Top Five Vehicles for Dog Lovers both New and Used

2010 honda element

There are a few prerequisites a ride must fulfill in order to be a good vehicle for dog lovers. It must be large enough to hold a large kennel. Dog lovers need a hatch or rear door that’s easy to open with one hand while the other hand is holding Fido’s leash. The aforementioned vehicle must be low enough to load older, larger dogs with ease. Finally, it has to have a rugged interior that’s easy to clean out.

These may seem like easy prerequisites to qualify for our Top Five Vehicles for Dog Lovers both New and Used – but it’s not that simple. Look at many of the new crossovers and SUVs out there. The new trend is to have lower, tapered roofs which make storage for large dogie crates problematic. Thanks to body-on-frame or beefy underpinnings – the few real SUVs that still exist have very high lift-over heights, making loading a pain.

All of these vehicle are pretty affordable (because real dog people blow their dough on the pooch – not the car).


5. 2012 Toyota RAV4: The current Toyota RAV4 is a nice little crossover, but we prefer the third generation model. It had a gutsy (optional) V6, optional third-row seats and a swing-open back door. With a low lift-over height and great cargo room (without the third-row seat option), it was a breeze to load big dogies as the swing-out rear door is easy to manipulate. The interior is simple, rugged and easy to clean.


4. 2001 Ford Escape: Every-single thing about the new Ford Escape is better than the old one… except one thing: a dog loving interior. The original Ford Escape had a hard rubber and plastic interior with additional, simple to clean, materials. Space is excellent and it load-in height is pretty good. The rear glass opens – which big dogs love.


3. 2014 Nissan Cube: The Nissan Cube isn’t for everyone. It’s not very fast and the seating position is a bit too “living room sofa” for some. If your best friend slobbers and barks (no, not Nathan or Andre), they will love the Nissan Cube. Backseat room is excellent and, if you’re using the rear passenger’s doors, step-in is very low. The back door swings open, but it’s kind of high for some hounds to jump into. If you add the cargo organizers, the load floor can be pretty flat.

2014 kia soul

2. 2014 KIA Soul: The new and old KIA Soul are great little kennel runners. The interior is simple, rugged and easy to clean. The boxy shape and easy opening hatch make for an ideal, budget-minded dog runner. It’s tighter than most of the vehicles on this list, but it’s pretty roomy when the rear seats are down.


1. 2010 Honda Element: Still the king of dogie cars, the Honda Element is one of only vehicles that had a special dog-friendly option: “In 2007, the Honda Element won the’s “Dog Car of the Year” award. Honda chose to follow up on that with a concept vehicle unveiled in 2009 New York Auto Show specifically designed for canine transportation. It includes a “pet restraint system”, an extendable cargo area load-in ramp, a 12V DC rear ventilation fan, second-row seat covers with a simple beige dog-outline pattern design to match the bed cover fabric, all-season rubber floor mats with a toy bone pattern, a fan, and “Dog Friendly” exterior pawprint emblems. A spill-resistant water bowl, also included, can be placed into a nook in the corner of the pet bed.

The second row pet restraint system is a small net crate suitable for cats or small dogs, which can be belted into place. It straps directly to the lower portion of the seat and the captive animal cannot see out the windows, unlike the pet “booster seats” sold by pet-supply vendors specifically designed to allow small dogs to see through the windows and sniff the incoming airflow.

The pet bed is a thick cushion for the whole of the rear cargo area. The cargo area pet restraint system consists of netting on the sides and the top of the dog bed, as well as a zip-up fourth side to be secured after the dog is loaded. Unless the top of the restraint system can be opened, which is not clear from the press release and accompanying photos, it severely limits the ability of the dog to see out the side windows or rear window.
However, the concept vehicle does not include an element much requested on sites dedicated to Element owners with dogs: roll-down rear windows, which would allow dogs to put their noses outside. The concept vehicle’s windows remain the pop-out vent type.

The package is dealer installed and retails for $1,000″ – – Wikipedia

There is one final note for those of you who love to drive with dogs in your lap. DON’T DO IT!!! What do you think happens when you get hit when a little dog is on your lap? Think of it like this: if you wanted to see your dog fly through a window, get crushed against your chest (via airbag) or catapulted (via airbag) through the back window – then don’t bother securing your pet. Otherwise, the safest way to transport your dog is in t he back of your vehicle.

Think you have a few ideas on what a bow-wow would dig cruising in? Drop us a line!