Home / Auto News / News article: AAA Picks Top Vehicles For Dogs (and Their Owners) - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Aug 23 2010, 7:31 AM

Some rides are better suited for your dogs than others. From your dog’s point of view, all they need is an open window to stick their head out of, but the American Automobile Association (AAA) has put a bit more thought into compiling their list of the best canine-friendly vehicles.

“More than 45 million households in the U.S. have a dog, and many are taking Fido along for the ride on a regular basis,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair and Buying Services. “There several vehicles with features that can help keep pets safe, comfortable and easy to clean-up after while also addressing other driver desires such as sportiness, adventure or luxury.”

In order to put together the most through list, AAA Auto Buying’s team of experts test drove and reviewed hundreds of vehicles. The list was based on a wide variety of factors such as crash test ratings, safety features, fuel economy, ease of animal ingress and egress, cargo area size, availability of tie-down hooks and easy-to-clean interiors.

Broken down into six categories, see the winners after the jump:

Luxury:

BMW 3 Series Wagon – Rubber mats in the cargo area and sturdy dividers keep a dog comfortably confined and away from distracting the driver. It’s cozy interior ideal for medium to smaller breeds.

Volvo XC60 – It features a roomy and comfortable cargo area, rubber and a pet barrier that fastens securely above the raised rear seats.

Active Lifestyle

Subaru Forester – Roomy, comfortable accommodations and a low floor makes it easy for dogs to get in and out.

Hyundai Santa Fe – Cargo space is good for even some larger breeds , and comes with sturdy rubber mats and pet dividers.

Kids, Dogs and Everything Else

Honda Element – Features surfaces and upholstery that can be hosed out, a pet lovers’ accessory group that includes a ramp, a soft-sided kennel that can be secured to the vehicle, and a spill-resistant water dish.

Toyota Venza – Comes with a ramp for getting in and out through the rear tailgate, waterproof seat covers, an adjustable harness/booster seat pet restraint system, an adjustable pet barrier and a dog tether to keep canines from jumping into the passenger area.

Efficient and Fun

Mazda3 5-Door: Wide opening rear doors, tailgate and robust interior makes this another vehicle that would be attractive to many pet owners.

Mini Clubman – The longer body structure, foldable rear seat and rear barn doors all contribute to making it easy to get even a larger breed in and out of the vehicle.

Green

Ford Escape Hybrid – The large and squared-off SUV cargo area is perfect for dogs of nearly all sizes.

Economical

Kia Soul – It’s roomier than its exterior dimensions suggest, which makes the Soul a good choice for transporting smaller and mid-size breeds.

Nissan Cube – The interior is surprisingly roomy and should be good, with the back seats down, for even larger breeds.

  • Kathryn Tominey

    The Honda FIT should be included. I have one and can easily put two tall 400 crates, a couple of collapsed wire crates, my luggage, and dog gear for a one week dog show. And I get ~35 miles to the gallon. Can’t beat it especially since my ipod had a dock.

  • Dog Lover

    What I need to know is how high is the lift gate opening? I need an opening that will admit a crate 30″ high and 24″ wide. There are crates bigger than that. And I need the back seats to fold down absolutely flat so my dog is not rocking and rolling or sliding to one end. I want that back as flat as my dining room table.