It may not always hold true, but I think it’s fair to say that most of the people I’ve met who love the planet also love animals, and many of those people also love their pets. Caring for those pets responsibly and sustainably is important, but so too is having the ability to easily and comfortably bring your pets along with you– whether that’s on a short trip across town to the vet or a longer trip across the country. That’s understandable. What’s less understandable (to me, anyway) is when someone looks me straight in the face and tries to justify their massive, gas-guzzling SUV purchase with the words, “I have dogs.”
It’s maddening, but it’s something I’ve heard over and over– and as recently as yesterday! As such, I decided to put together a list of the best “green” hybrid and electric cars for dog owners and pet lovers. I’ve based it on similar lists from outlets Autobytel and US News, and added a few choices of my own that build on some of the criteria those sources cited, as well as a few of my own.
2020 Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid | 19 mi. EV Range + 62 MPGe
“As a dog owner, there are two critical things you want for your dog,” reads the US News article naming their 13 Best Cars for Cats and Dogs. “You want them to be comfortable and you want them to be secure. When your dog is comfortable, they’re less likely to be stressed and, in turn, stress you out with barking or upset tummies.” I don’t like stress or upset tummies, so I think that comfort and security are a fantastic place to start our list– and you’d be hard pressed to find a vehicle that’s more comfortable or more secure than the 2019 Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid.
The big Swedish PHEV delivers an unparalleled safety and security record, plenty of room for you and your pets, a raft of available pet accessories, and more than enough pure electric driving range to make around-town trips zero-emission affairs. What’s more, the XC90 will give back more than 62 MPGe when you do need the ICE engine. And, sure, you could argue that my own, personal bias as a Volvo “fanboy” might be influencing this particular choice– and you’re probably right about that. At the very least, however, I believe my own hype enough to put my money where my mouth is: I bought a 2019MY XC90 in June.
2020 Kia Soul EV | 111 mi. EV Range
Both the US News and Autobytel articles named the Kia Soul to their list of bet pet-haulers, and it’s easy to see why. The tall, boxy interior offers a ton of interior space for doggos to spread out in, and it can be had with a number of pet-friendly accessories like thick, heavy-duty floor mats, cargo compartment liners, and pet-resistant seat back covers. All that’s great, but they’re only a small part of the equation. What really makes the new Kia Soul EV one of the most pet-friendly cars out there is the car’s low load height, which makes it super easy for dogs of almost any age and size to easily get in and out of it.
2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid | 84 MPGe
Marketed as the world’s first hybrid minivan, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has a lot to offer pet owners. In terms of comfort and quiet, the Pacifica offers both in spades, with enough room between its stylish fenders to fit seven people and at least one or two dogs comfortably– but that’s just the scratching the surface of the incredibly clever Pacifica‘s many strengths as a dog-hauler.
For starters, the Chrysler Pacifica’s available “Stow n’ Go” seating allows the interior to be configured and reconfigured in dozens of different ways. Have a bigger dog that needs room to stretch out? Fold down the middle row of seats. Want to keep the big dog away from people? Fold down the third row. Have two small dogs? The available puppy kennel (shown, above) keeps them crated and happy while you and yours trundle down the road in 84 MPGe style. Do your dogs make as big a mess as my little rat monsters do? There’s a built-in vacuum cleaner to help clean up after your trip. And, like the Kia, Chrysler’s hybrid minivan also features a low, car-like load height to make loading and unloading your furbabies a breeze!
2019 Honda Clarity Electric + Honda Dog
With just about 90 miles of electric range, the Honda Clarity Electric is hardly the most practical of the EVs out there. It’s reasonably fast and fun, however, and has lots of room just about everywhere under its curvy sheet metal … but none of that really matters to us, for this article. This article is about cars that are good for your dog, and Honda has brought a bazooka to this knife-fight with Honda Dog.
Jalopnik’s Elizabeth Blackstock wrote, “Honda has a history of pet-friendly designs. Whether it’s their 2005 WOW Concept that featured a whole entire glovebox for your dog or their Honda Element Concept that included a doggie ramp and a spill-resistant bowl, the Japanese company has been ahead of the game when it comes to making sure our pets are just as comfortable as us,” and I couldn’t say it better, myself. Keeping your pets safe, calm, and happy is the name of the game, and Honda Dog’s suite of pet accessories that are specially engineered to work perfectly with Honda’s vehicles is second to none. This is the high watermark, people– and if you don’t want your very own Honda Dog paw shifter then you might just be dead inside.
2020 Tesla Model X | 325 mi. EV Range
If you ever read a “best cars for dogs” article in the future that doesn’t include the Tesla Model X, you can pretty much disregard all of its suggestions right there. That’s because the all-electric Tesla
space egg people-carrier makes for a smooth, luxurious, and secure ride– all stuff that dogs like!– and does everyone else in the market one better with a truly unique, and truly game-changing feature: dog mode.
Introducing Dog Mode: set a cabin temperature to keep your dog comfortable while letting passersby know they don't need to worry pic.twitter.com/xFU6MGZT53
— Tesla (@Tesla) February 14, 2019
Dog mode is a deceptively simple idea. Basically, dog mode keeps the car’s climate controls running at a set temperature that’s comfortable for pooches while displaying a message on the main display that’s visible to the passers-by. You know, those same passers-by that have been known to smash out car windows in well-meaning attempts to “rescue” dogs from parked cars? I mean, good for them– but wouldn’t it be easier for companies like Volvo and GM to build some kind of dog mode into their respective Volvo OnCall and OnStar platforms?
What do you guys think? Is “Dog Mode” something that should remain a uniquely Tesla thing. Or do you, like me, feel like it’s time for every car company that offers remote starting features to start offering this pet-friendly and, potentially, life-saving technology in their cars? Scroll on down to the comments section and start making yourself heard!
Original content from Enrg.io; images from company press materials.