There was a time when the family car was the preserve of only the family dog. Only he or she would be invited out to sanguine family picnics, trips to the park and the most exciting place of all—the local Pet Store Parking Lot! But now, thanks to many new restraint and safety apparatus for all types of family pets, you can take most any pet in the car, truck, SUV or even in a sport coupe safely. That is not, of course, to say that Fido has been left out of this equation. As follows are our ten choices for best pet friendly 2013 vehicles by category.
- Most Pet Friendly Sporty Car—2013 Hyundai Veloster/Veloster Turbo: The reason the Veloster sport coupe is so pet friendly comes down to one simple and unique engineering feature—its highly useful third, human sized door. No dog likes to hop into the back of any sport coupe and you try restraining a cat in the back of your Porsche 911 without throwing out your back. Well, it’s impossible. We also love the fact that the Veloster boasts a very large 16 cubic foot cargo hold that is deep enough for plenty of pet supplies.
- Most Pet Friendly Luxury Sedan over $40,000—2013 Lexus GS350: After a week spent chauffeuring two 75 pound boxer dogs in the backseat of this Lexus GS the place looked just as it did when brand new. No wonder so many do owners looking for luxury cars turn to one place and one place only—Lexus. Looked a lot better than the light mocha colored interior of the 2013 Audi A6 these two road testing dogs tested the week after.
- Most Pet Friendly Entry Level Luxury Car—2013 Volvo S60: Not only is the interior of this lovely Scandinavian sport sedan very stylish but it adheres to the needs of pets as well with features like rear seat air conditioning vents and some of the most comfortable seats found in any automobile. There’s also Volvo’s commitment to safety with systems like City Safe which will stop the car if a pedestrian (or a large enough animal) gets in the way of the vehicle as you are driving.
- Most Pet Friendly Compact Family SUV—2013 Honda CR-V: Solid build quality, proven reliability and efficiency as well as the lowest ride height of any compact SUV (for those old and more arthritic pets who can’t jump up into tall SUVs) the 2013 Honda CR-V is the no brainer choice when it comes to affordable pet transportation. Oh yeah, and your less-furry family too.
- Most Pet Friendly Luxury SUV—2013 Lexus RX350: Again, sit inside a Lexus RX SUV and compare it with the albeit luxurious interiors of a Cadillac SRX, Audi Q5 or Infiniti FX35 and it is easy to see that this vehicle not only is built to withstand any wayward pet claws but will also clean up like new after one trip to the car wash. Luxury is nice but you want that luxury to be durable if you plan on bringing your pet along with you everywhere.
- Most Pet Friendly Car Starting Under $15,000—2013 Chevy Spark: Sure, you can buy a base Honda Fit for just barely under $15,000 but after taxes and any options the price goes up considerably. That’s why we recommend the exemplary foor door 2013 Chevy Spark which is not only peppy with the manual transmission but also plenty roomy in the back even for a large breed dog. Or a really, really fat cat. Prices for the Spark start at just $12,185.
- Most Pet Friendly Family Sedan—2013 Honda Accord: The first family sedan to nab the coveted new IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) Top Safety Rating Plus award, the 2013 Honda Accord also impresses for its best in class interior quality and design, ample trunk space and the usual Honda resale value. It’s also fun to drive but your pet will no doubt favor the fact that Honda designed the greenhouse and rear seats with dogs in mind so that they could get a good view out of the road. No one wants a car sick Doberman in the back seat.
- Most Pet Friendly Full Size Sedan—2013 Dodge Charger: These full size sedans have amazing handling capabilities and are always top rated in the impact safety ratings. But this award goes to a special Dodge Charger SXT who helped this author and his 80 pound dog miraculously steer around a piano sitting in the middle of a very, very busy road.
- Most Pet Friendly Pick-Up Truck—2013 Toyota Tundra: In a recent test of Double Cab Pick-Up trucks (not the full size models with four doors), we found that pets found entry and exit into the back of the Tundra to be easiest thanks to a modicum of legroom in the low footwell and also that having the seat near their owner gave even a newly adopted rescue dog a feeling of serene comfort in the back perch. Also, the back half doors have windows that roll down as well for that wind in your fur feeling. Not to mention the trailing capacity for your hooved pets and all their equipment.
- Most Pet Friendly “Green” Vehicle—2013 Toyota Prius V/2013 VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI: One is a diesel (the VW) and the other is a hybrid (the Prius V) but both share one thing in common—they are both essentially modern day wagons with all of the space and utility that provides you. EPA estimates for the Jetta Sportwagen TDI are 42 city/30 highway and the Prius V promises returns of 44 city/40 highway. Both boast plenty of cargo room, tie down hooks for pet restraints and tons of SUV rivaling cargo room.
No matter which car you choose to transport yourself and your pet, choose an appropriate harness or restraint to keep everyone in the vehicle safe. For more information on pet restraints and harnesses go to BarkBuckleUp.com