If you're transporting terriers or schlepping Schnauzers, then you may need to keep a few unique things in mind when shopping for new cars. Features like drool-resistant seats, easy entry/exit and flexible seating can all add up to a satisfying package for canines and owners alike. Review the top five new cars that are not only great for dogs, but also great for the environment.
New 2010 Mazda MAZDA3 Hatchback
The MAZDA3 is one of the best small vehicles for canine cargo. Though small, the wide-swinging rear doors, available tailgate and smooth handling all add up to an agreeable design for Fido and friends. However, the lack of a fold-flat rear seat may make the Mazda MAZDA3 a bit on the cramped side for larger breeds. Aftermarket pet floormats, kennels and more are widely available and improve the MAZDA3's appeal. For owners, the MAZDA3 offers a sporty ride and fuel figures of 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Base price is $15,345.
Find a Mazda dealer near you.
New 2010 Nissan Cube
For those with larger breeds, the Nissan Cube may serve as a viable alternative to the MAZDA3. Thanks to its boxy frame and full fold-down rear seat, dogs both big and small can find enough room to spread out. While this rear seat doesn't create a completely flat surface, padding can be added by the owner to improve canine comfort. Available aftermarket parts include hair-shedding seat covers and rubber cargo mats. Beyond being animal friendly, the Cube benefits from a funky design and affordable base price ($13,990). Gas mileage is estimated at 24 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
Find a Nissan dealer near you.
New 2010 Toyota Venza
The Toyota Venza is one of the most fuel-efficient mid-size SUVs of the year (21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway). It also boasts one of the most impressive lists of factory-made pet-friendly add-ons. These add-ons include a tailgate ramp, waterproof seat covers, adjustable pet barrier, adjustable harness/booster seat and a pet tether that keeps your pooch from hopping into the passenger area. Owners will enjoy the smooth sedan-like drive and well-equipped interior. With a base price of $26,275, the Toyota Venza delivers a good value for SUV shoppers.
Find a Toyota dealer near you.
New 2010 MINI Cooper Clubman
While on the small side, the extended-cab MINI proves to be remarkably accommodating to even the largest of breeds. The unique rear barn door makes loading and unloading of pets a simple task, and the fold-down rear seats provide an impressive 32.8 cubic feet of available real estate. Factory-installed tie-downs also make securing kennels of any size a breeze. Other benefits of the MINI Cooper Clubman include a stylish European design and spirited drive. Base price comes in at $20,450 and fuel efficiency is an excellent 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.
Find a MINI dealer near you.
New 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid
For those who can afford the $29,860 base price, the 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid is an ideal vehicle for fuel-conscious pet owners. The expansive cargo area serves as a comfortable kennel on the go for even the largest of pups. Ford offers pet-friendly accessories such as floor mats and pet dividers. Plenty of aftermarket add-ons are also available, and the hybrid battery pack is completely encased to ensure no technical problems result from a wet dog. The EPA rates the Escape Hybrid at 34 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.
Find a Ford dealer near you.