Top 10 best cars for dog owners to buy 2022
Our dogs deserve the best, so here are the cars that’ll keep their tails wagging.
Just like a human passenger, your dog’s safety and comfort are of great importance whenever travelling in the car. Fortunately, there are a number of dog-friendly cars on the market, ranging from estates and SUVs with roomy boots to small hatchbacks that use clever engineering to maximise interior space.
Of course, it’s important to pick a car that you personally like, so it’s a good job there are plenty of models that can cater to the needs of both humans and dogs, and with this in mind, we’ve selected the best cars for dog owners.
These are good cars first and foremost, models that we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone with or without a dog. Their advantage, however, is that they offer a range of qualities that make life with a dog that little bit more pleasant for owner and pet alike.
We looked for cars with large and easily accessible boot areas, particularly those that offer useful accessories and are easy to clean. Any models with overly firm rides were discounted and the same goes for cars without low cabin noise levels. Eventually, we arrived at the models below, our best cars for dog owners...
Top 10 best cars for dog owners to buy 2022
- Skoda Octavia estate
- Dacia Duster
- Land Rover Defender
- Citroen E-Berlingo
- Merc E-Class estate
- Skoda Superb Estate
- Honda Jazz
- Tesla Model Y
- Suzuki Swace
- SsangYong Rexton
1. Skoda Octavia Estate
Our Estate Car of the Year at the 2021 Auto Express New Car Awards, the Skoda Octavia Estate has a refined cabin with a tough, robust Germanic feel to it so it should be able to easily cope with the worst your dog can throw at it. The interior quality rivals that of more expensive cars from premium brands like the BMW 3 Series Touring and Audi A4 Avant.
Our dog’s safety is of utmost importance so Skoda’s ‘dog seat belt’ will be an appealing optional extra for many, but it can only be used on the rear seat so it would be a good idea to couple it with the back seat protection cover option, too.
With 610 litres of boot space, the Octavia Estate will easily swallow up a couple of dogs and their accessories. Thanks to a solid reputation, the Octavia is a popular buy on the used market so if you decide to trade it in for a larger car (in case of puppies), you shouldn’t get bitten by hefty depreciation.
2. Dacia Duster
Large, straightforward, robust, and affordable, the Dacia Duster is a pretty solid combination of everything that a dog owner will probably ever require from a car. With prices starting from under £15,000 the Duster is one of the cheapest new cars in the UK, and with 445-litres of boot space – increasing to 1,623 litres with the rear seats folded – there’s plenty of room for your canine companion, too.
While, admittedly, this low price does come at a cost in terms of luxury, this can actually prove an advantage for a dog owner – you won’t be spending your time worrying about plush materials being ruined by claws and mud. Instead, the materials in the Duster should prove to be more hard-wearing.
An upgrade to the range in 2021 also saw improvements made to areas such as seat materials and sound-insulation, so humans can ride in comfort, too.
3. Land Rover Defender
It was often said that you could literally hose out the interior of the original Land Rover Defender if you were brave enough. However, we definitely don’t recommend doing that with the new model, as this car brings far more up-to-date technology, quality materials, and complex electronics.
That said, the new Defender retains all of the off-road capability and toughness that made its predecessor nothing short of legendary among 4x4 fans. There’s plenty of room in the back, too, and not only can you take your dog walking in some of the most remote and rough terrain – should you wish to – but you can even choose from a selection of bespoke Land Rover pet accessories.
4. Citroen E-Berlingo
The Citroen Berlingo comes in two forms, a van or a van-based MPV. Naturally, this means that space is plentiful, and both humans and larger dogs will have room to spare. Another key benefit for your canine companion is that they won’t have to jump as high as they would with an SUV in order to enter and exit the boot, and the van-style rear doors make access far easier, meaning that the risk of injury or mishap is reduced.
Opt for the E-Berlingo and you will then reap the added benefits of driving an electric car. Reduced running costs, tax savings and exemption from emissions-based charges will all help towards the all important treat fund. Battery range isn’t exactly class-leading at a claimed 170 miles from a full charge, but this should still prove more than enough for most day-to-day tasks and the occasional longer trip.
5. Mercedes E-Class Estate
If you’re a dog owner who wants to transport their beloved pet in luxury, there’s few better options than the Mercedes E-Class Estate. The E-Class Estate is particularly adept on long journeys, cosseting all inhabitants with excellent interior quality, a refined ride and quietness.
To protect your E-Class from dog claws, there’s an optional folding sill protective mat and once the dogs are out, there’s automatic boot closing.
At 670 litres, the boot is actually bigger than the one you’ll find in the Skoda Superb and one of the largest you’ll find anywhere. With a range of punchy yet smooth engines, the E-Class Estate will get you and your dog to your destination composed and on time.
6. Skoda Superb Estate
There are lots of cars from Skoda that are dog-friendly, but the Superb is the pick of the bunch. The Superb focuses on comfort, rather than performance, and being an airy estate there’s a huge 660 litres of cargo room for your dog to sprawl out in.
The interior quality should be up to the standards of even pedigree pooches and there’s loads of equipment in the cabin. There’s even a range of load space accessories to make the boot area just a bit more practical. You can get your dog to leap in and out easily thanks to a low load bay and if your hands are full of chihuahuas or pugs, then the optional power-assisted tailgate will come in handy.
7. Honda Jazz
The Honda Jazz is the smallest car on this list by some way, but don’t let that fool you as this car has a dog-friendly party piece known as ‘Magic Seats’. These cleverly-engineered rear seats make the Honda Jazz one of the most practical superminis on the market. They can be folded flat conventionally or can have their bases folded up entirely. This means that taller items – or dogs – can fit in the gap between the front and rear seats with surprising ease.
The latest Jazz is only available as a hybrid, so running costs should prove reasonable thanks to a claimed fuel economy of over 60mpg.
8. Tesla Model Y
While every Tesla model features ‘Dog Mode’, we feel that the Model Y is the best all rounder for both canine and owner. The model Y shares a lot of its underpinnings with the impressive Model 3, but has an SUV body and all the practicality that comes with it.
With up to 854 litres of boot space in the rear, plus another 117 litres in the ‘frunk’, you should be able to fit your dog and all its accessories you will probably ever need with ease. Once you arrive at your destination, if you need to leave your faithful friend in the car for a short while, then ‘Dog Mode’ will keep them safe and comfortable. This setting uses the climate control system to maintain the temperature while informing any concerned passersby that the system is in use.
9. Suzuki Swace
While the Suzuki Swace shares a great deal with the almost identical Toyota Corolla, certain areas of the Swace are slightly less upmarket. So while both cars make a solid case for themselves in regards to space, the Suzuki should help stave off the inevitable mess and chaos that a certain wagging-tailed passenger can bring.
Swace variants are very simple to understand, too, with a 1.8-litre hybrid being the only engine offered in just two trim levels. Heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, a rear camera and an eight-inch touchscreen with smartphone connectivity are all fitted as standard, while the Toyota-sourced full-hybrid drivetrain should return fuel economy of over 60mpg.
10. SsangYong Rexton
The latest SsangYong Rexton is a massive step up from its predecessor, but while it still drives like an upmarket pick-up, it remains a rugged SUV for dog owners to transport their four-legged friends.
What’s more is that the Rexton is also relatively cheap - especially considering its size. It’s available with five or seven seats, the five-seat version makes more sense for dog owners as it has a huge 820-litre boot which rises to 1,977 litres when you fold the seats. The seven-seat model can keep your dog from overheating with third-row air conditioning - a nice option to have if you don’t fancy motorway-speed buffeting from an open window. Both the seven-seat and five-seat versions have a dog guard option and rubber floor mat, as you’d expect.
The 2.2-litre diesel is SsangYong’s own design while the gearbox remains Mercedes-sourced. There’s a strong suggestion the Rexton is a well-built and tough SUV, so it shouldn't leave you and your dog stranded.