Us Brits are a pet-loving people, with 26% of us having a canine companion. So it’s logical that when you come to look at a new car, the practicality for your pooch will be high on the list of things to know!
To ensure you’re not barking up the wrong tree when buying a car, we’ve got some things for you to consider when deciding on the best car for your dogs.
Best cars for dog owners
Since dogs come in all shapes and sizes, the chariot for a Chihuahua will be different from an estate for a Great Dane.
There are, however, some basic things to look out for when picking a car fit for your pooch.
First, there’s the boot size to consider. If you have a large dog or a small one that likes to be active when in the car, a good-sized boot is going to be important.
An estate car is an obvious choice, but remember that estates come in different sizes too, so you won’t necessarily have to go too large.
Whatever the size of your dog, you’ll need a boot made from materials that can cope with your mucky pup.
If you want to keep your car in reasonable shape, you’ll have to account for a dog’s tendency to chew things like the trim and pick one that is made for hardy material (also relevant if you have children).
You’ll also want to make sure that the boot is easily accessible for your dog, so the opening of the hatchback needs to be pretty wide, and the floor of the boot shouldn’t be too high for them to get in.
If you need to be able to clean the boot after wet and soggy doggies, or in the event of the odd accident, wipe-clean materials of a boot liner will be required.
The budget choice: Skoda Octavia Estate
If you’re in the market for something that's good value and made to carry your dog, the Skoda Octavia estate should get the rosette for first place.
This VW car has a big boot – it's about the size of two washing machines or the equivalent of two standard-size fridges.
It's also built from durable materials – mostly harder plastics, designed to be hard-wearing.
Engine-wise, the diesel is a pleasure to drive, provides good fuel economy, and is reliable.
The Octavia is the full package that gives offers great value for money.
The SUV: Nissan X-Trail
The Nissan X-Trail is an SUV with a boot large enough for most dogs and a fair amount of luggage (four regular-size suitcases without an issue).
But better still for dog owners is that Nissan also sells an option package called Paw Pack.
X-Trails with this pack get a ramp to help smaller and less mobile dogs into the boot, a boot liner, seat-back storage for leads, a dog bed, and a dog guard.
You and your two-legged passengers will be comfortable, too, in the spacious cabin that can include an infotainment system including sat-nav and parking cameras, the 1.7 diesel engine is powerful enough to make the X-Trail feel nimble on the road.
The compact estate: Seat Leon
The Seat Leon is a stylish family car that's also perfect for those with smaller dogs.
Despite being an estate based on a small family hatchback, there’s an impressive boot, which matches some larger SUVs.
But unlike an SUV, the boot floor is quite low, so it’s ideal for smaller dogs.
The Leon is brilliant to drive and is arguably one of the best-looking estates on the market.
It has lots of options, with 12 trim levels and nine different petrol and diesel engines to choose from, meaning whatever you require there is a Leon that meets your needs.
The larger estate: Volkswagen Passat Estate
If you want a bigger estate, the Volkswagen Passat estate is a good choice as it has a large boot and is built from sturdy materials.
VW uses high-quality plastics, making everything feels solid, so your pet will have their work cut out if they like to chew.
As you would expect, the Passat is a really comfortable car for both drivers and passengers, with all the latest features – whether technological or safety – onboard.
The MDV (Multi-Dog Vehicle): Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
The Citroën Grand C4 Picasso people carrier has a massive interior and can seat seven.
There should be enough space for a couple of smaller dogs or a large one, as there’s a huge boot with the back two seats down.
The diesel engine provides excellent fuel economy and the interior is classic C4 Picasso, with the central speedometer display and comfortable seats that are great for longer journeys.
Plus, there’s still plenty of room for human occupants in the back, with lots of storage for leads, balls, favourite stick, chew toys etc.