Melody Bond from Livonia (Mich.) loved her 2014 Chevrolet Camaro muscle vehicle so much that she named it Esmeralda.
But Esmeralda had to go when Bond’s all-white German Shepherd puppy, Jasper, grew up and got too big for the sports car.
“He weighs 100 pounds and when he sat in the Camaro, his head touched the ceiling and his feet were on the floor,”Bond stated. “It was ridiculous. Even just to go to the vet, it was just too much.”
Bond took over Esmeralda’s role last summer and bought a 2017 Jeep Wrangler “Big Bear.”To keep Jasper safe in the back, it has a net partition at the rear.
It was named Freedom by her. “I want to go to the U.P. aurora hunting and I want to take a big dog with me for protection,”Bond stated. “He’s going to be my travel partner now.”
With the Wrangler’s water-resistant, easy-to-clean interior, safety hooks for a harness and a large cargo area to fit a crate, it’s not surprising the Wrangler makes most top-10 lists of dog-friendly cars. There are some cars that may surprise you, however: the Corvette and Tesla models, for instance, because of their innovative designs “Dog Mode”Technology.
Dealers, industry experts, and consumers agree that canine consideration is an important factor when car buyers are choosing their next vehicle.
‘Along for the ride’
CarGurus, an online auto buying and selling website, enlisted several auto journalists to compile its Best Cars for Dogs List earlier this spring.
CarGurus is yet to conduct an official consumer-insights survey. “so the evidence I have is anecdotal, but pretty much anyone who’s met a dog owner in their life knows their dog plays an incredible role in their life and in their decisions,”Smith.
No. The Honda CR-V SUV is No. 1, and the Chrysler Pacifica minivan 2021 Chrysler Pacifica is No. The list also featured some less obvious choices like the Tesla Model Y compact crossover, and the Corvette super-sport car.
“Not everyone has a large dog that loves adventure. Some of us have Pomeranians or Chihuahuas who need nothing more than a comfortable seat to curl up on. Or, maybe you have a larger older dog that simply looks forward to morning trips to the coffee shop with his tongue waving in the wind,”Thom Blackett (CarGurus free-lancer) wrote about the Corvette. “Where you’re going or what you drive doesn’t matter as long as your four-legged friend gets to go along for the ride.”
Smith explained that Smith and the group of auto journalists who created this list test-drive 50 to100 cars each year and have dogs.
And just because vehicles such as the Chevrolet Equinox or Ford Explorer were not on CarGuru’s list doesn’t mean it’s an indictment of those vehicles. He also said they are dog-friendly.
“We wanted our list to have a variety of vehicle types because there are a variety of shoppers,”Smith. “The Honda CR-V is there for someone who has a dog, but wants a compact crossover, the Kia Rio5 is a great choice for dog owners who are on a budget.”
The Ram full-size pickup made it because of RamBox, the large, drainable storage pockets on each side of the truck’s bed. These pockets are lockable and easy to access, and can be used to store leashes, food and bowls as well as towels and wet towels.
An optional vacuum is available in the Chrysler Pacifica. “a necessity during shedding season,”Smith said. Smith stated that the Jeep Wrangler, third on the list is an excellent example of safety when transporting the dog.
Next, there’s Tesla Model Y. Dog Mode makes it number 8 on the list. Dog Mode allows the owner to control the temperature and places a sign on the touch screen of 15 inches that reads. “My owner will be back soon,” noting the car’s interior temperature.
Because of this, the Land Rover Discovery was included in the list. “It offers lots of features: a spill-resistant water bowl, folding ramps, a quilted cargo liner,”Smith. “Then there is the portable rinse system. It’s essentially a garden hose that you load up ahead of time and it gives you two minutes of water to rinse off your dog.”
In car sales, the dog factor is important. In fact, it’s so important that Village Ford in Dearborn, Mich., set up a display of a 2021 Bronco Sport SUV with a stuffed dog in a safety harness and the dog safety screen in it to keep a dog in the backseat.
“We wanted to start doing more accessories and people love their dogs and will spend money on them. So we wanted to show what’s available,”Jason MacDonald is Village Ford’s operations sales manager.
MacDonald stated that Ford sells a wide range of accessories for dogs, including safety harnesses and water bowl kits.
“A lot of people take (dogs) into consideration and will get a bench seat in the back of an Explorer, for example, rather than bucket seats because bench sets are more comfortable for the dogs,”MacDonald added.
Up high, clear view
Floyd Allen has been carrying his German Shorthair Pointer dogs, the Ford Explorer SUVs, for over two decades. He bought the vehicle keeping his dogs in mind.
“It is probably the most significant factor because I would not want to have a vehicle that would not accommodate my dogs well,” Allen said. “My dogs are a very, very significant part of my life. They are my best friend and we do a lot together, it’s not just that I go hunting a few times a year. Every weekend we do something.”
Allen, who is a corporate attorney with his office in Detroit’s Fisher Building, said he got turned on to the Explorer in the mid-1990s.
“I was looking for a utility vehicle that allows me to do all the things I like to do: I bike, I golf, I ski, I hunt and fish so anything outdoors,” Allen said. “I picked the Explorer because my German Shorthair dogs over the years enjoyed the vehicle as much as I enjoy it.”
Allen usually has two dogs but currently has Broadway Shooter, 5. However, he hopes to acquire another dog in the next couple of years.
His dogs love the Explorer Explorer, he said. “can see around.” Allen likes the vehicle because it’s comfortable to drive long distances, he can hose it down if the dogs are muddy from hunting, the backseats fold down for the dogs to stretch and there is plenty of storage space.
He ordered a new Explorer last week to replace the current one that he had. The lease ends in December.
Custard in the Town
Margie Bauer has her priorities when she buys a car too and they’re in this order: “One that my dogs can fit in and one that a lot of stuff can fit in and one that is easy to park and can fit in my garage,”Bauer.
Bauer from Harper Woods in Mich. was a passionate muscle-car enthusiast like Bond. Bauer’s first car was a 1976 Camaro back before she got dogs. Sandy was her first dog. She had Sandy by 1988. Camaro “was out for practicality,”She spoke.
Bauer has been driving Chevrolet SUVs since then. She currently drives the Equinox 2015.
“It’s just the right size,”Bauer stated that Liberty, a 60-pound Golden Retriever, and Layla, an 54-pound Beagle-corgi Mix, were her two dogs. “They can fit in the backseat and jump up in it.”
She claimed that the dog-friendly storage area is great for traveling with the dogs up North.
And it’s easy to clean fur after short trips around town and those hot summer days when she takes them to a custard shop to get a cup of ice cream with a dog treat in it.
She is adamant that her dog-friendly vehicle be available.
“I’m always going to have some dogs and I want to be able to take them with me even if it’s just for short little trips,”Bauer. “They’re my buddies.”
CarGurus’ Best Cars for Dogs list
–2021 Chrysler Pacifica Minivan
–2021 Honda CR-V SUV
–2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
–2021 Kia Rio5 compact hatchback
–2021 Land Rover Discovery SUV
–2021 RAM 1500 pickup
Subaru Outback wagon, 0–2021
–2021 Tesla Model Y compact crossover
Volvo V60 wagon, –2021
–2021 Chevrolet Corvette sports car
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