Both automakers and car buyers consider the safety of both the driver and the passengers as top priority when buying a car. But for pet lovers, these five vehicles are a sure winner in keeping their pets safe and convenient without the lofty price tag.
- Mitsubishi Outlander. Base price: $22,695
Its second- and third-row seats fold flat create a generous 72.6 cubic feet of cargo space for pet carriers, dog-food bags and the like. Plus the wide storage compartments make this small crossover sporty utility vehicle a two-thumbs-up for pet owners. It is also a good safety feature to prevent stuff flying around and injuring your animal while on the road. The Outlander also comes standard with a tailgate that can hold up to 440 pounds, perfect for getting Fido in and out of your vehicle or taking him along on a tailgate party.
- Mazda5. Base price: $19,940
Its pet-friendly features include tethers and anchors for animal harnesses to fold-flat second- and third-row seats.The Mazda5 compact minivan boasts 97.7 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats down -- plenty of room for Spot or Mr. Whiskers. The Mazda5 also comes standard with sliding side-rear doors that provide 27-inch openings for easy pet entrance and exit. The six-passenger vehicle's standard safety equipment includes side-curtain airbags for all three rows, protecting passengers and pets alike.
- Hyundai Tucson. Base price: $19,395
The Tucson’s multizone climate system and privacy glass that helps block the sun's rays would enable your pet to travel plenty cool on hot days. This compact crossover SUV also features fold-down rear seats that make carrying animals and pet accessories easy. On the downside, the five-passenger Tucson has only 55.8 cubic feet of cargo space -- far less than rivals such as the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4. It also comes with a firm, sporty suspension that not all drivers like.
- Dodge Journey. Base price: $18,995
If you want more room for your big lovable fur, this midsized crossover SUV is the answer. It has fairly big door openings as well as standard second-row seating and optional third-row fold flat – providing 67.6 cubic feet of cargo space for pets and supplies. The Journey makes the list mostly on the strength of its built-in cooler, which can store food or cold drinks for you and your pet. Other animal-friendly features include a separate climate zone for the rear seats, as well as lots of storage bins – including some under the seat cushions – to carry leashes and the like.
- Kia Soul. Base price: $14,400
If money is an issue but you still want something to keep you and your pet safe and comfy, then the hip Kia Soul is a tail-wagging choice. The four-door compact wagon gets a thumbs-up primarily because standard side-curtain airbags will protect you and your animal in a crash. It also has tinted rear glass that will help keep your animal cool on sunny days. Additionally, fold-flat rear seats provide 53 cubic feet of cargo space -- not the best in class, but pretty good considering the Soul's size. You can also count on the vehicle to exude that youthful styling and sleek interior designs that only add more plus points to its pet-friendliness. Of course, you would still enjoy the 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty that Kia is famous for.