something you'll need to consider carefully and plan your trips in advance.
The 10 Best Cars For Dogs
From large boot spaces and easy-clean loading bays for muddy paws, right through to separate temperature controls in the rear of the vehicle... you name it, car manufacturers have almost certainly thought of it. Whether you are going on an epic walking holiday with all the family or just a quick trip to the shops, here’s our round-up of the 10 best cars to transport your beloved dog in:
- Volvo C40
- Ford Puma
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
- Land Rover Discovery
- Skoda Superb
- MINI Clubman
- Tesla Model 3
- Dacia Duster
- Nissan X-Trail
- Citroen C3 Aircross Hatchback
To help you find the perfect choice for your pet even more easily, we've broken down our list with details on each of the chosen vehicles into the best cars for large dogs and the best cars for small dogs.
Best Cars For Travelling With Large Dogs
An SUV is always a good option when looking for a large car for you, the family and the dog. So why not have a look at the Volvo C40? It’s the second electric crossover from the Swedes, following on from the similar XC40 Recharge, but whereas that car is a ‘true’ SUV body, the C40 is more svelte and coupe-ish. Despite its stylish, sloping roofline, the boot is still sizeable enough at 413 litres to accommodate even the largest of pooches, while the C40 also features an air-quality system which prevents 80% of harardous PM 2.5 particles from entering the passenger cabin. Practical and healthy!
If you have a smaller pooch, you may want to look for a small crossover-SUV to taxi your 4-legged friend to your local walking destinations. Unfortunately, thanks to the great British weather, this means you’ll almost inevitably be bringing in the unavoidable elements (as a result of rain or shine, but mostly rain) into the car with you too. So say hello to the Ford Puma's Megabox, which is located in the boot. This nifty feature comes with a drain plug and waterproof lining, which means you can sling the muddiest items into the Megabox and then swill it clean later. Even better, its positioning does not compromise on boot space at all – neat, eh?
Head here to read our Ford Puma review.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
Looking for something which can accommodate your 4-legged friend without compromising on luxury? The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate is a firm favourite of dog lovers who appreciate the finer things in life. Comfort is a top priority for passengers and dogs alike, and with a colossal 640-litre boot capacity, you can see why. Your furry companion can settle comfortably in the back and perhaps have a refreshing little snooze while you drive to your destination.
Read our Mercedes E-Class Estate review for more details.
Land Rover Discovery
Land Rovers and dogs are a match made in heaven. You’ll always arrive in style in something like a Discovery, which has more than enough space for several spaniels. Even 7-seat models have 228 litres of space in the boot with all chairs occupied, but that rises to a more comfortable 698 litres with the rear row folded away. You also have the option to include dog-friendly extras to your car, including a foldable pet access ramp, a portable shower, a pet carrier and a premium quilted loadspace liner to protect your flooring and seat backs. Classy.
Even something the size of a St. Bernard couldn’t complain about the lack of space if you lease a Skoda Superb. The Estate model has a whopping 660-litre boot. It also has a reversible load floor so you can ensure that your boot stays clean, even after messy walks. The Superb is a very accomplished family car overall, with a hard-wearing interior, great equipment levels and supremely refined driving manners. Skoda even makes it easy for all weathers, with ‘Simply Clever’ little features such as an ice scraper in the fuel flap and even an umbrella in the driver’s door – perfect for those days when the foul weather has caught you out.
Check out our Skoda Superb review for more info.
Best Cars For Travelling With Small Dogs
It may come as a surprise that a MINI would be a suitable car to get your pampered pooch from A to B, but the Clubman is ideal as it has twin-opening doors that can open wide for your pal to jump right in. MINI is so focused on making sure your 4-legged friend is safe and happy in its cars that the British company has teamed up with the Dogs Trust charity to provide you with a ‘Dogs Hub’ on MINI’s website, to give you tips and tricks to make your canines happy in the car. Not only that, MINI has a range of accessories available for you and your pooch, including dog guards, mats and boot liners to keep your car clean at all times.
Tesla Model 3
Who would have thought that a Tesla would be an option for those looking for a car suitable for our closest canine companions? If you lease a Model 3 you can enjoy Tesla's ‘Dog Mode’. No, it’s not a setting where your 4-legged friend takes to the wheel while you sit back and relax (unfortunately), but instead when set this mode keeps the in-car cabin temperature stable when it’s locked and switched off. This means if you need to quickly leave the dog(s) in the car for a few minutes while you pop to get a pint of milk, your pet won’t overheat in the vehicle. It even puts a message up on the screen, informing anyone concerned about the dog who is near the car that the pet within is perfectly safe and comfortable. Seriously, what other manufacturer offers Dog Mode?!
If you’re looking for something cost-effective for you and your furry best friend, take a look at Dacia Duster leasing. This small crossover-SUV is brilliant if you’re looking for something with space and has a well-shaped boot that has enough room for larger dogs. It’s easy to clean, too. If outdoor adventures are one of your favourite pastimes with your canine chum, the Duster has high ground clearance so you can go off-road for you and your pal to enjoy some of the more remote walking expeditions.
Nissan has really thought of everything when thinking of you and man's best friend. The X-Trail is a fantastic family SUV that has everything you need – space, comfort and affordability. If keeping your dog happy and comfortable is a top priority for you, then Nissan has a pet-friendly option bundle that is aptly named ‘Paw Pack’. This gives you a boot liner, a hanging storage rack, a dog bed and a spill-resistant water bowl too. It also comes with a ramp to help smaller or less able dogs get into the boot, and a dog guard which separates the boot from the rest of the car. Brilliant!
Citroen C3 Aircross Hatchback
If you have your very own wolf pack, you may want to look at leasing a Citroen C3 Aircross. This small crossover-SUV may seem small but it is deceptively tall, so it feels spacious – perfect if you have a 4-legged friend on board. Its soft suspension makes it great for long journeys too. In terms of boot space, you have a 410-litre cavern (increased to 520 if you slide the seats forward) for the pooches to play with. If internal storage is what you’re after to hide treats, toys and the necessary poo bags, you can count yourself lucky with numerous handy and clever interior storage areas dotted around the Citroen’s cabin!
What Are The Best Car Pet Accessories For Travelling With Dogs?
Looking to start your driving adventures with your 4-legged friend? We’ve found the best car-suitable accessories you need before you go.