- One of the most important features is ease of access. Depending on the age and size of your dog, a high boot lip or loading area in general can make it difficult for them to climb in and out of the boot. It's often best to go for a car with a low, wide boot opening to make access easy. This makes it much more practical in everyday use too.
- Fold-flat seats give your dog much more room and enables them to lie down on long journeys - and gives the added benefit of keeping your seat surfaces clean from hairs or any additional debris which they happen to walk in! The extra space is also particularly useful for those with multiple dogs.
- Other features, such as rear air conditioning, can also be a real help. Cars can be notoriously warm for dogs, and air conditioning in both the front and the rear of the car helps keep them cool. It also means they don't need to risk injury with every dog's favourite pastime of putting their head out the window!
With this in mind, we've picked our premium selection of the very best pet-friendly cars:
BMW 2-Series Gran Tourer
The 2-Series Gran Tourer is only the second ever BMW MPV, in addition to the smaller BMW 2-Series Active Tourer which was released last year. It's really versatile, and comes with seven seats as standard in a compact package that could suit just about every family.
In fact, you can lower the back row of two seats, which fold completely flat in to the floor. This leaves you with a spacious 560 litre load area which is ideal for your dog. The load height is particularly low too, and there's an electric tailgate as standard so access definitely isn't a problem here.
The boot is ideal for any pets, and means there are still five seats free for the rest of the family with the Gran Tourer's spacious interior. Rear air conditioning ensures that there is plenty of ventilation too. Safety features include emergency city braking and full, all-round airbags. Well worth a look!
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is spacious in just about every sense. There's enough room on the inside to comfortably seat up to five adults, and an extremely generous boot space too. In fact, boot space on the E-Class Estate stands at a tremendous 695 litres which is more than enough for your pampered pooch to relax with space and style.
The boot is flush with the tailgate opening, and one of the lowest boot heights we've seen means that it's extremely easy to get in and out of. The E-Class is ideal for those pets which struggle with jumping in and out of higher cars. The icing on the cake is a powered tailgate which makes opening and closing the boot a breeze.
However it's not just dogs that will find the E-Class comfortable, and the ride quality of the Mercedes-Benz is second to none. Climate control and a plush faux leather trim come as standard equipment too.
Land Rover Discovery
The Land Rover Discovery has long been a go-to choice for those owners with larger dogs, and with good reason. The Discovery boasts a split-folding rear tailgate that's perfect for medium to larger sized dogs to hop on to.
The Discovery also has seven seats, though if your dog is taking up residence in the back it might be best to lower the smallest two. This will give them a cavernous 1,124 litres of space in the back which is more than enough for two dogs!
There are numerous other storage compartments located around the cabin and rear which can help to keep items from moving around. There's also a panoramic sunroof available, which can let maximum light and air in to the cabin to keep your dog happy and entertained on long journeys. All variants of the Discovery are extremely well-appointed.
Jaguar XF Sportbrake
The dynamic Jaguar XF Sportbrake was launched in 2012 alongside the already popular Jaguar XF saloon. This estate model boasts a 550-litre boot capacity, ensuring that there is plenty of space in the rear. This is backed up by a standard power-opening tailgate. The boot also has a nice, wide lip which should make access fairly easy for your dog.
A premium brand, the Jaguar XF features rear seat air conditioning as standard to keep your dog cool on warm days. All models also feature partial leather seat trim (or full leather upholstery in most cases) which makes the XF easy to wipe down if there's any excess mud or dirt - which will inadvertently end up on your seats.
Additional storage space around the cabin, including a deep bin in the armrest, means that you shouldn't need to fill up the boot on short journeys.
BMW 5-Series Touring
Undeniably practical, the BMW 5-Series Touring is another estate which is ideal for dogs. Sleek and sporty, the elegant curves of the 5-Series Touring disguise a spacious and functional interior. With a boot space of 560 litres, the load area is plenty large enough on the 5-Series for even the biggest of dogs thanks to widest boot floor in its class.
It also features numerous load-dividing nets which can help keep your cargo separate from your beloved pet. A standard feature on the 5-Series touring is self-levelling suspension which keeps things calm and composed inside the cabin - an important factor for dogs who can often bear the brunt of poor ride quality.
The versatility of the 5-Series load space makes the BMW a prime contender for any dog owner. Standard kit includes an automatic handbrake, climate control in the front and rear, and easy-to-wipe leather upholstery.
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class is an extremely versatile MPV, and is a great option for those who need a dog-friendly car in a smaller package. The B-Class has a spacious 486 litre boot in standard form without having to move any of the seats around.
All B-Class models include the Easy Vario Plus package, which allows the entire second row of seats to slide forwards or backwards to give more room to the boot or rear seats. This means that you don't have to compromise on either passenger or boot space!
Built to Mercedes-Benz' high standards, the B-Class will stand up to just about anything you can throw at it. Equipment levels are pretty high too, and the B-Class features safety features such as collision prevention assist and attention assist. The B-Class has received a full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.