10 best dog-friendly cars, according to CarGurus

Melody Bond loved her 2014 Chevrolet Camaro muscle car so much she named it “Esmeralda.”

But Esmeralda had to go when Bond’s all-white German shepherd puppy, Jasper, grew up and got too big for the sports car.

“He weighs 100 pounds and when he sat in the Camaro, his head touched the ceiling and his feet were on the floor,” Bond says.

So last summer, Bond replaced Esmeralda with a 2017 Jeep Wrangler Big Bear. It has a rear-seat net partition to keep Jasper safely in the back.

She named her Jeep “Freedom.”

“I want to go to (Michigan’s) Upper Peninsula (for) aurora hunting, and I want to take a big dog with me for protection,” Bond says. “He’s going to be my travel partner now.”

With the Wrangler’s water-resistant, easy-to-clean interior, safety hooks for a harness and a large cargo area to fit a crate, it’s not surprising the Wrangler makes most top-10 lists of dog-friendly cars.

Canine consideration is a big factor among car buyers when they pick out their next ride, dealers, industry experts and consumers say.

CarGurus, an automotive e-commerce site, recruited several auto journalists who are dog owners to compile its first Best Cars for Dogs list.

The evidence is largely anecdotal, and the list is not exclusive, but “pretty much anyone who’s met a dog owner knows their dog plays an incredible role in their life and in their decisions,” says deputy editor Mike Smith.

No. 1 on the CarGurus list is the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, followed by the Honda CR-V SUV. But the list also included some not-so-obvious choices, including a Corvette.

Here’s the list, with car photos courtesy of the automakers:

“Not everyone has a large dog that loves adventure. Some of us have Pomeranians or Chihuahuas who need nothing more than a comfortable seat to curl up on. Or, maybe you have a larger older dog that simply looks forward to morning trips to the coffee shop with his tongue waving in the wind,” CarGurus freelancer Thom Blackett wrote of the Corvette. “Where you’re going or what you drive doesn’t matter as long as your four-legged friend gets to go along for the ride.”

“We wanted our list to have a variety of vehicle types because there are a variety of shoppers,” Smith says. “The Honda CR-V is there for someone who wants a compact crossover; the Kia Rio5 is a great choice for dog owners who are on a budget.”

The Ram 1500 made the list because of RamBox, the lockable, accessible storage pocket on each side of the truck’s bed, providing space to keep leashes, food, bowls and dirty towels.

The Chrysler Pacifica has an optional vacuum — “a necessity during shedding season,” Smith says.

The Jeep Wrangler has a good example of transport safety in the harness hooks.

The Tesla Model Y features Dog Mode, which activates the climate control system and displays a sign on the dashboard screen that reads, “My owner will be back soon,” and notes the car’s interior temperature.

The Land Rover Discovery made the list because “It offers lots of features: a spill-resistant water bowl, folding ramps, a quilted cargo liner,” Smith says.