Best Cars for Dogs
Man’s best friend needs a proper ride, tooby Kirby, on
Buying the right car often comes with certain personal requirements that a specific model has to address. Whether it’s spacious interior, a powerful engine, or even something as vain as a slick-looking dashboard. We’ve all been there. We all want specific needs that can justify the money we spend on a new car. But what if one of those needs involves making our canine companions as relaxed and as comfortable as possible? Certainly, there are a lot of people who have dogs and want what’s best for them, including a comfortable car that they can enjoy as much as their two-legged companions. It’s easy to prioritize the needs of those who can verbally address those needs. It’s harder to do it when all you get is a bark and a cuddle. We’re down to try, though, so here are ten vehicles that we think are best-suited to address the needs of your four-legged besties.
Mercedes-Benz GLS - At a price approaching $70,000, it’s easy to look at the Mercedes-Benz GLS as excessive, especially if you have your pooches in mind. But this SUV isn’t just for your canine friends; it’s also for you. The Mercedes GLS as all the amenities you’d want in an SUV, It features a potent 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine that produces 362 horsepower.
It also handles remarkably well for a vehicle of its size, and it provides ample space in the interior and cargo area (it can accommodate anywhere from 16 cubic feet to 94 cubic feet), so you and your dog can stay comfortable wherever you go.
The GLS also comes standard with synthetic leather upholstery, which, itself, is easy to clean in case your dog leaves any of its hair behind. And let’s face. The moment you roll up on a GLS, and you come down with a Labrador in tow, you’re going to get a lot of stares. The good ones, too.
Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes GLS-Class
No list of best dogs for car owners is complete without mentioning the Subaru Outback. Arguably the most dog-friendly car in the market, the Outback checks all the boxes you need when you’re buying a car with your four-legged best friends in mind. The crossover’s low ride height means that it’ll be easy for your dog to get into and out of the Outback without so much as a minute hassle. Cloth seats come standard on lower trim, too, though there are options to upgrade for leather seats on the top trims. Either way, your dogs should find it comfortable inside the Outback, and even if they do leave hair on the seats and mud on the floor, it’s relatively easy to clean.
Cabin space isn’t an issue, either, and there’s plenty of cargo room with a whopping 35.5 cubic feet of space with all the seats upright and 73.3 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded.
Don’t sleep on Subaru’s suite of tech features, including the reverse automatic braking system that you don’t often see on cars with price points of around $30,000. That’s an important tech to have in the event your dog runs behind the car when you’re in reverse. If you’re looking for the best cars for big dogs, the Subaru Outback should be on your short-list.
Read our full review on the 2020 Subaru Outback
Most of this list is populated by crossovers and SUVs and for good reason. Generous interior space is one of the prerequisites of a vehicle that can qualify as one of the best cars for large dogs. But just because crossovers and SUVs get the love, that doesn’t mean it can’t be shared with minivans. Minivans may be a dying breed, but they’re still very useful under the right circumstances. Take the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, for example. It has a low floor, large rear hatches, and wide sliding side doors. In other words, they’re perfect vehicles for your dogs. You’re not going to worry about cargo space, too, when it comes to the Pacifica Hybrid.
It comes with 32.3 cubic feet of cargo room, enough to fit even the biggest of canines.
The fact that the Pacifica Hybrid can run up to 33 miles on pure electricity should also be a bane to your dogs. Combine that quietness that comes with driving on electricity with a plushier-than-expected interior, and it wouldn’t be surprising if your dog somehow ends up falling asleep inside the minivan. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid isn’t as popular as it once was to us, humans. But it’s still one of the best models out there for man’s best friend.
Read our full review on the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is one of the best cars for dog owners, though that distinction isn’t just about the Discovery Sport itself as it is all Land Rover models. See, Land Rover has what it calls Pet Packages, a range of accessories packages meant specifically for your pets. There’s the Pet Cargo Space Protection Package, which facilitates easy cleaning of the cargo area. Among the items featured in this package include the quilted cargo space liner, a spill-resistant pet bowl, and a full-height luggage partition divider that prevents your pet from laying waste to all the plush and quality materials in the interior of your Discovery
Sport. Another available pet-specific package is the Pet Transportation Package, which, as its name suggests, helps provide a convenient and comfortable option to transport your pets.
The package includes a foldable pet carrier, a spill-resistant water bowl, and a carbon space rubber mat. The final package is called the Pet Care and Access Package. Once again, no need for elaborate explanations here. This package is perfect for those who regularly put their dogs in the cargo area of their vehicles. Well, if you’re going to put them there, might as well make that space as comfortable for them as possible, too. This package addresses that, thanks in large part to features and equipment like a full-height luggage partition, quilted cargo space liner, and, most importantly, a pet access ramp and a portable rinse system. With all these packages in place, your dogs will have a ball of a time inside your Land Rover SUVs.
Read our full review on the 2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Kia Soul doesn’t have nearly the same amount of interior space and cargo volume as some of the bigger crossovers and SUVs in this list. But those crossovers and SUVs are considered the best cars for large dogs. What, then, do we have to suggest as the best cars for small dogs? For that, I present the Kia Soul. The Soul offers the same things for small dogs as the Pacifica minivan does for large dogs. There’s enough space in the Kia’s cabin to comfortably accommodate your Dachshunds, Shih Tzus, or Jack Russell terriers. Most of these breeds I mentioned are known to be shedders, but that’s not a problem for the Soul.
It’s not just comfortable for these active dogs; it also comes standard with cloth seats, so even if they shed their weight in hair, it shouldn’t be a problem cleaning the seats.
The Soul is also its own attention-magnet so imagine driving one on the road with your dog curiously looking out the window? Everybody loves to sights like that. For just around $16,000, the Kia Soul definitely qualifies as one of the best cars for small dogs.
Read our full review on the 2020 Kia Soul
Looking for an all-new model that can make both man and animal swoon? Take a stab at the all-new Volkswagen Atlas. VW’s new SUV has space, quality, and refinement that makes it suited as a dog-friendly ride. The Atlas’ spacious cargo area is just the start of it.
There’s also the 50/50 split option in the third row that creates enough space to install a dog crate while retaining one of the rear seats for another passenger. It’s a clever use of space that benefits both the passenger and the little pooch.
Opt for the midrange SE and SEL trims of the Atlas, and you can also score the synthetic leather upholstery, which is a lot easier to clean than cloth-covered seats. These same trims are also available with tri-zone automatic temperature control, ensuring that your pets, especially if they’re seated in the second and third rows can get plenty of cooling, heating, and airflow coming their way. Comfort comes in many forms for your pet pooches. One of them comes in the form of Volkswagen’s all-new SUV.
Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
Dogs are inherently messy without meaning to. That’s why when you’re a dog-lover, you understand that you’re the one that has to clean up after the mess your pets create. What better quality to have in a car, then, than a completely washable interior, right? If that’s the case, the Jeep Wrangler is the car for you. The four-door Wrangler is probably the better option for interior space purposes, but the two-door isn’t tight inside anyway. It’s well-suited for animals, as well, especially if you’re the type who wants to bring them with you to the outdoors.
When those adventures start getting messy, you don’t have to worry about your dogs getting their muddy paws inside the Jeep SUV.
The Wrangler not only has a removable carpet, but the interior is completely washable, right down to the built-in floor drains. As high-maintenance as dogs can be, there are vehicles that are perfectly suited for their needs and habits. The Jeep Wrangler is one of those vehicles.
Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler
There are two Subarus on this list, and, if I’m being honest, this whole list could be made up entirely of Subarus. That’s how dog-friendly the Japanese automaker is, both in reputation and in real life. It says a lot that Subie’s newest SUV, the Ascent, can seat up to eight in people in three rows and still has enough room behind the third-row seats to blow away many of its rivals.
All-wheel drive comes standard on every trim level so that your dog can rest easy in his spot, knowing that the Ascent will make his ride comfortable.
And since we’re talking about Subaru as a dog-friendly car, how about its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show when it was “driven” on stage, not by someone, or even someone and his family, but a family of Labrador retrievers. Do you want to speak to the canine population in the most heartwarming of ways? That’s how you do it.
Read our full review on the 2019 Subaru Ascent