The Skoda Superb Estate is one of the best all-around estate cars money can buy, but it’s especially good if you’ve got dogs. Unlike most SUVs the boot lip is low so dogs can jump in and out with ease - especially good for older dogs which aren’t as mobile as they used to be - and the load space itself is a mammoth 660-litres, so your furry friends can get comfy after a hard day of fetching sticks.
PROS: Low boot lip, large boot space
CONS: Low roofline so bigger dogs might struggle
Dogs get messy and muddy, that can’t be helped, but thankfully the Land Rover Defender loves getting messy and muddy too. It was designed with mud-plugging in mind after all. The Defender’s boot is rubberised which makes it a doddle to wipe down, and it won’t absorb any ‘wet dog’ smell. For bigger dogs, or multiple hounds, you will need to go for the 110 body style. The 90’s boot is only a modest 397-litres.
PROS: Wipe clean boot
CONS: Small boot on the 90 model
The beauty of the E-Class Estate is the fact it has no lip on the boot, the load bed is completely flat, so dogs can jump in and out without problems. And if you pay extra for a model with air suspension you can lower the car to make it even easier. Mercedes will sell you a dog guard which separates the boot from the back seats, so you don’t need to worry about the leather upholstery being doggified.
PROS: Low boot lip, even lower with air suspension
CONS: You'll pay extra for the dog guard
A popular choice with the Barbour-wearing gundog crowd, the Discovery Sport is unflappable in wet and icy conditions and also offers a 754-litre flat-bottomed boot when the third row of seats are folded flat. Land Rover offers a range of doggy accessories too, including a quilted boot liner so your pampered pooch is always comfortable. If you need to make use of the full seven seats it won’t suit you though: the boot is only 157-litres when they are folded up.
PROS: Great range of dog accessories from Land Rover
CONS: They cost extra
It may look uglier than a bulldog chewing a wasp, but don’t knock the Berlingo until you try it. If you have more than one dog – or even run a dog walking business – then it doesn’t get much better than this. It has a huge cargo load of 770-litres and the gaping tailgate opens wider than a yawning Great Dane’s mouth. The interior is festooned with storage cubbies for things like dog leads and rubber balls too.
PROS: Enough space to start your own dog walking business
CONS: Cheap interior plastics might not stand up well against teeth and paws over time
The Dacia Duster is almost so cheap you won’t care if your dog trashes the interior. Okay, not quite, but it does offer a solid canine wagon for a very affordable price. The 445-litre boot offers more than enough room, and because the Dacia is cheap and cheerful the interior is mostly made of wipe-clean plastics. It’s not like your dog cares that it’s not being driven around in a premium German car.
PROS: Decent boot, Dacia dog guard available
CONS: Boot lip might make it harder for dogs to jump in
If you have a bigger dog, or a dog that likes to stand up and look out of the window on a car ride, then you might want something a bit taller than an estate, and the Skoda Karoq is just that. A 521-litre boot lined with tough and durable materials is the perfect place to house your pooch. Skoda even offers a Pet Protection Pack which adds a removeable boot liner and dog guard.
PROS: Loads of room and great range of dog accessories from Skoda
CONS: Raised height means it's too tall for smaller dogs to jump in on their own
Who says you can’t drive a fun car just because you’re a dog owner? The Audi RS6 Avant is both a practical estate and fire-breathing powerhouse. Based on the roomy A6, the RS6’s boot is a generous 565-litres. Powering it is a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 which produces 592bhp, plus it’s AWD so great for taking dogs into the countryside in winter. Just don’t put your foot down too hard with your beloved pet in the back.
PROS: Loads of room, safe and grippy on slippery country roads
CONS: Very expensive, you might not want to let wet and muddy dogs in it
The 308 SW offers a great solution for dog owners at a reasonable price. For a start it has a 660-litre boot so there’s plenty of space for multiple pets. The materials inside the car are far from fancy but they are hard-wearing, so you don’t need to worry about damage made by claws or teething puppies. It comes in a range of frugal engines which will be peace of mind if you want to take your dog on holiday.
PROS: Hard-wearing materials in the cabin
CONS: Fabric boot trim might soak up wet dog smell
The Fabia Estate offers an astonishing amount of room considering it’s based on a hatchback. The boot is a cavernous 530-litres, so if you can’t afford the Superb Estate but still want plenty of space for your dog as well as Skoda’s excellent build quality then the Fabia Estate will do you nicely. The boot has plenty of handy storage cubbies too, so you can keep your dog walking accessories tidy.
“‘Simply Clever’ additions include separate compartments in the boot, mobile phone pockets in the back of the front seats, detachable cup holders, a USB socket in the rear-view mirror and a foldable boot-mat bumper protector. It doesn’t amount to much on paper, but some of it can be quite useful.”
PROS: Great range of dog accessories available
CONS: Boot lip can make it tricky for dogs to jump in and out
Size: it seems obvious but dogs take up a lot of room, so make sure the car you buy is big enough for your dog(s) to travel comfortably in and consider any other luggage you may need to transport at the same time.
Height: smaller dogs won't be able to jump up and down from taller cars, like SUVs. If you are unable to lift them every time you take them out then make sure you find something low enough for them to manage, such as an estate car.
Interior materials: there's nothing worse than the dreaded wet dog smell becoming trapped inside a car, so you should look for cars that use non-absorbent and wipe-clean materials in the boot.
Accessories: extras like dog guards and boot liners can make all the difference to the safety and comfort of you and your pet, so have a look at what is available. The best products are from the car's manufacturer itself as they are guaranteed to fit the car properly.