Dog Wagon.
September 14, 2006 1:26 AM   Subscribe

What new wagons/autos are dog friendly?

My sister in law is looking for a car that will hold her, a (human) passenger, two (medium 40-50lb) dogs, and hopefully two dog crates. I recommended the Scion xB, but I don't actually know that it will do the job. Anyone who drives multiple dogs around care to comment? Vibe, Matrix, Focus, Mazda5, RAV4?
posted by BrotherCaine to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does it have to be new?

Very few things are better for doggie transport than a classic Volvo 240-series wagon, even today. The last one rolled off of the assembly line in 1993 -- but they run forever, so a '93 is just now getting fully broken in.
posted by toxic at 2:08 AM on September 14, 2006

My wife has a Honda Element and loves it. Sure, it's ugly as all hell, but the neoprene seats fold up, and are easy to clean, the rubber floor is flat. There is a ton of storage space, it's fun to drive and has AWD, which comes in handy. We get about 24 mpg with it. We carry 3 dogs, bicycles, (inside) my wife's large oil paintings, furniture, and can even fit a short kayak inside, but that isn't exactly convienient.
posted by lobstah at 5:54 AM on September 14, 2006

Second the suggestion for the Element. I got one earlier this year and the rubber floor is a godsend, especially when you have a perpetually carsick basset hound.
posted by Keane at 6:09 AM on September 14, 2006

Floor in the back of Matrix and Vibe is hard plastic and would probably be slippery for a dog. It's also quite high so you'd have to help smaller animals up. Great on gas, though, so more money left over for doggie treats!
posted by ChuckLeChuck at 6:28 AM on September 14, 2006

CR-V as well. Mechanically the same as an Element; we picked the CR-V because it had more airbags and because it had dramatically better front-side visibility.

Maybe a Subaru Legacy wagon or Outback (same car); they have a titch less space than a CR-V or Elemelent but maybe more floor area.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:35 AM on September 14, 2006

Our two 80 lb dogs fit comfortably in the back of our Subaru Forester. We don't use their crates anymore but they would fit folded up in the back seat (not leaving room for anything else there, though).
When we were shopping we looked at the Vibe and the Matrix which seemed similarly sized, and both our dogs couldn't fit in the back cargo area (we didn't want them on the seats, so that might be different if you plan on allowing them to ride in the back seat as I am pretty sure you could squeeze the crates into the cargo area...) We would have gone for the Element, but it was too expensive.
posted by iurodivii at 6:44 AM on September 14, 2006

After years of driving with dogs in cars - including a Volkswagen fox and a Forester - we switched to a pickup truck with a cap a few years ago, and couldn't be happier. If she only needs to carry one other human passenger, she might consider this option. Imagine driving, in comfort, with all the hair, drool and smell contained in a separate compartment.

posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 6:57 AM on September 14, 2006

I have a Scion Xb, and while I don't have dogs, I know it would fit two of them. It should fit the crates, too. However, be aware that the seats do not fold down totally flat - there is a gentle slope when they are down.

I love the Xb - funky, reverse-chic, and if you have passengers, HUGE amounts of leg room for rear-seaters.

Not a lot of pick up or acceleration, though. Also, exterior paint job is failry low quality - looks good, but scratches easy.
posted by Futurehouse at 8:46 AM on September 14, 2006

New is preferred, but not absolutely required. Thanks for the suggestions so far.

I think she requires that the dogs be in the back seat, and harnessed to the seat belts for safety. I'm sure there's a way to strap dogs into a covered pickup bed, or the way back of a wagon, but she probably wont like that.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:44 AM on September 14, 2006

My wife drives a CR-V and I drive a Focus wagon. My Focus actually has more room and is easier to pack when packing for doggy weekends with all the paraphrenalia (two crates, grooming tables, trolley, chairs, cooler, and whatnot.
posted by cairnish at 1:06 PM on September 14, 2006

Gina Spadafori, author of the syndicated Pet Connection columns, has been reviewing vehicles for exactly this purpose lately. And since she is getting loaners from manufacturers, she can actually do a good comparison. Look under "dogmobiles."
posted by timepiece at 1:40 PM on September 14, 2006

Elements and dogs go together well. For evidence, see here and here.
posted by ilsa at 9:51 PM on September 14, 2006

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