A few years ago I was researching dog friendly cars and I couldn’t find any good resources! Certain cars have good reputations for dogs, such as the Honda Element or various Subarus, but I wanted feedback from “crazy” dog people. The kind with multiple dogs in crates, not one or two dogs loose in the car. At dog shows I saw tons of vans and SUVs but I have small dogs, so a bit more flexibility (although now we’re looking to add a big dog to the family, so…). Honestly I think one day we’ll end up with a mini van, which is really unsexy despite being a swagger wagon.
- Space for crates: currently two 28″L x 20.5″W x 21.5″H but planning ahead for a large dog
- Air circulation: roomy with lots of windows that open
- MPG: 30s is ideal but 20 is minimum
- Options: leather heated seats, power everything, sun/moon roof
- Color: can’t be black or any other dark color (and Josh has vetoed white)
Here are my experiences with the various dog cars I’ve tried. I’ll keep updating this as I try other vehicles. These are listed in chronological order with most current vehicle first. Currently I have the Prius.
2015 Toyota Prius V Five
Are you totally surprised to see this car here? I am! I was shocked to find out that the Prius V has more cargo space and overall interior space than the VW had. A large dog crate probably won’t fit but we’re planning ahead for that. The two smaller crates fit perfectly in the back with plenty of space for the dogs to jump up and space on the sides for dog stuff. The back seats incline/decline as well as lay down (not totally flat though) and the rear windows are huge (as is the backseat). The dual moon-roof doesn’t open but aside from that I have no complaints.
2008 Dodge Ram 3500 Quad Cab
I loved this sexy beast but, if I’m being honest with myself, it was completely impractical. I could fit two crates in the backseat but that meant nothing else would fit (I won’t put my dogs in the bed, even with a canopy). The MPG was horrendous and parking was usually a nightmare; parking garages were frightening and driving through downtown Seattle an adventure. On the other hand, the air circulation was phenomenal! My suggestion? Only buy a truck if you need one for truck stuff. I’ll own another truck one day but it won’t be my daily driver, and I’ll own horses.
2009 VW Jetta SportWagen TDI
This was the first car I bought based on the criteria above, and it was a dang near perfect car (plus sexy). Unfortunately it was part of the VW TDI scandal so I no longer have it, and because of that scandal I won’t own another VW or Audi (same owners). And, to be honest, it ultimately needed a lot of repairs so I probably won’t buy another VW anyway.
Newer models of this car were built on the Golf chassis so I believe they’re smaller than the model I had (the VW Tiguan is also built on the Golf chassis). The main thing I didn’t like about this car was the air circulation.
1997 Honda Accord Sedan
I had this car when I got Wally, and even with one dog it was a trial. I could fit one crate in the backseat and had to get creative to make it sit level. It really had no redeeming qualities.
- Toyota Highlander
- Toyota Sienna (or similar)