SUVs by nature have higher ground clearance and more room (or utility) than most cars, so you should have several choices unless your dog is the size of a small horse. Even if you have a 170-pound mastiff, your pooch can lie down in the rear seat or cargo area — a good idea so it doesn’t block your rear view.
Among the vehicles that could do the job are the Chevrolet Equinox, Dodge Journey, Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander and the Subaru Forester. Since you specified a small SUV, those suggestions are models that, relatively speaking, have small price tags compared with many SUVs. All can be driven off a dealer’s lot for less than $30,000 fully equipped and perhaps less than $25,000 for a basic model.
If room for your dog is a priority, then bring the hound along when you shop. You should call ahead, though, and advise the dealership who is coming with you.
We also suggest you ask about the availability of a rubber floormat for the cargo area (dogs have been known to forget to wipe their paws) and a pet restraint or barrier. You don’t want a large dog flying around inside the cabin in a sudden stop or evasive maneuver, for your safety and the dog’s. If dealers don’t have what you need, they are available at pet stores and online.
See if your question has already been asked and answered
Your question has been successfully submitted to Ask.cars.com. It will now be reviewed by our editors and we'll answer it soon if we think it's a useful question. You will be notified via e-mail when the answer is posted. Ask.cars.com tackles your questions about new cars and the car-buying process. Unfortunately we can't answer questions regarding:
Have our experts answer any of your questions about new cars.
Email us at email@example.com