Top 10 Best Cars For Dogs
Looking for the best car to buy for you and your dog? Whether you’re a dog walker, owner, or both, it’s important to make sure that your car caters for your canine companions.
Even if the only time your furry friends get in the car is for a trip to the vets, making sure they’re comfortable is key. This is why we’ve put together a guide to the ten best cars for dogs.
Like cars, dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big and fluffy; others are small and short-haired. Some are young and healthy; others are significantly older or in ill health. For their comfort – and yours – choosing a dog-friendly motor matters.
Looking after our canine comrades isn’t cheap, and while they’re totally worth it, we’ve endeavoured to include dog-friendly motors across a broad range of budgets. After all, leftover change in your pocket means more money for pampering your pooch!
Here are our picks of the best cars to buy for dogs:
- Dacia Duster
- Fiat Qubo 1.4 8v Lounge
- Nissan Qashqai
- Skoda Superb Estate
- Nissan X Trail SUV
- Ford S Max
- Jaguar F-Pace
- Volvo XC90
- Mercedes E-Class Estate
- Land Rover Discovery
The Dacia Duster has made it on to our list for many reasons. A spacious, fashion-conscious family SUV, the Duster delivers on price, starting at below £11,000.
Customisable and available in a range of trim levels, the model was awarded the 2019 low-price family SUV award in What Car’s Car of the Year Awards – high praise indeed.
There’s a choice of three petrol engines, a diesel engine and optional two or four-wheel drive. Likewise, there are four trim levels to choose from, ranging from bargain-priced Access right up to the Prestige trim.
The entry-level petrol and diesel engines are available with two or four-wheel drive, while the turbocharged petrol engines are two-wheel drive only.
Four-wheel-drive versions provide extra traction in slippery conditions and are great for off-road use, especially if you’re looking to park up somewhere muddy for a dog walk.
Other plus points include an easy-to-use dashboard with simple cruise control buttons and boot space in abundance – we’re talking 411 litres with all seats in use and a staggering 1,585 litres with the seats down, which is surely enough room for a dog or three.
Budget-friendly yet stylish and roomy enough for several furry friends, the Dacia Duster ticks all the boxes for the cost-conscious dog owner.
Prices start from: £10,995
- Excellent value for money
- Simple, easy-to-use controls
- Spacious interior
- Added extras are costly
- Interior lacks luxury
Fiat Qubo 1.4 8v Lounge
For those partial to a smaller car capable of going from A to B with a medium-sized mutt in tow, the Fiat Qubo fits the bill. Highly affordable, Fiat’s cube-shaped model is deceptively roomy inside, despite its diminutive external dimensions.
The Qubo offers agile steering and a comfortable ride for a car of its type, the 1.4-litre petrol engine pulls well through the lower gears; while the alternative 1.3-litre multijet diesel scores well on fuel efficiency, offering up to 47.1 mpg.
Available in two trim levels, the higher spec Qubo adds 16-inch alloys, climate control and roof bars. There’s little difference between the spec levels and the extra features can be bought separately with the lower spec trim.
There are no carpets, which makes the interior easy to clean for dog owners. In addition, you get supportive seats, simple dials and an ergonomic steering wheel that enhances the Qubo’s lofty driving position – which is already excellent for visibility.
Cute and mild-mannered, the Fiat Qubo is the very definition of simplicity, which is why it’s made our list. It fits almost anywhere, is a doddle to clean and ideal for cruising around town with your best friend.
Prices start from: £13,360
- Simple, easy-to-clean interior
- Smooth, calm ride
- Easy to park
- Some competitors have more to offer
- Low on pulling power
The Nissan Qashqai is an all-round performer, with plenty of kit and creature comforts for man and mutt.
A variety of engines are on offer, and while your choice will depend on what you want to achieve, for the sake of this guide – as well as your family pet – we’re going to recommend the DCI 115 with automatic transmission.
It offers a combined mpg of 53.7mpg – the best in the range – and makes a great choice for day-to-day life.
The entry-level Visia comes with a DAB radio, USB port and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as manual air-conditioning. The Acenta introduces the excellent luggage board system, automatic headlights and wipers, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a climate control system.
Thanks to the ample head and legroom in the back of the Qashqai, long journeys are very comfortable – even for four gangly adults. Space up front is equally impressive and the boot is bigger than that of the previous Qashqai at 430 litres.
You can fold the rear seats down to create up to 1,598 litres of space, ample room for your dogs and their toys!
There are two movable boards in the boot with all but the entry-level Visia that help provide a level load floor when the back seats are folded. These boards can be slotted in vertically as well as horizontally to ensure small items don’t slide around.
Upgrade to the mid-level N-Connecta to add a seven-inch touchscreen navigation and infotainment system, a raft of safety features and keyless start. Go for any higher trim than that and you’ll benefit from an upgraded Bose sound system, more safety kit and part-leather upholstery with an electrically adjustable driver’s seat.
The top-of-the-range Tekna+ includes upgraded heated front seats clad in leather and a panoramic sunroof.
Not only does the Qashqai sit soundly between comfort and sportiness, it’s also well equipped – not to mention efficient, stylish and practical for pet owners. And that’s why we’ve added it to our list of the Best Cars for Dogs in 2019.
Prices start from: £19,995
- Great all-rounder
- Ample boot space
- Good value for money
- Resale value is lower than competitors’
- Rear visibility could be better
Skoda Superb Estate
With its spacious, high-roofed boot, the Skoda Superb Estate is an excellent choice for anyone with big dogs.
Though it shares a similar price point with Ford’s Mondeo Estate, the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer and Volkswagen Passat Estate, the Skoda soars ahead of the competition on space. The Superb Estate boasts more luggage space than the BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Estate – and interior cabin room isn’t bad, either.
There’s a range of engines on offer – both diesel and petrol. The 2.0L 148bhp diesel model returns up to 52.3 mpg and emits just 115g/km of CO2. But if speed isn’t your priority, the 1.6L diesel will offer enough performance to satisfy most while returning a still-impressive 50 miles per gallon.
For those who travel fewer than 12,000 miles a year, a petrol engine is an economical choice. The range starts with a 148bhp 1.5L, which returns 44.1 mpg and ends with a 268bhp 2.0L TSI petrol, which does 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds but only returns 32.5 mpg.
An automatic gearbox is available with all engines and is standard on some. Four-wheel drive is optional for both versions of the 2.0L diesel and standard with the top petrol engine.
The Superb Estate offers an enjoyable and satisfying drive. It also comes well equipped with Bluetooth, air-conditioning, DAB radio and a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and a system that can automatically contact the emergency services in the event of a crash.
SE trim adds an improved eight-inch infotainment system with Mirrorlink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the more luxurious SE L adds a 9.2-inch touchscreen, satnav, leather upholstery and xenon headlamps.
The Skoda Superb finished 24th out of the 100 cars ranked in CarBuyer’s 2019 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey – four places above the Octavia – and Skoda was ranked a sound fifth out of 30 manufacturers.
More reassurance of what the model has to offer, if it were needed, is provided with a glance over the Superb’s safety credentials. Crash-tested by Euro NCAP, the model has a full five-star safety rating.
Well-constructed and boasting a long list of standard safety features, the Superb provides maximum protection in the event of a crash, both for the driver and any passengers present – of the human or hairy four legged varieties. Of course, with automatic emergency braking as standard, the risk of a collision is already reduced.
As an overall package, the Superb is not just big, but big on all those all-important factors of value, economy and safety for the whole furry family.
Prices start at: £25,185
- Smooth ride
- Safe and secure
- Well equipped
- Expensive added extras
- Competitors hold their value better
Nissan X Trail SUV
The Nissan X-Trail is here for its striking design, impressive off-road ability and practical boot space. It’s the perfect fit for anyone looking to take their canine companion on long drives through the countryside.
There are two engines to choose from with the X-Trail, with the economical 1.7L diesel engine recommended for fuel economy – the powertrain returns 43.5 mpg in two wheel drive or 42.4 mpg in four wheel drive.
Meanwhile, the 1.3L petrol engine produces 158bhp and returns 34.9 mpg. It doesn’t come with four wheel drive but is still a good choice for short journeys around town.
Inside, the car offers loads of space and a good boot capacity. With seven seats up, there are 445 litres of luggage room. With the third row of seats lowered, capacity increases to 535 litres – perfect for a single medium-sized dog or two smaller breeds.
All X-Trail models are well equipped, but you’ll need to purchase the N-Connecta trim (second from top of the range) if you want a satnav. All models have Bluetooth, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels and electric windows. The mid-range Acenta trim has automatic lights and wipers, a better stereo, panoramic sunroof, all-round parking sensors and a leather steering wheel, so could be worth the upgrade!
The X-Trail has light steering, comfortable suspension and suffers from minimal wind noise at motorway speeds. All engines have enough power for rural driving, but models fitted with the least powerful diesel are a little sluggish when challenged.
Despite reserving the X-Trail’s more advanced safety systems for higher trim levels, Nissan was awarded a five-star safety rating by the Euro NCAP.
Overall, the X-Trail makes a great all-round family car, with real utility and the ability to cope on bad roads and poor weather. It’s also one of the ten best cars for dogs in 2019.
Prices start at: £25,795
- Less expensive than competitors
- Retains value over time
- Handles well in poor weather
- Petrol engine doesn’t come with four wheel drive
- No satnav as standard
Ford S Max
Combining spaciousness, practicality and versatility with a comfortable, relaxed and genuinely entertaining driving experience, the Ford S Max is one of the better seven-seater MPVs on the market.
It’s great for big families and it’s great for dogs – and what family is truly complete without a dog?
Inside, you’ll find supportive seats and a spot-on driving position. The car’s touchscreen infotainment system is intuitive, the seats are comfortable and visibility is better than offered by many a rival.
Anyone sitting in the front five seats will be spoiled for space no matter what, and it’s even possible to squeeze two adults into the rear-most seats. All five of the individual seats behind the driver easily collapse flat against the floor and leave you with a load area of varying sizes.
With the seats down, you’ll get boot space of more than 2,000 litres. Now correct us if we’re wrong, but that could surely accommodate an entire pack of dogs.
Obviously, the space decreases the more seats you put up, but the possibilities are endless with the Ford S Max.
While there are a variety of engines to choose from, we recommend the 2.0L EcoBlue 150 manual, which returns a whopping 56.5 mpg.
Prices start at: £26,910
- Great for families
- Cabin lacks the luxury touch
- Not as much space as some competitors
- Rivals offer more safety kit as standard
Though it isn’t the biggest car on our list, the Jaguar F-Pace is a great choice for carefree cruising with your furry companion in tow. It’s tongue-flappingly fun to drive, providing a smooth ride and it looks the part too.
And unlike most other car brands on our list of the best cars for dogs in 2019, Jaguar has actively sought to help dog owners. Enter, Jaguar Pet Products.
Jaguar Pet Products offers a spill-resistant water bowl, foldable carrier and convenient rear access ramp for its XE, XF and Pace series. Also available is a quilted luggage compartment liner and handy portable shower, so you can say goodbye to unwanted muddy paw prints.
Jaguar have also considerately created a rear access ramp, specifically designed for dogs with weak joints. All this can be yours for an added cost.
The all-wheel drive Jaguar F-Pace has three diesel and three petrol engines options. The three petrol engines achieve 0-62mph in 6.6, 6.1 and 5.8 seconds respectively, while the diesels manage 0-62mph in 8.4, 6.8, or 6.2 seconds depending on the engine you choose. As with any car, the petrol engines are the speediest, while the diesels offer better MPG.
Stylish and sleek, the F-Pace’s interior is everything you’d expect from Jaguar, nothing less than a pampered pooch deserves.
Prices start from: £36,820
- Highly customisable
- A great performer
- Practical and roomy
- Not as sporty as some competitors
- Diesels can be noisy
- Rivals’ running costs are lower
Dog lovers who travel long distances can’t go wrong with Volvo’s XC90. Comfortable, consistent and spacious, the model should be a top consideration as one of the best cars for dogs in 2019.
With the seats up, the Volvo XC90 offers 451 litres of boot space. Fold the third row down and the space more than doubles to 1,102 litres. Fold all the seats and you get a whopping 1,951 litres. This alone makes the Volvo XC90 the ideal car for long-distance journeys with several dogs.
Every version of the XC90 features permanent four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox with manual mode, providing maximum control. In fact, a key selling point for the XC90 is its impressive all-round safety credentials.
Following tests in 2015, the model was awarded the full five-star rating from Euro NCAP, as well as a 97 per cent score for occupant protection.
Volvo’s XC90 offers a fine balance of comfort and agility to create a composed ride that’ll help ensure fewer bumps for Fido.
The model is also chock-full of spec as standard, including, adaptive cruise control, a reversing camera, keyless start, auto LED headlights and wipers, a hands-free power tailgate, two-zone climate control, electrically adjustable heated leather seats and a touchscreen infotainment system with all the latest tech. Phew.
Prices start at: £52,235
- Safe and secure
- Large boot
- Great value for the price range
- Infotainment system can be confusing
- More spacious than many drivers will need
Mercedes E-Class Estate
Not only is the Mercedes E-Class Estate enjoyable for your dog, it’s great for you, too. That’s why we’ve added it to our list of the best cars for dogs in 2019.
Its enormous opening and a low flooring provide an easy leap for most dogs and, should you choose to fit the car with air suspension, it can even be lowered for ease of entry.
As one might expect from a Mercedes, the interior is spacious, luxurious and of a first class quality.
All E-Class models are quiet, relaxing to drive and come with an automatic gearbox as standard. We recommend the E 220 with a new 2.0L diesel, serving up 194hp with a return of 55 mpg.
The Mercedes E Class range is cool, suave and sophisticated. It’s not so much a car for dogs as it is a car for people who also happen to have a dog.
Prices start at: £40,150
- Sophisticated, luxurious interior
- More economical than many competitors
- Handling could be better
- Rivals offer a better range of engines
Land Rover Discovery
If you’re planning to ferry your pawsome pals around with a certain level of prestige, you could do worse than the Land Rover Discovery.
Sophisticated, stylish and yet plenty practical, the Land Rover Discovery boasts 922 litres of boot space with the seats down – that’s a lot of room for a couple of furry friends. With the seats up, the car can accommodate seven passengers, making it a versatile option for groups of family and friends of all breeds.
The Land Rover Discovery goes from 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds, which isn’t the fastest choice on the market, but speed probably isn’t a key priority when choosing a dog-friendly motor. What the model does offer that most don’t is ease of control when towing heavy trailers – so you could bring your horses along for the ride too.
The Discovery’s cabin combines luxury with practicality. There’s a whole host of spec to make the everyday easier and more enjoyable, including built-in massage chairs, four-zone climate control and a swanky chilled drinks compartment.
In terms of tech, the Land Rover Discovery features wi-fi connectivity, a head-up display, rear-seat entertainment screens and surround-view cameras. There’s also an eight-inch infotainment display that includes navigation and music streaming even at entry level, so passengers can enjoy plenty of in-car entertainment.
Prices start at: £47,745
- Seats up to seven people
- Enormous boot when seats are folded
- Impressive standard kit
- Not as fast as competitors
- Pricier than rivals
Car person, but not a dog person?
People are different. Some of us love dogs; some of us simply do not. It’s okay not to be a dog person, maybe you prefer pussy cats? That’s fine, everybody’s different. Luckily, this isn’t the place to understand the intricacies of the human experience.
Maybe you’re struggling to understand why some cars depreciate faster than others, perhaps you’d like some advice about selling your car or maybe you’re wondering how to reduce your car insurance costs. If any of these are you, check out our guides below: