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America's Top 10 Pet Safe vehicles - Click above for high-res image gallery

Most people don't pay it any mind, but car accidents and pets don't mix. Just like with humans, wrapping your car around a telephone pole can kill Fido dead. Or really injure the cute little guy. To draw attention to this issue, a website called Bark Buckle Up has teamed up with Edmunds.com to bring us their Top 10 Pet Safe Vehicles.

As Bark Buckle Up points out, "If you have an accident at 35 mph while toting your 60-pound unrestrained dog, your pet is capable of causing an impact of up to 2,700 pounds, slamming into the seat, the windshield, or even a passenger." Ouch. Now of course, if you have an eight pound pooch, that's only a 360 pound impact. We say "only" to illustrate how violent car crashes can be. And just imagine if you had a really big dog, like a Dogo Argentino. Assuming you got a big 160-pound satin-white boar hunter, the impact would be near the four ton range.

What do the following ten vehicles do to address pets flying through the windshield in a crash? Very little, and we don't want to get into the delusion that CUVs are somehow safer than cars. But they all offer nice amenities for pets -- stuff like room to stretch out, tri-zone climate control, fold flat rear seats, side impact airbags and rear back up cameras. As for an accident, you might want to invest in a doggy seat belt. Says Bark Buckle Up founder Christina Selter, "In the event of a sudden stop or accident, the animal can injure other passengers or be thrown through the windshield, then hinder the efforts of rescue workers or even cause another accident by escaping into the street." All ten vehicles are listed out in alphabetical order, so check 'em out in our gallery below.


Dodge Journey
  • Dodge Journey
  • Ford Flex
  • GMC Acadia
  • Hyundai Tuscan
  • Jeep Liberty
  • Kia Borrego
  • Mazda5
  • Mitsubishi Outlander
  • Suabru Tribeca
  • Volvo XC70

[Source: Bark Buckle Up]




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  • 29 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      lol suv suv suv suv suv honda suv suv suv volvo
        • 5 Years Ago
        Mazda5 is a mini-minivan.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda Element would be on any credible list, that is for sure. My fave from the gallery is the "Hyundai Tuscan"...get me one of those! Maybe it's the ItalDesign version? LMAO.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My friend has a Honda Element, and has taken out both of the back seats. It's perfect for her 5 fairly big dogs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Our Doberman fits well in the back of our Mazda5, though I'm sure he'd prefer to stick his head out of the window. He's such a big punk ass, scared to get into the car. It's like loading an elephant that just doesn't want to go.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They don't make it anymore, so it can't be on the list, but my girlfriend's Mazda6 hatchback is GREAT for our 3 dogs. With the back seats folded flat, they have more room than most crossovers to roam or find a place to lay. And being a car, it is so much better to drive than anything on the list. Looks much better too, if I do say so myself.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hey, Dan,

      I didn't deal with the mathematical expressions of the physics. They matter less than the principles of the physics. I agree with you that the writer was incorrect in expressing force in pounds. Either the writer was dumb, or was intentionally dumbing it down to keep it simple, so as not to miss the forest for the trees, pick your metaphor. Maybe the writer could have used G's? Many people understand G's. The underlying principle about sudden forceful impact is what's important to remind dog owners, some of whom either can't imagine or don't care about the risk. Some need education, some need shaming, some both. Those who put out junk science in that effort should get some help in making their message more clear and correct, but let's not allow perfection and precision to be the enemy of good.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No Honda Fit either? Our 2 retrievers would disagree with that call, most of those SUVs don't have the cargo height to make them happy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      uh... didn't honda have an Element with features designed specifically for dogs??
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why in the hell didn't the Honda Element make it onto this list.

      For crying out loud, Honda is developing a DOG FRIENDLY version!!!

      http://automobiles.honda.com/element/dog-accessories.aspx
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm amazed the Honda Element didn't make this list. It is on top of many dog breeders list for a company car. Easy to clean out and seats fold up in the side to fit in dog crates.
        • 5 Years Ago
        FJ Cruiser is another good one, even though the car has turned into another Vehicross
      • 5 Years Ago
      Any "Top 10" list that includes the Journey should be treated with extreme suspicion.

      The safest vehicles for pets are those whose owners are conscientious enough to properly secure them so they don't turn into furry cannonballs in an accident. Which very few people do.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, I got stuck with one as a rental for about 2-3 weeks earlier this year. Had about as much experience as you can with a vehicle without owning it. Maybe if you trim it up the equation changes, but I hated mine.

        The transmission sounded like a cooler with half-melted ice sloshing around in it. The engine was uninspired, and if you got on it (which you have to do to get up to highway speeds on on-ramps), you got a death wail akin to a lawnmower running over a pile of marbles. Steering was so soft and overboosted that it made my wife's CR-V feel as taut as my Mini by comparison.

        On the inside, the Journey had the ONLY radio I've ever encountered that wouldn't save a station as a preset by pressing and holding one of the 1-6 buttons. Doing so would just switch you to the preset. So far as I can tell, setting a preset required at least one more button. No thanks.

        The seats were okay, cushy for my liking, not terrible but nothing to brag about. And the dash and trim pieces were cheap, hard, and, at times, sharp. Far cry from the soft-touch materials in our family's two cars, or even the (since you seem to keep drawing a bead on it) the Flex or two I've been in.

        Yeah I can see the use of the fold and remove seats and some of the trick storage compartments, but those aren't enough to make me buy a car (or choose it over several more worthy competitors).

        Regarding Flex versus Journey sales...so? The Flex is a full-size, the Journey is more a mid-size. Comparing their sales would be akin to comparing the Avenger to the Taurus instead of the Fusion. And compared to the Flex, there's no contest.
        • 5 Years Ago
        akboss302,

        My friend has had his Journey for over 6 months, enough time for the new car syndrome to wear off. He still likes it very much. And he has owned plenty of imports like the Sienna. I don't think he is influenced by the fact that it's relatively new. The Journey dosen't sell because it's cheap, it sells because it's a good value. It offers a lot for the price. And Chevy doesn't really sell that many Aveos, not enough to keep a factory running hear. that's one reason they are made in Korea for the Korean, US, and other markets around the world (the other reason is costs of course).

        Doogs,

        Never, EVER, rate a car based on a rental. They are (usually) the cheapest, decontented POS you could ever find. And you don't know how the other renters have treated it. Yours was probably the 4 banger budget model (pun intended). The V6 with the 6 speed automatic is so much better it's like a different car. My comment about FLex sales still stands. Ford invested huge $ into it's development and then spent millions to market it. But it's sales are dismal. Imagine Journey sales with a Ford sized ad budget to back it up.
        By the eay I used to have an old Corolla that you had to hit a set button before the preset button to set a station. It's not that unusual.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You obviously don't know much about this vehicle. My neighbor has one and he loves it (and his other car is a Toyota Sienna). Since its introduction Journeys have outsold the Ford Flex every month. No the two are not in the same class but the Flex had a mega million dollar marketing campaign. When's the lsat time you saw an ad for the Journey? The inlclusion in this list means that the Journey is a comfortable vehicle for pets (and homo sapiens as well) and has configurable seating that can be removed or folded flat.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is the list you get when you focus on one specific criteria. Quick everyone buy 10 mpg tanks, it's safe for your dog, and as we all know dogs are more important than humans. While that is sarcastic I know people who are close to believing that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sad, but true. These are the people that refer to their dogs as their 'kids'. The United States alone spends $41 BILLION dollars per year on pets. Foreign Aid? $23.5 Billion. Dogs and cats are already more important than people.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And we spend something like $2.5 trillion on health care in a year. Your $41 billion is 2/10 of 1% of that, and the HUGE BULK of that is private spending, not government spending a la foreign aid.

        @Keith - agreed. This list hacks me off because it's the exact same mantra my parents have. Need to get a big SUV for the dogs. Pah. I can fit FOUR dogs in my Clubman, and safely. Lab and the Miscellaneous go in the back, dachshunds ride up front in an enclosed (and strapped down) carrier.
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