Dog owners are renowned for putting their pets first, and it comes as no surprise that this extends to the choice of new and used cars. Owners of larger dogs have some specific requirements which enable them to better care for their animals, both in transit and off-road; in this article we look at a number of the more popular cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) that frequently appear on these owners’ driveways.
Comfort and safety are paramount; it makes little sense for dog owners to cramp their pet in a confined space, or even to place them in a space where they might endanger the driver or other passengers in the event of sharp braking or an accident. Fold-flat seats are very convenient, and are often much easier to keep clean than upholstered seats. Space dividers which keep the animals separate from other passengers are highly desired too. Other useful features include sliding rear doors, a rear tailgate allowing the dogs to be safely lowered from the car, and a light, airy interior – good aircon or climate control is a bonus. It is handy to have separate storage areas or features to help tie down carriers or other belongings and stop them sliding around the cabin.
Land Rover Discovery
One of the world’s most popular utility vehicles for the public and in the motor trade, the Discovery boasts over 1,100 litres of load, with folding rear seats and ample space to carry everything you need. It’s ideal for multiple pets and also features high visibility on all sides, which is good for both driver and animals. Of course the vehicle scores really highly in its off-road capability, so it’s perfect for getting out into the country where you can enjoy open spaces and walking areas.
Another ideal vehicle for the outdoor lifestyle, the Subaru Outback has the additional benefit of a low load floor, which is ideal for larger, heavier or older dogs. It has terrific rear storage space for passengers and animals, and also has superior off-road capability, with all-wheel drive among the best in this class. Subaru offer a range of optional pet accessories that can add to the comfort and safety of both driver and animals if required.
A more luxurious choice, the X3 is a good choice for owners of medium or smaller dogs; they may wish to pamper their pooch with the soft leather seats, the rear climate control or even open up the sunroof for some fresher air. Like many cars in this class, the X3 also features highly regarded AWD to help navigate roads and trails in all conditions.
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A sensible option, the V60 exudes safety, both for the car itself and also its interior fittings, which maximise safety in the rear compartments. There are rear tie-downs which you can use to secure both your belongings and your pet carriers, and there’s an optional dog barrier which can keep you well segregated. The interior is also roomy and light, making comfort a big plus. Insurance policy costs aren’t cheap, but there’s no premium to put on safety.
Peugeot Partner Teepee / Citroen Berlingo
A cracking option for those on a smaller budget, the Berlingo and Teepee are pretty much identical in style, looks and features. There are sliding rear doors making it easy to get your pets in and out, a large tailgate to assist loading and a simple, easy clean boot that can store huge amounts of luggage alongside the pets!.