There's no denying that dogs are family. If you're like us, you prefer them over some of your human relatives. When we road trip, the dogs are usually the first ones to jump in the car and their safety and comfort is always top of mind. Although Fido will probably be happy to travel with you in any car, some vehicles are better suited for him and his safety than others. We'll cover the features you should look for in a dog-friendly car and the top 7 vehicles for dogs across 4 different segments (crossover, SUV, minivan, and car).
Dog-Friendly Car Features
What are the most important features to look for when choosing the best car for your dogs? A flat cargo area that minimizes any obstacles for your pup to lay down while the car is in motion will keep your best friend comfortable. This will also come in handy if your dog travels in a carrier so that it can sit flat in your vehicle. If you're looking to buy an SUV or hatchback, make sure the back seats lay completely flat.
Next on the list, is easy ingress and egress which can be found in cars, minivans, and SUVs that sit lower to the ground. This is especially important for smaller or older dogs who have trouble jumping up into the cargo area and can risk injuring themselves when trying to get in. Finally, securing your pet in the vehicle is crucial for their safety and yours. Tie-downs for a harness or carrier will keep your dog from wandering around the vehicle and distracting you from watching the road.
1. 2020 Kia Soul
Giant dancing hamsters aren't the only creatures who are fond of the Kia Soul, it is also canine approved. Dogs of all sizes will enjoy traveling in this unique hatchback/crossover/wagon combo thanks to its boxy cargo area which offers plenty of space and a large rear hatch opening. Looking at the Soul from the outside, you'd never guess this subcompact vehicle holds 62 cubic feet of space in the cargo area behind the front row. The Soul also sits lower to the ground than many of its competitors which will make hopping in and out easier for older or vertically challenged pups.
2020 Kia Soul Starting MSRP: $17,490
2. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek
If you've seen Subaru's Crosstrek TV spots, they've likely tugged at your heartstrings with their heartwarming dog stories (we're not crying, there's just dog hair in our eye). Lucky for you and your best friend, Subaru isn't all talk. The automaker has been a loyal supporter of ASPCA and other animal organizations, helping 144,000 animals since 2015. If that's not enough reason to go with the brand, you'll find the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek is excellent for travel with your dog, whether you're going down the street or driving several hours to your favorite campsite. The Crosstrek's user-friendly cargo space tops out at 51.9 cubic feet and the second row folds completely flat. Like all Subaru SUVs, the Crosstrek comes with standard AWD so you can get out to any outdoor destination.
2019 Subaru Crosstrk Starting MSRP: $21,895
3. 2019 Chrysler Pacifica
Minivans - they're not just for soccer moms anymore. Minivans like the Chrysler Pacifica are excellent solutions for dog moms (and dads) who want to keep their four-legged kids safe and comfortable on the road. They are lower to the ground than SUVs, provide more cargo space for pet kennels such as this custom one from Mopar, and offer wide sliding doors that make hopping up a breeze for puppies and senior dogs alike. The Chrysler Pacifica leads the pack when it comes to styling and dog-friendly features. You'll be able to get an available integrated vacuum for cleaning up pet hair and optional power-folding third-row seats which let you create more space for pets without removing any seats.
2019 Chrysler Pacifica Starting MSRP: $27,235
4. 2019 Chevrolet Equinox
The Chevrolet Equinox will make you and your furry friends equally happy. The 2019 Equinox offers a comfortable, quiet ride and a powerful new engine for your driving pleasure. The dogs will enjoy the large rear hatch for easy ingress and egress and the 60/40-fold-flat rear seats which offer 63.5 cubic feet of space. The fold-flat front passenger seat also presents extra space for stretching out the paws and getting comfortable. The starting MSRP of just under $24,000 will leave more of your budget for all the treats and toys your dog's heart desires.
2019 Chevrolet Equinox Starting MSRP: $23,800
5. 2019 Volkswagen Atlas
The Volkswagen Atlas joined VW's lineup in 2018 and is ideal for drivers who have a large dog or those who have more than one four-legged travel buddy. The interior is extremely spacious and offers seating for 7 or 8 human passengers (though we'd ditch a few in favor of canine passengers). The cargo area offers an unmatched 56 cubic feet behind the 2nd row and 96 cubic feet with all seats folded down. While leather seats are usually a desired feature, pet parents know that they can be easily roughed up by a few dirty paws. The Atlas can come with synthetic leather which is both durable and easy to clean.
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Starting MSRP: $30,895
6. 2019 Jeep Wrangler
If you and your dog love to hit the trails and explore, nothing beats the Jeep Wrangler to get you there safely. It's now more comfortable to drive on pavement and is trail-rated for your off-roading adventures. Your dog will love the open-air design and up to 72.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the second row folded flat. If you have any doubt in your mind that the Wrangler will be a good SUV for your dog, there's a Mopar dog kennel designed just for it that will keep them comfortable and safe. When you're ready to head home from the trails, you won't have to fret about muddy paws thanks to the Wrangler's washable interior with built-in floor drains and removable carpet.
2019 Jeep Wrangler Starting MSRP: $28,045
7. 2019 Honda Fit
At first glance, the Honda Fit doesn't look like it has an overabundance of space, but its surprisingly roomy cargo area proves you don't need to go with a large SUV or minivan to chauffer the dog in comfort. Its compact size, tall roof, and flexible interior make it an ideal car for the city dog that likes to ditch the city limits for some hiking once in a while. The big hatch and maximum cargo space of 52.7 cubic feet can easily hold pet carriers. If your dog travels with a harness instead of a carrier, he will appreciate that the rear seats fold completely flat for a level floor.
2019 Honda Fit Starting MSRP: $16,190