Choosing the best car for your dog

While comfort and safety are typically top of the list when choosing a family car, your dog’s wellbeing also needs to be a priority. 


Whether you’re off on a pet-friendly holiday or simply taking your dog to the vet, your car should provide a smooth ride and plenty of space, so your four-legged friend will be happy to travel with you.

While comfort and safety are typically top of the list when choosing a family car, your dog’s wellbeing also needs to be a priority. 


Whether you’re off on a pet-friendly holiday or simply taking your dog to the vet, your car should provide a smooth ride and plenty of space, so your four-legged friend will be happy to travel with you.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
4
minute read
Do you know someone who could benefit from this article?
Posted 27 SEPTEMBER 2021

Which types of car are best for dogs? 

The type of car you choose will invariably come down to the size of your dog. In all cases, you’ll want a spacious boot with a large opening that’s easy to access and clean. Think estates and SUVs rather than saloons or convertibles. 

So, while a small hatchback may be fine for a Chihuahua, a large estate with a low-lipped big boot is a better choice for a boisterous Golden Retriever. 

You’ll also want to consider cabin space for the two-legged members of your family – and of course, your budget. 

With that in mind, here’s a round-up of the best cars for dog owners to suit a variety of needs and budgets.

Best estate car for dogs 

Offering spacious boots, a decent amount of headroom and a lower lip for easy loading, estates are ideal for larger breeds and older dogs who may have trouble leaping in and out of the car. 

Skoda Superb Estate 

A massive 660-litre boot , enough cabin space for the tallest of passengers, and lots of extra storage features – the Skoda Superb Estate is ideal for a big family with the biggest of dogs. 

Dog-friendly features:

  •  Massive boot
  • Lots of headroom
  • Plenty of storage options
  • Boot can be easily divided to keep one side a dog-free zone
  • Durable interior 

Ford Focus Estate 

The new Ford Focus Estate is deceptively big. The new design is a lot sleeker on the outside, and it’s far more spacious on the inside, thanks to an all-round increase in headroom and load length. With a 575-litre capacity, it also has a bigger boot than the Ford Mondeo. 

Dog-friendly features: 

  • Deceptively spacious inside
  • Bigger boot than Mondeo
  • 575-litre capacity can easily accommodate a dog crate
  • A whole heap of updated safety equipment
  • Nippy as a hatchback and fun to drive 

Mercedes E-Class Estate 

A firm favourite for dog-owning families who enjoy those extra touches of luxury and cutting-edge technology. An enormous 670-litre boot capacity means that even a Great Dane can snuggle down and relax in comfort. 

Dog-friendly features: 

  • Enormous boot
  • Extremely comfortable ride
  • Ideal for long journeys and motorways
  • Luxury touches for two-legged passengers to enjoy

Best SUV for dogs 

There’s no denying the popularity of SUVs in recent years – especially for dog-loving families. Just be aware that the raised driving position means a higher boot floor, which could be problematic for elderly dogs and smaller breeds. That said, an SUV is a great choice for energetic pups like Border Collies and Labradors. 

Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV 

What it lacks in floor space, it makes up for in head height – the Discovery Sport SUV claims a total boot volume of 981 litres. Land Rover also offers a range of Pet Packs as optional extras. For example, you could get an access ramp for heavier or older dogs, or a portable shower for washing down muddy pups before they hop in the boot. 

Dog-friendly features: 

  • Large boot volume
  • Pet Packs available as optional extras
  • Impressive off-road capabilities for more adventurous dog walkers Good range of safety features 

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 

With a 430-litre boot capacity , the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross might not seem that spacious compared to others we’ve listed. But thanks to some clever design features like flat-sided wheel arches and a removable boot floor, it can offer more space and headroom for larger dogs. 

You can also buy optional extras including a boot liner, a dog guard for above the rear seats and a partitional grille to divide the boot into two zones 

One of the cheapest and most underrated SUVs on the market, the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross offers exceptional value for money for budget-conscious dog owners. 

Dog-friendly features: 

  • Clever design to increase boot space.
  • Dog-friendly optional extras available.
  • No lip on the boot makes it easier to get in and out.
  • Great value for money. 

Dacia Duster 

If you want space for your dog, but you’re on a tight budget, look no further than the Dacia Duster. Cheap to buy, economical to run, the Duster is tough and durable – ideal for mucky pups and kids. 

Dog-friendly features: 

  • Decent-sized boot
  • Tough and durable
  • Cheap to buy
  • Low running costs

Top tips for driving with pets 

  • On long journeys, make sure your dog has their favourite blanket, a supply of treats and a portable water bowl
  • Don’t feed your dog a heavy meal just before a long journey, as it could cause travel sickness
  • Don’t let your pet stick their head out of the window while travelling – there’s a serious risk of injury
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car on a hot day – it’s cruel, illegal and highly dangerous

Frequently asked questions

What’s the law on dogs travelling in cars?

While it’s perfectly legal to travel with your dog, the Highway Code states that they must be ‘suitably restrained’ so they can’t distract you while you’re driving.  

You can’t be fined for breaking the Highway Code, but you could be pulled over for driving without due care and attention. This could result in a fine and three to nine penalty points on your licence. 

And while you don’t legally have to put your dog in the boot, it’s probably the safest option.

How much space does my dog need?

Whether your dog is simply sat in the boot, or restrained in a crate, they must have enough room to stand at full height and turn around easily so they can lie down in a natural position.

Will travelling with my dog affect my car insurance?

Driving with an unrestrained pet in your car could invalidate your car insurance. If you’re involved in an accident, your insurance provider might refuse your claim.

Looking for a quote?

Compare car insurance in minutes to see if you can save

Get a quote
Compare car insurance Get a quote