Sometimes you need to consider your four-legged friends when buying a car – here are our favourite used cars for dog owners
Dogs and cars go together like horses and carriages – the difference being dogs let cars do all the work and still need a walk afterwards. Nonetheless, we love our four-legged companions here at Motorpoint, and we know that many of you do as well, so we’ve put together this list of best cars for dogs that’ll capably carry your canine.
While this is largely a list of cars with big boots for dogs, we’ve not just focused on space, but other useful touches for pooches, such as durable floors, dog guards, low load lips, plus a comfy ride and handy accessories.
Remember that you legally need to secure your dog either in a harness, secure the carrier they’re riding in or make sure they can’t escape from the boot – you won’t be best friends for long if your Dachshund ends up on your dashboard, or hurts itself or others if you’re unlucky enough to have a prang.
1. Land Rover Discovery Sport
Owning a Discovery Sport but not having a dog is almost as unusual as doing the school run without the children. Reasons to buy include incredible all-terrain capability – for those occasional wilderness walks – and on-road comfort, plus a vast 840-litre boot (if you measure to the roof rather than the parcel shelf) with a flat loadbay that welcomes even the largest of hounds. Bag a seven-seat version and there are cooling vents for the rear passengers too – which obviously remain in place for dogs when you fold the third-row seats down. Land Rover also offers optional Pet Packs for new and used cars, including an access ramp, portable shower, even a nice quilt. We’ve stayed in hotels with less.
2. Peugeot Rifter
The Rifter might be a van with windows, but that makes it one of the most practical and spacious dog-luggers money can buy. There are twin sliding doors and a huge rear tailgate with a low loading lip to make hopping in and out easier, plus a floor wide and flat enough to host an entire Crufts obstacle course. Oh, and enough headroom for particularly puffy poodle perms. Two versions are available – the standard model gets up to 2,126 litres of loadspace with the rear seats folded, while the longer XL maxes out at 2,693 litres. See also the related Vauxhall Combo Life and Citroen Berlingo.
3. Ford Focus estate
The Focus estate isn’t just designed for dogs, a dog literally helped design it, which is wild. The whole thing was a pet project for engineer Rene Berns, ably assisted by his Australian Shepherd Emil, to make sure the big Ford’s boot could swallow Emil’s dog crate whole. Yes, it does look like a dog prison, but unrestrained dogs distract drivers and can get badly hurt in an accident, and Emil seems to enjoy having a short ‘stretch’ inside before a longer one outdoors. Other Focus bonus features include a low-loading lip, frugal petrol and diesel engines and a power tailgate option on some models. Top work, Emil. Who’s a good boy?
4. Tesla Model 3
A lot of cool features are hidden within the touchscreen of a Tesla Model 3. There’s a whoopee cushion function – we’ll leave it to you whether you find it a weird novelty thing or utterly hilarious – as well as access to streaming services for when you’re parked up. But the Model 3 – and any Tesla actually – makes this list for its Dog Mode, which keeps the air con on at a cool temperature if you have to leave your dog in the car. You can also play your pooch’s preferred playlist, and Dog Mode also includes a message on the infotainment display that should stop passers-by thinking they’re heroes by breaking your windows to save your spaniel. Oh, and there’s a storage zone under the bonnet for coats and boots after a wet walk.
5. Ford Puma
The Ford Puma is one of our favourite small SUVs, and it comes with a feature that’ll prove really handy for dog mums and dads. Under the boot floor is an 80-litre storage space that even comes with a drain hole – so you can wash it out. As such, it’s perfect for dog paraphernalia. The Puma’s tall boot floor will be great for dogs who want to look out the rear window, although Great Danes might not appreciate the sloping roofline.
6. Mercedes-Benz E-Class estate
The E-Class has such a large boot that particularly small people could probably walk dogs back there, so there’s more than enough space in this 640-litre loadbay whether you’ve got a Shih Tzu or a German Shepherd. Every E-Class gets self-levelling rear air suspension for maximum cushiness, plus there’s a reversible mat for muddy paws, and a power tailgate for maximum convenience. Just remember space plummets if you choose the plug-in hybrid because of its batteries. Diesels do it best for dog-lovers.
7. BMW 5 Series Touring estate
The 5 Series’ 570-litre loadbay might play second fiddle to the Mercedes E-Class, but the BMW still boasts a bountiful boot, and comes packed with dog-friendly features to, er, boot. The fundamentals are spot on with a low floor, a wide opening, and a load cover that automatically retracts when the tailgate opens, plus there’s a partition net that can extend from the back of the rear seats to the roof, ensuring man’s best friend gets the full ride-in-a-police-car experience. Air suspension is standard and the BMW earns bonus points for a rear window that opens independently of the tailgate.
8. Mini Clubman
Putting a dog in most Minis is like squeezing a big Chihuahua into a small handbag, but the Clubman is much bigger because it shares under-bits with the BMW X1. The closely related Countryman SUV is actually larger and well worth a look, but the Clubman is lower, meaning it’s easier to jump aboard. It also has side-hinged rear doors for easy loading, and there’s no parcel shelf or slanted hatchback glass, so dogs can sit up and enjoy the view. Mini has even partnered with Dogs Trust and offers dedicated dog accessories, including a dog guard to separate the cabin, and all-weather mats that both stop dogs slipping about and protect the interior trim.
9. Skoda Kamiq
If you want a supermini-sized car with a generous boot, the Kamiq is a good option. Behind the rear seats, the 400-litre space should be enough for most dogs, while the Kamiq isn’t much higher off the ground than a Fabia, so getting in and out shouldn’t be a problem for most mobile dogs. If your dog refuses to go canine-class, Skoda offers waterproof, washable anti-slip covers that turn the rear seats into a kind of padded cell, as well as a safety belt to prevent unintentional walkies. Don't forget the hidden umbrella for walks in the rain, too.
10. Volvo XC60
Dogs might not be for Christmas, but they are for Volvos. All the Scandinavian maker’s cars are dog-friendly, but the XC60 makes a great mid-sized option. You can flex the boot from 505 to 1,432 litres by dropping the seats down, and a power tailgate is standard equipment. There’s also a 12V socket in the boot, so you can power accessories, including those nifty dog shower things.