We're a nation of dog lovers, yet our four-legged friends are often an afterthought when it comes to buying a car. Our canine chums come in all shapes and sizes, so there's no such thing as a perfect car for dogs, but broadly speaking, estates and SUVs tick the right boxes when it comes to space, safety, visibility, comfort and ruggedness. And don't forget Rule 57 of the Highway Code, which states that animals should be restrained "so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly". If you're stopped by the police and they think your dog is a distraction, it's possible that you could be charged with driving without due care and attention and fined as much as £2,500 and given nine penalty points. A seat belt harness, dog cage, pet carrier or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars. If you are looking for a new family-friendly car, we've put together a selection of some of the best new cars for dogs - and their owners.
Peugeot Rifter Practical
'Leisure Activity Vehicles' are the way to go if you want to combine the passenger-carrying ability of a people carrier with the load capacity of a small van. Whether you go for the Rifter, or its very similar cousins - the Citroen Berlingo or Vauxhall Combo Life - these are cool cars for the city or outdoors. They're ideal for dogs too because once you lift that enormous tailgate, there's a huge amount of boot space for your furry friends to spread out.
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If you're ready to make the leap to a reasonably-priced 100 per cent electric vehicle, but also want space for your dog, the Kia e-Niro might be the solution. This crossover-styled EV has a genuine 280-mile range and yet has a generous boot capacity of 451 litres - that's more than a Nissan Qashqai, despite all the batteries. Your dog will enjoy the whisper quiet drive of the e-Niro and maybe all that money saved on fuel will result in some serious doggie treats?
The Nissan X-Trail has always been a sensible SUV choice, combining space, comfort and genuine all-terrain ability if you go for the 4x4. Nissan is another manufacturer that understands that dogs are much more than just pets, they're part of the family. The Paw Pack converts your X-Trail's boot space into a travel compartment complete with foldaway dog ramp and bag for storage, dog guard, trunk liner, super soft dog bed and special seat- back bag to hold a lead and other accessories.
The 560-litre boot of the V90 offers plenty of space for a couple of dogs to have a serious snooze while you waft home! This handsome car bursting with Scandinavian chic also has a low load lip which is great for smaller and older dogs. Accessories include a grille to separate the load compartment from passengers, a liner to protect the boot and stop dogs sliding around, plus a bespoke dog gate which can be fitted on the left or right side - or on both sides to create two separate canine spaces.
It may sound incongruous to be recommending a Big Cat as an ideal vehicle to transport Big Dogs, but there's no doubt that Jaguar's popular SUV fits the bill. With an impressive 650-litre boot capacity, there's bags of space, but that high load lip could be a challenge for smaller and older dogs, which is where Jaguar's pet accessories come in. The range puts canine comfort at the forefront with a convenient rear access ramp, spill-resistant water bowl, foldable carrier, quilted luggage compartment liner and even a handy portable shower.
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Land Rover Discovery Sport
As well as possessing Land Rover's legendary off-road capability, the Discovery Sport seven-seater is also a comfortable and safe SUV ideal for families and dogs. Updated extensively in 2019, the range now features hybrid technology and most importantly for your faithful companion - a massive 754 litres of boot space with the third row of seats folded. Pet Pack accessories available include a full-height partition, spill-resistant water bowl, access ramp, foldable pet carrier, tailored quilted load space liner and portable shower for those muddy walks.
For a competitively priced big estate car capable of carrying one or more dogs in comfort, then the mighty Skoda Superb should be at the top of your shortlist. There's a huge 660-litre space that's long and flat with a low loading sill ideal for pets. They'll love it once you're underway, because the Superb is a fantastically, relaxing cruiser. Naturally, there's a Pet Protection Pack available complete with dog guard, durable mat and a rear bumper protector.
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Aston Martin DBX
If money is no object then Aston Martin's first SUV, the DBX, could be right up your street. Not only is there 632 litres of boot space, but its Pet Pack includes a partition to give pedigree pooches their own space in the boot of the car, plus a bumper protector to keep the paintwork pristine when scrabbling paws are clambering in and out. If muddy puddles are the order of the day then the portable washer is an ideal solution for keeping the countryside on the outside of your car. Before you rush down to your nearest showroom, the DBX starts at £158,000.
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