Owners of dogs, cats and other pets know it’s really important to keep them in mind when shopping for the Best Cars for Pets. You may need room for crates or kitty carriers. You want to be able to hose out or easily clean mats and upholstery. Hooks and tie-down anchors are a must. So, too, are optional steel barriers to install between cargo area and back seat. As a rule, minivans, SUVs and wagons offer the most flexibility when it comes to carrying pets. Here are our three top choices for Best Cars for Pets. All three are on Edmunds list of “Top 10 Pet-Safe Vehicles.”

  • Volvo XC70 – Redesigned in 2008, the Volvo XC70 premium midsize wagon offers “generous cargo capacity for a wagon, state-of-the-art safety features, strong brakes,” according to an Edmunds review, althoughvolvo_xc70_2009 “lackluster fuel economy, modest handling.” As for pets, however, XC70 really shines due to a Volvo-designed steel pet barrier that can be installed by the dealer. Optional blind spot information system is another great feature. U.S. News and World Report says XC70 has “vast cargo space.”
  • Dodge Journey – This all-new in 2009 midsize crossover SUV from Dodge seats seven and is, according to Edmunds, “attractive, quiet and spacious.” Edmunds 2010 Dodge Journey R/Teditors hail Journey’s in-floor storage bins, available rearview camera, and in-dash cooler for “beverages, medicine or pet food.” Popular Mechanics opines, “Though it’s up against some formidable opponents, the Journey’s strengths lie in its optional creature comforts and copious storage.” U.S. News and World Report hails Journey’s “lots of innovative storage solutions.” Dog Cars likes Journey’s Flip N’ Stow in-floor storage bins and Tilt N’ Slide second-row seats, also saying “rear seats fold flat and the tailgate opens wide enough to be easily accessed by eager pups.”
  • GMC Acadia – The full-size GMC Acadia SUV debuted in 2007 and offers tri-zone climate control, direct link to poison control via OnStar service, plus rear fold-flat seats “that accommodate travel for larger pets and their gmc_acadia_2010crates,” says Edmunds. With seating for up to eight passengers, Acadia has “plenty of passenger and cargo space, smooth ride, easy to drive, considering its size,” but “transmission can be slow to downshift,” say Edmunds editors in a review. U.S. News and World Report comments that Acadia “offers an excellent combination of class-leading seating capacity, good cargo space and smooth ride quality.”

Other possible contenders for Best Cars for Pets include Ford Flex, Honda Element, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Liberty, Kia Borrego, Mazda Mazda5, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Subaru Forester, Outback, and Tribeca.

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