Best small cars for dog owners

If you’re dog tired of trying to find the best small car for your canine companion, we have a few leads

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Oct 29, 2021

You don’t need a big car to safely and comfortably carry a dog. Granted, a city car isn’t ideal for transporting an Irish Wolfhound, while a Saint Bernard won’t thank you for squeezing it into a supermini. But as Snoopy proved in his Volkswagen Beetle, a supersize SUV isn’t required.

Back in the real world, we’ve pulled together a list of eight cars that are ideal for small dogs. At BuyaCar, you choose the car and we fetch it for you, so you don’t even have to go on walkies. Because our cars come with a money-back guarantee, you won’t end up with a dog’s dinner either. If your dog is a little too big for the cars we've listed here, you can check out our list of the best all-round cars for dog owners.

Regardless of the car, you should ensure that your dog is safe and secure while travelling with you. A crate, harness or hammock is a good option if the dog is travelling in the cabin, while a guard or gate are recommended if they’re in the boot.

Depending on the size of the dog, therefore, it's worth thinking about the size of kit you'll need to transport with you and where in the car you'll want to put this. So, keep reading for our pick of the best small cars for dog owners. You’d be barking mad to miss out.

Best small cars for dogs

1. Fiat Panda

Used deals from £6,491
Monthly finance from £0*

You can get a Fiat Panda for well under £100 per month on PCP finance, so it’s ideal if you’re looking for a small car with a low cost. Its upright shape creates an impressive amount of interior space, so even a tall dog will be comfortable in the Panda’s boot, too.

It’s worth noting that a split-folding rear seat is optional, so make sure that any Panda you’re considering has this feature fitted if you want to be able to drop one half of the seat back to give your dog a better view out. On the plus side, the rear bench slides forwards and backwards, so you can provide more room for your pooch, or more legroom for rear-seat passengers, depending who's travelling with you at the time.


2. Honda HR-V

Used deals from £11,000
Monthly finance from £0*

Another option is that your dog can travel in the front of the car, providing you have switched off the passenger airbag and moved the seat as far back as possible. This is why we’re recommending the Honda HR-V, because all models come with a passenger airbag cut-off switch.

But there’s more to the HR-V than an airbag deactivation switch. It features one of the largest boots in this type of car, with more luggage capacity than the Nissan Qashqai - a car from the class above. Meanwhile, the low boot loading height means that your dog won’t have to master the high jump to climb aboard.


3. Ford Puma

Used deals from £16,249
Monthly finance from £292*

You’ve seen the Panda, now it’s time to consider the Puma. The Ford Puma is one of the newest compact SUVs on the market, and we think it’s one of the most stylish. It’s based on the Ford Fiesta, which means it’s great to drive and cheap to run, but it offers an extra helping of space. You won’t get a ruff deal with this little terrier.

The boot height is relatively high, so some practice at the dog agility class might come in handy for your canine here, but the Puma wins a rosette for its large luggage capacity and variable height boot floor. You also get what Ford comically calls a ‘Megabox’, which is an 80-litre storage area beneath the floor. It features a waterproof lining and a drain plug, so it’s ideal for carrying a wet dog lead and a muddy tennis ball.

4. Skoda Fabia Estate

Used deals from £6,490
Monthly finance from £208*

In the past a sensible estate car was the default choice for dog owners. A time when no Golden Retriever or Labrador would be seen in anything other than a Volvo wagon. The Skoda Fabia Estate is here to channel some of The Good Life vibes - albeit in a small and easy-to-drive package.

For a small car, the Fabia Estate's boot is huge, offering up to 1,395 litres of luggage capacity with the rear seats folded down. That might not be enough for 101 Dalmations, but a litter of puppies will find plenty of room. You also get some handy storage areas on either side of the boot, which are perfect for leads, treats, sticks and that really squeaky toy your dog loves playing with.


5. Dacia Logan MCV

Dacia Logan MCV front three quarters view

Used deals Limited stock

Even the best behaved dog will leave a mark or two in the boot after a walk in the park or a run on the beach. So you can’t be too precious about your car. This is why we’re recommending the Dacia Logan MCV, which offers the UK’s best blend of boot space and affordability as the UK's cheapest new estate car - and one of the most affordable used models.

Yes, the Logan isn't luxurious, prioritising sturdiness over soft, squidgy materials around the cabin, but this makes it a great no-nonsense machine for carting your dog around without you having to worry about it picking up scratches or having to clean deep-pile carpets every day. 

There’s a substantial 573 litres of space available in the boot, but this extends to 1,518 litres with the rear seats folded down. The loading lip is low and wide, while a boot liner is available to add some protection from muddy paws. We’d also recommend the optional partition grille, which is available via the Dacia accessories catalogue.


6. Seat Leon ST

Used deals from £6,290
Monthly finance from £0*

We should point out that the boot in the Seat Leon ST is slightly smaller than the one you’ll find in the estate versions of the closely related Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia (Seat is part of the same company as VW, Audi and Skoda). However, we think your dog will be happy to sacrifice a little wriggle room in exchange for some Spanish style for you. And the boot's still pretty large anyway.

The low and flush loading lip makes it easy for your dog to climb aboard, while a passenger airbag deactivation switch is standard across the range if you fancy having some canine company in the front. There’s a rugged X-Perience off-road version if the kennels are at the end of a bumpy gravel track, plus a sporty Cupra version if you have to go via a race track to get there.


7. Mini Clubman

Used deals from £9,500
Monthly finance from £253*

The Mini Clubman is more lifestyle than load-lugger, but it’s ideal for dogs. Unlike other estate cars, the Clubman features a pair of vertical ‘barn doors’ at the back, which could be handy if your dog has a habit of jumping out of the boot when you’re not ready. Keep one door closed and you’ll find it easier to keep your pooch under control when taking things in and out of the boot.

Our only gripe is that a passenger airbag deactivation switch is a £100 option, so you’ll have to pay extra - or find a used version with this fitted - if your dog feels it is too posh to travel in the boot. We’d also recommend a Clubman with the optional storage compartment pack, as this includes a two-part boot floor and eyelets for securing a dog harness.


8. Toyota GT86

Used deals Limited stock

We end with a wildcard. The Toyota GT86 might seem like an unlikely choice of car for dog owners, but hear us out. A passenger airbag deactivation switch comes as standard, so your dog can travel in the front. We’re sure your dog will appreciate learning about the benefits of rear-wheel drive handling, too.

This lightweight car has a petrol engine at the front that needs to be worked hard to provide maximum power and sends this to the rear wheels like a traditional sports car, making it feel agile and engaging to drive.

You even get a pair of seats in the back. They’re not huge, but they’re perfect for a couple of small dogs, although you’ll have to tilt the front seats forward before they can climb aboard. Just don’t have too much fun, or you could find that your pedigree chum is, ahem… as sick as a dog.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta Titanium:

Monthly payments over 48 months: £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage allowance: 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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