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Best cars

Top 10 best cars for dog owners

Whether you’re already a dog owner or are looking for a vehicle before a puppy arrives, we’ve got you covered with the best options for motoring with man’s best friend

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Searching for a family car can be difficult enough because children or other family members need space and comfort. Add in the challenge of keeping your beloved pet happy and it can be a real challenge to find your next car. Since man’s best friend is so good to you, it feels right to make sure you are good to them. Picking a car that can transport them everywhere from the local park to their check-ups at the (whisper it) vets, and the long drives for weekends away will be a lot easier with our top 10 list.

The cars with the biggest bootsTop 10 cars with the biggest boots

When it comes to our tail-wagging passengers, it’s not necessarily just a case of choosing a car with a big boot. While we also have lists of the best SUVs and best estate cars which may appeal due to the space they have in the rear, some models are undoubtedly more canine-capable than others thanks to certain specialised features.

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Beyond size, you’ll want a boot that’s lined with sturdy materials, so that it won’t look like a dog’s dinner after every journey. It needs to be low enough to allow easy access – a senior Samoyed will likely be less mobile than an adolescent Alsatian and the interior should be easy to clean after Mastiff mishaps. Extra features like tie-down cargo hooks can also keep your Spaniel secure.

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Read on for our round-up of the top 10 best cars for dogs and their owners.

Skoda Superb Estate review – a near-faultless, practical family car

Skoda Superb Estate Carbuyer drive
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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Skoda is known for its ‘Simply Clever’ features, such as mounting an umbrella within the driver’s door, or an ice scraper in the fuel filler flap. The Czech brand also has your dog in mind too, as it offers a ‘dog seatbelt’ that’s compatible with all of its current models. This clips onto the normal seatbelt mount and keeps your pooch in place when you’re on the move. Available in different sizes to suit dogs of all breeds, Skoda’s solution keeps your dog safe in the event of a sudden change of direction, while also preventing them from disturbing you whilst you’re driving.

The Skoda Superb Estate snagged our Best Estate Car award at the 2023 Carbuyer Best Car Awards. Its spacious 660-litre boot is perfect if you’d rather your dog didn’t ride shotgun, while passengers are treated by a smart and plush interior with all the latest tech. It’s incredibly relaxing to travel in too, with soft suspension that people and pets alike are sure to be thankful for.

Land Rover Defender review - iconic 4x4 reinvented

Defender 130
Carbuyer rating

4.4 out of 5

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Land Rover offers a range of pet-friendly accessories, however no model best suits the life of a pet owner than the Defender. Available in 90, 110 and 130 configurations to suit any lifestyle and/or pet size, Land Rover offers its long-running 4x4 with a Pet Care and Access Pack which includes a ramp for easy entry and exit to the boot, a reversible boot liner, a metal grate to separate the boot compartment and even a built-in shower for after muddy walks.

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While the Land Rover brand has evolved from its more utilitarian origins to something that now focuses more on opulence and luxury, the Defender is perhaps the most rugged model in the British marques range – being offered in both passenger and commercial configurations. While there are still plenty of plush materials and all the latest tech, exposed screws and wipe-down floor mats are giveaways of the Defender’s exceptional off-road heritage and capability.

MINI Clubman estate review

MINI Clubman driving through a town
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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MINI is proud that it’s the only car manufacturer to have received approval from the charity Dogs Trust – with all its showrooms being classed as ‘dog friendly’. While the British brand’s smaller models don’t have enough room to swing a cat, the Clubman estate should have plenty of space to accommodate your four-legged friends. The vertically-split bootlid should make it easy for your dog to get in and out and MINI also offers a wide range of accessories to help keep everything clean.

Just like the iconic hatchback, the MINI Clubman offers the brand’s signature ‘go-kart’ handling, with direct steering and a range of punchy powertrains. Befitting of its premium price tag, the Clubman’s interior is also a step above that of regular family hatchbacks too; like the exterior, the cabin adopts a funky-retro vibe and there’s plenty of soft-touch materials around the place. MINI’s infotainment system is slick and easy to use too, taking BMW’s class-leading iDrive software and redressing it with vibrant and fun graphics.

Tesla Model Y SUV review

Best Company Car: Tesla Model Y
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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Tesla has become well known for the variety of clever features programmed into its infotainment systems, and perhaps none are more useful to pet owners than ‘Dog Mode’. This allows you to set the car at your pooch’s preferred temperature, enabling you to leave them in the car whilst you nip out for short errands. A message is displayed on the 14-inch touchscreen notifying passersby that your canine is being cared for and while leaving your dog in the car may not still get a ringing endorsement from the RSPCA, Dog Mode does make it a more pleasant experience for your pup.

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Although there are now several other electric SUVs on sale, the Tesla Model Y remains one of the most well-rounded options available. Sharing many of its parts with the Model 3 saloon, a new entry-level rear-wheel-drive model means getting into a Tesla SUV is now easier than before, while Long Range models can travel an impressive 331 miles on a single charge.

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports estate review

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports estate rear 3/4
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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The Toyota Corolla has long been considered a wise choice for car buyers, with strong reliability and dependability, and the larger Touring Sports estate is a great choice for dog owners. With a low load lip, it’s easy for smaller or less-mobile dogs to hop in the rear and with a 581-litre cargo bay, there should be plenty of space for all but the most humongous of hounds to stretch out.

While the exterior of the Toyota Corolla is certainly striking, the interior is a bit more subdued; everything is where you expect it to be, though, and material quality is strong throughout. Add to this a 10-year warranty from new if you service at the main dealer and the Corolla Touring Sports should allow you to spend more time worrying about your pet, and less about your car.

Dacia Jogger review - the best-value seven-seater

Best Family Car: Dacia Jogger
Carbuyer rating

3.7 out of 5

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If your dog is bigger than your new car budget, look no further than the Dacia Jogger. The largest model in Dacia’s range, the Jogger comes as standard with seven seats – however, the rearmost row is easily removable, leaving a palatial 712 litres of space for your pooch to relax in. There’s also a set of pop-out windows too, meaning air circulation shouldn’t be a problem even in the very rear of the car.

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Like most Dacias, the Jogger follows function over form, however the interior isn’t as spartan as you might expect for a car of this price. Even the entry-level Essential model comes with LED headlights, air conditioning and rear parking sensors. Top-of-the-range Extreme SE cars boast luxuries such as an eight-inch touchscreen, heated front seats and a reversing camera – although at almost £20,000, these examples represent slightly less value-for-money.

Honda Jazz review – an easy-to-drive hybrid supermini

honda jazz ex style
Carbuyer rating

4.1 out of 5

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The Honda Jazz is a small car that’ll wow owners with its efficient hybrid powertrain and dogs with its clever rear seat setup. The Jazz features Honda’s clever Magic Seats which can fold away to create a large cargo well in the rear compartment, perfect for transporting your dog. The seats slide too, meaning you carry your dog in the boot thanks to increased space, while also allowing for passengers in the rear seats.

The Jazz only comes with a CVT automatic gearbox and this means it's very smooth to drive. One thing worth noting, though, is that the ride can be rather firm with larger wheels fitted, so stick to smaller alloys if you want the most comfortable ride for your canine. Honda’s smallest car comes with plenty of standard kit though, with all models getting LED headlights, bluetooth connectivity and climate control.

Kia Ceed Sportswagon estate review

Kia Ceed Sportswagon estate
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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A car carrying a pet should be able to stand the test of time, and that’s where the Kia Ceed Sportswagon enters the fray with its strong build quality and brilliant seven-year warranty. Essentially a stretched version of the Ceed hatchback, the Sportswagon has a 625-litre boot to carry your furry friend, plus plenty of underfloor storage for hiding leads, muddy boots or even treats.

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While it may not stand out as much as rivals, the Ceed has a smart design, as well as an equally smart interior. It drives rather well, too; there’s only one engine to choose from – a 1.5-litre petrol – which benefits from mild-hybrid technology. This offers punchy performance while also returning around 50mpg, meaning it should be relatively inexpensive to run.

Mercedes E-Class Estate review

Facelifted Mercedes E-Class estate driving
Carbuyer rating

4.6 out of 5

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The Mercedes E-Class Estate has long been a favourite amongst dog lovers with an eye for quality. Most models have 670 litres of boot space – enough for most dogs to lie down safely and sleep contentedly while the car glides along the motorway. Top-spec cars also get air suspension, meaning you can lower the car to make it easier for your canine companion to climb in.

The E-Class has been designed first and foremost to get you to your desired location in the most unflappable and comfortable way possible. As you’d expect from a Mercedes-Benz, almost everything you touch in the interior feels extremely luxurious, while the brand’s MBUX infotainment system looks cutting edge and is a doddle to operate. In E200d and E220d diesel forms, it’s a very economical car, too, while providing all the power any driver could reasonably need.

Volvo XC60 SUV review

Volvo XC60 SUV front 3/4 tracking
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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Volvo is best known for its range of safety features, but its lineup of pet-friendly accessories is pretty impressive too. Most notable is the ‘Dog Gate’ which can create a separate space for your dog in the boot, away from any luggage or items you’d rather not get chewed or eaten! The door can be kept closed to prevent your pooch from leaping out whenever you open the boot, plus (as you’d expect from Volvo) it meets crash safety requirements, thus it should help to keep your pet safe in a collision. 

One of our favourite premium family SUVs, the Volvo XC60 offers a beautiful and minimalist interior, plus a comfortable ride that’ll be appreciated by passengers – two and four-legged. The entry-level Plus trim comes loaded to the brim with standard kit, while we recommend opting for the B4 diesel model as this comes with four-wheel-drive and mild-hybrid tech, offering a good blend of performance and fuel economy.

Looking for a fuel-efficient family runaround? Check out our list of the best hybrid estate cars

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