Best cars for dog owners 2022

With plenty of space and all the right accessories for your pooch: these are the best cars for dogs

BuyaCar team
Dec 2, 2021

Much like cars themselves, dogs come in all shapes, breeds and sizes both big and small, so finding the right wheels to carry your canine companion can be a real challenge.

The first cars that usually come to mind for taking on dog-carrying duties are either SUVs or estates, largely thanks to their large boots. Now, though, manufacturers have significantly upped their game in order to appeal to dog owners. The Nissan X-Trail, for example, is available with a Paw Pack that includes a ramp for easy access and a non-spill water bowl. These features are also available across most new or used Land Rover models, as is a portable shower for hosing off mud.

Some of these extras might simply exist to pamper your pup but many are genuine legal requirements. Rule 57 of the Highway Code states that animals must be restrained to avoid distracting you and to reduce the risk of injury in a crash. Recent research has also found that leaping from tall cars could increase strain on dogs' front legs, making them more prone to injury.

We've put together this list of pooch-friendly cars, offering easy access for dogs and a range of accessories to safely and efficiently transport them and keep you out of the doghouse.

Best cars for dog owners

Making your car fit for a dog

A car with a big boot might seem an obvious requirement, but it's actually not necessary. Your dog should also be happy being strapped into the back seats instead. If you plan to do this then you're better off avoiding three-door cars, as these can make it more difficult to coax your dog into the back. Front seats can be dangerous for you and your dog as there's a high risk of distraction. In the event of a crash, the passenger seat airbag could also cause serious injury to your dog.

If you value your interior, seat covers are essential and it's probably best to avoid suede-effect upholstery, which has a glue-like effect on any loose dog hair.

For a comfortable and safe journey for you and your pet, your dog should be secured and comfortable in the back of your car with a dog guard or, better still, a harness. For the welfare of your vehicle, a seat or boot cover is also recommended. Most car manufacturers sell these items as accessories that can be bought separately to your car, whether it's brand new or second-hand. For more information, read our full guide to transporting dogs in cars.

1. Fiat Panda

Best car for dogs like Chihuahuas

Paws up A sliding rear bench seat provides more room in the boot when needed
Paws down Not suitable for anything more than a medium-sized dog
Used deals from £5,895
Monthly finance from £0*

The upside of a dog like a Chihuahua is that they are so tiny they will fit just about anywhere, so owning a massive car for a dog like this probably seems a bit over the top.

Small, nimble and affordable, the Fiat Panda should prove a surprisingly capable canine carrier for your smaller-sized furry friend. An adjustable rear bench seat means that you can choose between additional rear passenger space for the humans or boot space for the dog. The car’s tall stature means that there is room for some medium-sized breeds, too.
The best news? You can easily find a used Panda for around just £120 a month on PCP finance.


2. Mini Countryman

Best for dogs like Border Collies

Paws up Bootlid gesture control
Paws down Like all SUVs, a bit high off the ground for smaller dogs
Used deals from £12,600
Monthly finance from £472*

To show that they care as much about their canine customers as they do humans, Mini has been working with the charity Dogs Trust to learn how to ‘help the nation’s dogs travel happier’.

The interior’s probably too smart to allow your dog to muddy it but the boot is as practical as they come, and big, too. With the back seats in place there’s 450 litres of space, 70 litres more than a VW Golf. Fold them down for 1,390 litres of territory.

The boot lip is relatively low, but the off-road design means the vehicle is slightly more raised than the standard car. However, that won't be an obstacle for an agile Border Collie.

There's no need to stretch for the boot while holding a lead, either, as the Mini has gesture-control on higher-spec models. Just waggle your foot below the rear bumper and it opens. A tough, optional floor mat for the boot also keeps muddy paws off the trim.


3. Ford Puma

Best cars for dogs like Whippets

Paws up Height-adjustable boot floor
Paws down High boot access
Used deals from £16,998
Monthly finance from £358*

The Ford Puma is based on the Fiesta, meaning it is affordable to run but with a lot more space, thanks to its SUV body. While the downside to this is a much higher boot access, the clever height-adjustable boot floor helps to reduce the strain on your dog’s legs.
Another Puma party piece is Ford’s ‘Megabox’, an 80-litre storage area beneath the boot floor. The Megabox features a waterproof lining and a drain plug, so it’s ideal for carrying a wet dog lead and a muddy tennis ball.


4. Volkswagen Tiguan

Best car for dogs like Poodles

Paws up Clever Pet accessory package
Paws down You need to buy a harness in addition to the Pet pack
Used deals from £15,000
Monthly finance from £291*

Understated style with intelligence - and that’s just the dog. The latest hi-tech Tiguan is closer to the ground than its predecessor, making it easier for small but chic dogs to climb aboard with dignity.

But what really sets this model apart is the Tiguan Pet accessory package. It includes a sturdy grille that separates the boot from the passenger compartment. There’s also a flexible boot liner perfect for the Tiguan’s variable-height boot floor. It has a raised edge, too, that prevents dirt and liquids slopping over the sides.

There’s a transparent film to protect the rear bumper from scratchy claws as your dog climbs aboard and tie-down hooks for attaching a harness.


5. Nissan X-Trail

Best car for dogs like Jack Russells

Paws up Matching accessories for haute couture hounds
Paws down The Paw Pack Costs £599
Used deals from £11,500
Monthly finance from £346*

For the complete pup-friendly package, Nissan's Paw Pack has it covered. The optional extra comes with a slide-away ramp for easy access to the boot, a guard between the boot and rear seat, a washable dog bed, a spill resistant water bowl, a boot cover and storage compartments for treats and leads - all of which are branded with the Nissan logo. All that's missing is a harness, should you choose to secure your pet further.

For Jack Russells, who need extensive exercise, it's an easy way to help them race out of the car and off for their run, and then to contain the mud and debris that they return with.

The price for this convenience is steep, though. You could assemble a similar package for considerably less by buying each item separately.


6. Audi A4 Avant

Best car for dogs like Yorkshire Terriers

Paws up Low-level access for smaller dogs
Paws down Back seat harness restricts passenger room
Used deals from £12,800
Monthly finance from £0*

The rear seat dog seatbelt sold by Audi is ideal for a sociable dog like a Yorkshire Terrier. They can yap away with the family, safely secured in the passenger compartment, thanks to the harness which is suited to smaller animals. Use it in conjunction with the optional rear seat cover (which goes across all of the back seats) for optimum seat protection.

Jumping in and out of the car is easier with a low car like the A4, rather than with a taller SUV. The other advantage of buying an estate car such as the Audi is that you've also got space to expand the brood, should you wish to have a second, bigger dog; a dog guard between the back seats and boot is among the accessories available.


7. Volvo XC90

Best car for dogs like Great Danes

Paws up Clever dog gate and compartment package
Paws down It’s not Danish
Used deals from £18,750
Monthly finance from £689*

A Volvo XC90 and a Great Dane: if only the dog were called a Great Swede, they’d be perfectly matched. The male can grow to 86cm in height and weigh up to 90kg; well within the limits of the XC90's boot, which has 451 litres of space with all seven seats in place. However, you’d probably want to lower the third row to give the poor animal stretching room.

As you’d expect, the big XC90 has ample power but more impressive are its safety features, there primarily to keep human occupants safe but along the way, their canine companions, too. The XC90 has multiple airbags extending to the rear, cameras that can detect pedestrians as well as animals (including Great Danes) ahead of you and warn of their presence, and automatic braking.

There’s an optional accessory gate to keep your dog safe and secure, and which is easy to open and close from outside the car. Combined with the optional protective grille and load compartment divider, you can create one or two separate dog compartments.


8. Citroen Berlingo

Best for dogs like Labradors

Paws up Tough, convenient and practical
Paws down Ride can be bumpy – watch that travel sickness
Used deals from £15,750
Monthly finance from £0*

The Berlingo was designed for mutts like Labradors, who love to bring the countryside home with them. Whether you buy the latest version, shown above or the recently-replaced model, its twin, electric sliding doors mean your hands are free to keep a firm grasp on the lead. Meanwhile, the hard-wearing interior will withstand a scrub if you forget to cover the seats.

The floor of the car is low, so a large labrador can just wander in, and there’s enough space in the back to get comfortable.

There’s plenty of space in the boot, and the back window of the boot opens separately, so you can poke through treats without worrying that your dog will leap out. The optional Modutop overhead locker is ideal for snacks, harnesses and spare plastic bags.


9. Dacia Duster

Best car for dogs like Irish Setters

Paws up Tough, cheap and available with four-wheel drive
Paws down A bit ordinary for a sophisticated Setter
Used deals from £9,750
Monthly finance from £219*

When your dog needs its daily bound through a forest, then you need to ensure you can navigate muddy car parks come rain or shine. A brand new four-wheel drive car could be yours for under £19,000, and you can pick up a second-hand Duster for far less. They should get you to the least crowded end of a boggy country car park.

At that price, you may not be too worried about your dog leaving a trail of mud through the car, but you can order a Protection Pack, which includes a tough plastic boot liner and extra protection from scratches on the top of the bumper and boot opening. You’ll also get parking sensors in case your dog distracts you while reversing.


10. Land Rover Discovery

Best for dogs like St Bernards

Paws up Conquers the dog walks other cars cannot reach
Paws down Price equates to a lifetime’s supply of dog food
Used deals from £33,799
Monthly finance from £794*

A large working dog bred to rescue people from some of Europe’s highest mountains will feel right at home in one of the best hill-climbing cars. A standard powered boot lid makes opening the car slow but hands-free, and there’s plenty of space - with two of the seven seats folded - for a big St Bernard to settle down.

Land Rover's latest pet packs are available for new or used Discovery models and it promises to transport dogs in the same sort of luxury as the car's human occupants. Options include a quilted boot liner, foldable carrier, ramp, spill-resistant bowl and a portable shower, which consists of a large bag and shower head attachment. Water pressure from a tap ensures a steady flow for up to five minutes without the need for any power.


*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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