Canine out of 10
The top dog-friendly vehicles based on crash test ratings, economy and ease of use
1. VOLVO XC60
Has a roomy cabin with accessories including rubber mats for the cargo area and a pet barrier that connects to the tops of the rear seats. Safety features include City Safety, which automatically applies the brakes to avoid low-speed rear-enders in traffic.
2. SUBARU FORESTER
Gets the nod for a spacious, comfortable accommodation for people and their pets. The ride is stable and all-wheeldrive gives predictable handling. The cargo floor is 670mm off the ground so it is easy for most dogs to jump in and out, chihuahuas apart.
3. HYUNDAI SANTA FE
The cargo space is good, even for larger breeds of dog, and Hyundai— and its suppliers— have many accessories to make life on the road easy for your dog. These include rubber mats, beds and pet dividers.
4. MAZDA3 HATCH
Among compacts, the Mazda3 is a standout. Handling is sharp, the ride is very good and the interior is exceptionally flexible, although its suitability for larger breeds is in doubt. It also rates for the wideopening rear doors and hatch and its robust interior.
This is the Maxi of Minis. The longer body, foldable rear seats, four doors and big tailgate make it easy to load even a larger breed. As for the driver, this Mini is great fun to drive. Its handling is crisp and immediate, acceleration is brisk and braking secure.
6. KIA SOUL
It’s roomier than its exterior dimensions suggest, which makes the Soul a good choice for transporting smaller and mid-size breeds. Aftermarket accessories to make the trip easier include thick, heavy-duty mats and pet-resistant seat covers. The ride is a bit firm but the handling is good. The windows are bigger than average for a good view to the sides.
7. BMW3 SERIES TOURING
This wagon has handling and agility to rival some sports cars. BMWhas a wide range of accessories to make the car more suitable for pet transport, including sturdy dividers that confine a dog to the cargo area. The compact interior may be a better choice for medium-sized to smaller breeds.
8. TOYOTA RUKUS
The ‘‘ Camry in a box’’ has a big, versatile interior with a large hatch. The durable materials, excellent access from four doors and flexible seating design make it a good choice for small to medium-sized pets. Accessories such as a cargo division are available as aftermarket products.
9. PEUGEOT 3008
Rates alongside the 4007 in terms of versatile interior but its looks— car-rather than SUV-like— add a bit of class. The 3008 rides high and has a flat floor with a low loading height, making it easier for athletic medium-sized pooches to reach. The diesel is also frugal with low emissions.
10. SKODA OCTAVIA WAGON
Huge cargo area with massive underfloor storage make this a winner for bigger dogs. A good accessories list, strong fabrics and flexible seating also make it a durable pet hauler. The diesel engine is also miserly on fuel. For more room with more class but more cost, there is the Skoda Superb Wagon.
Which should you go fur? Choosing a car that suits your dog is not such a breeze, although Rocco (above left) is clearly enjoying this one. Among the frontrunners are (clockwise, from top) the Skoda Octavia Wagon, Volvo XC60 and Kia Soul. Main picture: Andy Parkee