Best cars for large dogs

In search of a car big enough for a large dog? Here are eight canine-friendly vehicles, including enormous estates and spacious SUVs.

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Jan 7, 2022

When looking for a car, you might want to consider whether it will be big and durable enough for a large dog if you have one. You may have already come across our guide to the best cars for dogs, from a city car capable of accommodating a Chihuahua to an SUV suitable for a Great Dane. This guide, however, focuses on the best cars for larger dogs - you may be surprised to find that even some compact cars can cater for colossal canines.

A car with a big boot for a dog is a good starting point to look for. Dog-friendly car boots need enough space for a dog to sit down, lie down and turn around. Long journeys can make some dogs queasy, so ensuring they are as comfortable as possible will help avoid having to clean up Spaniel sick.

It’s important to consider other practicalities - some cars include tie-down cargo hooks which can help to keep your dog appropriately restrained in the boot, keeping both them and the driver safe. The last thing you’d want is for your dog to get injured if you need to stop quickly, or for the driver to get distracted and get in a crash.

You’ll also want a car with good ride quality and handling. A car that rolls around corners or which has overly firm suspension will leave your dog bouncing around the boot like a ping pong ball, which is bound to be an unpleasant and painful experience.

Something people tend to overlook is the height of the load lip (bottom edge of a boot). For older dogs, it can be a struggle to jump up into a boot that’s high off the ground, and a big dog isn’t so easy to lift into the car yourself.

Seat belt harnesses, pet carriers, dog cages or guards all make transporting your dog a lot safer, while a rubber mat can keep the carpet protected and the car clean. You can see what options are available for any cars that stand out to you by using the BuyaCar website filters.

Here are eight cars that are suitable for large dogs - including a large upmarket car for well-behaved dogs, a compact canine-capable crossover, or a tough pick-up for more muddy mutt.

Best cars for large dogs

1. Kia Ceed Sportswagon

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Your dog won’t be too interested in Kia’s excellent seven-year warranty, but there are many reasons why the Ceed Sportswagon is ideal for canine transport duties.

The current Kia Ceed Sportswagon was introduced in 2018. Don’t be fooled by the ‘sports’ part of Sportwagon - there’s nothing remotely sporting about this Kia estate. Instead, this is a car that majors on practicality, comfort, common sense and value for money.

The boot offers more luggage capacity than the Ford Focus Estate. In fact, you’d need to splash out on a large SUV or a bigger estate to get more dog room. There’s also a low loading lip, a flush floor, tie-down hooks in the boot and a dual height luggage area floor across the range. You can raise it up to store your dog paraphernalia below, or lower it to give your dog a little more headroom.

Even the entry-level Sportwagon ‘2’ comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, an eight-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a digital radio, a reversing camera and cruise control. Avoid the larger alloys if you want to preserve the car’s ride comfort.

KIA CEED SPORTSWAGON BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Dacia Logan MCV Stepway

Used deals from £7,200
Monthly finance from £0*

Ask yourself this question: does your dog care about the badge on the front of your car? We suspect he or she is more interested in a large stick, a squeaky tennis ball and a long run in the park. This brings us on to the Dacia Logan MCV Stepway.

This was Britain’s cheapest estate car until it was discontinued in 2020. What it lacks in glamour and overall quality, it more than makes for in terms of space, practicality and pure value for money. You could save money by opting for the standard Logan MCV, but we think the Stepway’s raised ride height and chunky styling is worth the additional expense. Besides, you get more for your money, with the Stepway offering a more generous level of standard equipment.

The boot is massive. Although 573 litres is a meaningless figure in isolation, that’s actually around 50 litres more than you’ll find in the far more expensive Peugeot 3008 SUV. It’s even 13 litres more than you’ll find in the Volvo V90 - a much larger and significantly more expensive estate car.

There’s loads of headroom for your dog, plenty of space for lying down, and you can even order an all-in-one boot liner for protecting the boot and bumper. Your dog will definitely appreciate the low loading lip and the amount of daylight in the boot.

DACIA LOGAN MCV BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Citroen Berlingo

Used deals from £17,240
Monthly finance from £0*

As a dog lover, you’re probably aware that the tallest dog ever is Zeus, a Great Dane measuring 44 inches tall. That’s one inch taller than the previous record-holder, the aptly-named Giant George. Dogs like these need a big car, which is where the Citroen Berlingo comes in.

It’s based on a van, but Citroen has done a top job of disguising its commercial vehicle roots. Squint and it looks a little like an SUV. But here’s the thing: you won’t find this much space and practicality in an SUV. There are two versions available, ‘M’ and ‘XL’, with up to 4,000 litres of load capacity and three metres of length available. Indeed, the ‘XL’ is large enough to carry a kayak - inside the car.

So it’s ideal for your dog. Highlights include a load area that’s large enough to create a mobile kennel, a very low loading lip, plus a rear window that opens independently from the tailgate, so you can put stuff in the boot without the fear of Giant George making a bid for freedom. You even get a luggage shelf that can be configured in two positions, dividing the boot into compartments. It can even support a load of 25kg. Not enough for Zeus, but it might be enough for your dog.

CITROEN BERLINGO BUYERS' GUIDE

4. BMW 3 Series Touring

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The BMW 3 Series Touring isn’t the most practical estate car in its class, but it’s more than up to the challenge of carrying a couple of large dogs. The 500-litre boot is reasonable, but you can extend this to 1,510 litres with the rear seats folded down.

But there’s more, because all models get an electric tailgate, so the boot opens and shuts at the touch of a button. Find a 3 Series Touring with the optional Comfort Access system and you can open the boot by waving your Hunter wellies beneath the bumper. Be warned: as with all electric tailgates, your dogs will have ample time to make a run for it if they're not well behaved.

Fortunately, the 3 Series Touring comes with tie-down hooks on the floor, bag hooks for the dog lead on the side, plus a folding floor mechanism. You also get a handy independently opening window, so you can load the shopping without worrying about the dog getting out.

Because it’s a BMW, the 3 Series Touring corners with very little body roll when cornering, so your dog will approve of the driving experience. We’d recommend the SE trim for its dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

BMW 3 SERIES TOURING BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

Used deals from £8,990
Monthly finance from £0*

The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is the crossover you forgot about. Or maybe it’s the crossover you didn’t know existed. Either way, we think it’s worth a second look, particularly the updated version introduced in 2016.

The front end styling is still a bit of an acquired taste. Not that your dog will care, because the boot offers the same amount of space as you’ll find in a Nissan Qashqai. Sure, the boot is a little on the high side, but there’s no lip for your dog to jump over.

There’s a secondary boot floor, which you can remove if your dog requires more headroom. You can also get a Suzuki boot liner, a dog guard for above the rear seats and a longitudinal partition grille for separating two parts of the boot.

The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross offers exceptional value for money and is powered by a choice of powerful and efficient petrol engines, and loaded with the kind of gear that would cost extra on most rival vehicles.

SUZUKI SX4 S-CROSS BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Land Rover Discovery Sport

Used deals from £22,000
Monthly finance from £0*

If you can’t bear the thought of a supersize SUV but want the off-road ability and chunky styling, the Land Rover Discovery Sport is just the ticket. Although it offers the option of seven seats, the Discovery Sport is about the same length and width as the Skoda Octavia, which makes it relatively easy to park and manoeuvre.

With the third row of seats folded down, the boot offers 754 litres of luggage space, which is easily enough for a couple of large dogs. There’s a bit of a leap to get into the boot, but the flush loading lip ensures the dogs will be comfortable in no time at all.

To keep your dog really happy, you should consider one of the optional premium pet packs. Available for every model in the Land Rover family, there are three different packs, each one designed to make your dog’s life just that little bit easier.

There’s a 'space protection pack', comprising a quilted load space liner, full-length luggage partition and spill-resistant water bowl. A transportation pack, which includes a foldable pet carrier, spill-resistant water bowl and loadspace rubber mat. Finally, there’s a 'care and access pack', which includes an access ramp and portable shower.

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Used deals Limited stock

You could buy the Jaguar XF Sportbrake on the strength of its looks alone, and we wouldn’t blame you. But when you’ve finished drooling like a Saint Bernard, there’s the small matter of its suitability for your dog to consider.

We’ll start with the numbers, because the XF Sportbrake offers 565 litres of boot space. That’s more than you’ll find in the Volvo V90, about the same as you get in the BMW 5 Series Touring, but down on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate. That said, even an Amazon warehouse feels less cavernous than the massive E-Class.

An electric tailgate is fitted as standard, plus you get some handy tie-down points, a power socket and rear seats that can be folded down via a lever in the boot. It’s worth mentioning the ease at which your dog can step up into the boot - there’s no SUV-style high jump required here.

You can also choose from a couple of pet packs. One features a full height luggage partition and rubber loadspace mat, while the other exchanges the mat for a liner tray. Either way, your dog will feel right at home in an XF Sportbrake.

JAGUAR XF BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Mitsubishi L200

Used deals Limited stock

We end with a wildcard and a chance to visit the van section of the BuyaCar website. Visit a rural area of the country and it won’t be long before you spot a pick-up truck earning its keep. These things are incredibly popular, thanks to their go-anywhere toughness and cavernous load area that’s separated from the cabin.

What’s the appeal? Well, a modern pick-up is as good to drive as a family SUV, with many of them offering similar levels of safety technology. Running costs tend to be higher, but there are tax benefits associated with running a commercial vehicle. And you can get a load cover to keep dirty dogs separate from the cabin but protected from the elements.

We’re recommending the latest Mitsubishi L200, as BuyaCar prices have crept below the £25,000 mark. This is a much-improved L200, especially in Barbarian and Barbarian X trim. Opt for the Barbarian X and you get the likes of a heated steering wheel, heated seats, Apple CarPlay and the latest driver assistance systems.

Best of all, if you order a separate hardtop with opening side windows, you can create a kind of dog kennel on wheels. After a muddy walk, your dog jumps into the load area, leaving the cabin free of mud and smells. Perfect.

MITSUBISHI L200 BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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