Our dogs go with us almost everywhere we go and for us humans, and when they travel with us by car, it’s important that they ride safely and in comfort.
Now, ahead of National Dog Day in the US on 26 August, Autotrader published its list of 2022 Best Cars for Dog Lovers. With almost 40% of US households including at least one dog, it’s important to know what vehicle would best suit your dog.
According to a recent Autotrader survey, more than 85% of dog owners think about transporting their dog when they are considering what vehicle to buy.
Here, in alphabetical order, are 10 vehicles dogs and their dog parents will love. There are no alpha dogs here – just an array of choices, recommended by Autotrader, for dog lovers and their four-legged friends.
2022 Chrysler Pacifica
Minivans make great sense for families and work well for dogs. Small and large dogs alike will appreciate the low load floor and easy entry via the available power sliding side doors of the 2022 Chrysler Pacifica.
2. 2022 Ford Bronco Sport
Ford advertises the Bronco Sport’s “safari-style roof even gives you enough cargo room to fit two bikes standing up.” Leave the bikes in the garage, and load the Labradors. The Bronco Sport’s rugged interior is just what the doggie ordered, designed to be resilient and hose-out easy to keep clean. Ford also has a soft-sided doggie carrier as an accessory for the Bronco, Bronco Sport, and Escape.
3. 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe
The SE, SEL, and XRT models come with stain-resistant cloth seats, while Limited and Calligraphy models get durable leather. An available hands-free liftgate is a dog option, allowing your pooch to make the reasonable leap onto the cargo floor for safe transport.
4. 2022 Jeep Wrangler
Whether you choose the 2-door or 4-door 2022 Jeep Wrangler, you’ll get a dog-friendly off-roader ready to carry you and your best friend to the ends of the earth — and then climb over. Jeep offers a deep catalog of accessories for the Wrangler, including many pet-care options.
5. 2022 Kia Soul
Small and big dogs alike will feel at home in the Soul. It is also the cheapest car on the list.
6. 2022 Ram ProMaster City Wagon
The 2022 Ram ProMaster City Wagon is a fantastic dog lover’s vehicle. It has a comfortable front row and a second-row bench seat that can flip and fold forward, leaving a large, flat load floor in a simple, unadorned cargo area. The cargo hold is accessible via dual-side sliding doors or big swinging rear doors. Ram bolts four D-ring tie-downs to the load floor, which is low enough for a big dog to step into without jumping. Strap a crate in the back or toss a couple of dog beds on the floor, and you’ve got the ultimate dog van.
7. 2022 Subaru Outback
If you and your dog are into overlanding, hiking through the wilderness, or any adventure travel, you’ve probably encountered tons of Subaru dog cars along the way. Because dogs and adventure go so well together, Subaru has many pet accessories for the Outback and has designed the cargo area for safe and comfortable dog travel.
8. 2022 Tesla Model 3
You and your dog may appreciate leather or faux leather seating surfaces, so their hair and dirt can be easily cleaned away. But the Model 3’s secret weapon for dogs is the big glass roof, which makes the cabin feel as big as the great outdoors. Dogs will feel less confined and may be more relaxed in a Model 3 on the way to the dog park or other adventure. Plus, there’s just no beating Tesla’s “Dog Mode.” This feature lets you set the interior temperature so your dog will be comfortable, even if you must step out for a minute. As an added safety measure, a message appears on the vehicle’s screen saying, “My driver will be back soon. Don’t worry, the air-conditioner is on and set to 68 degrees.”
9. 2022 Toyota Sienna
The minivan is renowned as a family hauler. If your family includes a dog (or two or more), the Sienna has you covered. Available power sliding doors on each side with low step-in heights make loading up your pups a breeze. The Sienna’s ample cargo space and available power liftgate also ease access. This minivan has a flexible interior, with folding and sliding seats and removable consoles, and is designed for durability and ease of cleaning. What more could a dog ask for?
10. 2022 Volvo XC60
The XC60 can be ordered with a protective steel barrier, which will not only keep your dogs confined to the cargo compartment while you drive, but will also keep them from becoming dangerous projectiles in the event of a collision. No one wants to think about the danger a dog can pose in an accident. Thankfully, Volvo has done the thinking for you and your dogs.
Research from Autotrader also found that key features for dog lovers include:
- Durable seats — Vinyl, leather, and faux leather are the preferred seating materials for dog lovers, thanks to their durability and easy cleaning.
- Low cargo floor – A low floor makes a vehicle accessible to small dogs and those with mobility issues.
- Rugged interior – Even the best-behaved dogs can accidentally cause damage to delicate surfaces. A rough-and-ready interior can better stand up to dog nails (and slobber).
- Accessories – Several manufacturers include dog accessories, like pet screens, in their catalogs. The aftermarket also supplies great harnesses, kennels, and other pet travel essentials. Some are universal, some are model specific.
- Cargo tie-downs — Automotive pet accessories are much more secure when using cargo tie-down hooks.
Furthermore, Autotrader’s survey research showed that nearly half, or 43%, of dog parents have two or more dogs. Over half, or 57%, only have one dog.
Meanwhile, the majority, or 90%, of dog parents consider their dog their best friend.
When it comes to road trips, 68% of dog parents take their dogs on a car trip at least once per week while 66% of dog parents believe their dog enjoys car trips and 25% of dog parents have taken their dogs on road trips over 250 miles.
“After a few tough years, we all know how much we count on our best friends. And for many people, their best friend is their dog,” said Brian Moody, executive editor for Autotrader. “People are doing everything with their furry companions, from road trips to running errands and everything in between. It’s important to select a vehicle that has your four-legged BFF in mind, from easy clean fabric to all-weather floor mats. Our 2022 Best Cars for Dog Lovers list takes dog-friendly factors into mind to give dog owners the best vehicle options at their fingertips.”
“Our list of the best cars for dog lovers starts with those brands we know have a commitment to pet-friendly accessories and causes,” Moody added.
For those who are traveling with their dogs soon, check out the top 11 things you need to pack for a dog friendly road trip.