SUVs are ideal choices for dog owners because they offer a lot more space than a typical sedan or hatchback.
Even a compact SUV can easily handle road trips while loaded up with passengers, dogs and cargo.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best hybrid SUV options for dog owners and check out their dog-friendly features.
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1. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The hybrid versions of the Toyota RAV4 are very popular because they’re very practical and versatile vehicles.
Toyota hybrids also have a great reputation for reliability, so people usually don’t mind waiting or paying a little more just to get their hands on one.
The RAV4 Hybrid is also a great choice for dog owners because it’s quite roomy inside and the interiors are very durable.
Most trim levels of the RAV4 Hybrid use Toyota’s SofTex upholstery which is a synthetic leather that’s harder wearing, spill resistant and very easy to clean.
In the back, there’s 37.6 cubic feet of cargo room and up to 69.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
This is more than enough for keeping medium to large sized dogs in the back, and you can fold down the seats for more space if you’ve got a couple of large dog crates.
Toyota also sells lots of accessories for the RAV4 which are ideal for dog owners such as all-weather floor mats, seat covers, door guards, pet barriers, harnesses, and even a dog ramp.
If you need to keep your dogs in the car for a while, you can leave the AC running and the RAV4 Hybrid will run it off the battery pack.
From time to time the engine will turn on to charge the battery back up, but you can pretty much keep the AC on for hours without having to worry about burning too much gas or exhaust fumes.
2. Honda CR-V Hybrid
The Honda CR-V has had a hybrid version since 2020, but Honda recently released the heavily redesigned sixth generation model for the 2023 model year.
The CR-V is also known for its long-term reliability, but its hybrids aren’t as popular as some of its rivals.
Compared to other compact SUVs in its class, the CR-V usually has better handling and interiors.
The CR-V Hybrid has a slightly lower load floor which makes it a little easier to put dogs in the back, especially if you have an older and heavier dog.
The sixth generation CR-V also has slightly more cargo space than the RAV4 at 39.3 cubic feet and up to 76.5 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
However, when you put the rear seats down, there’s a small hump in the middle of the cargo area which makes fitting really large dog crates a little more challenging.
The higher trim levels of the CR-V Hybrid come with leather seats which are much easier to clean off compared to fabric seats, especially when it comes to dog hair.
Honda doesn’t offer many dog-specific accessories for the CR-V, but it’s a very popular vehicle so you won’t have any trouble finding aftermarket seat covers, harnesses, tethers and barriers for it.
3. Jeep Wrangler 4xe Plug-in Hybrid
The Jeep Wrangler is a popular choice among off-road enthusiasts and outdoorsy types.
Although its looks haven’t changed much in the past few decades, it recently got a new plug-in hybrid powertrain that can deliver up to 21 miles of EV range.
One of the Wrangler’s unique features that makes it great for dog lovers is the back glass that opens up and allows your pets to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors while they’re lounging in the cargo area.
You can drive with the back glass open, but it should really only be reserved for off-road trails at slower speeds.
The doors and roof can also come off, which is really more of a novelty for most owners.
The Wrangler’s interiors are also extremely hard wearing, so you won’t have to worry too much about your dogs scratching up the inside of your car.
Only the most expensive High Altitude and Rubicon X 4xe come with leather seats as standard.
Cargo capacity in the back isn’t too impressive at only 27.7 cubic feet. The 4xe’s back seats also don’t fold down completely flat so you’ll have trouble fitting large dog crates in there.
4. Kia Niro Hybrid
If you don’t really need too much passenger or cargo space, the Kia Niro is a very practical option.
It comes in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid varieties, and it even has an EV model.
The hybrid version gets up to 53 mpg combined which is on par with the Toyota Prius. The plug-in hybrid has an estimated 33 miles of EV range which is more than what you get in vehicles that cost significantly more.
Compared to other SUVs, the Kia Niro has a lower ride height which makes it easier for small and senior dogs to climb into.
The Niro’s doors also open up really wide so you can easily fit crates and other accessories inside the cabin.
The more expensive SX trim levels also use Kia’s SynTex upholstery which is very durable and easy to clean.
5. Hyundai Tucson Hybrid
The Hyundai Tucson has always offered lots of value for money with its lower price points, extra standard features, and long warranty.
The fourth generation Tucson has a lot more flair both inside and out. It’s also become an even more practical commuter with its new hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains.
The hybrid variant gets an impressive 38 mpg combined while the PHEV model can go up to 33 miles in electric-only mode.
For dog owners, we recommend the SEL Convenience model which comes equipped with Hyundai’s H-Tex synthetic leather.
The top of the line Tucson Hybrid Limited with its leather seats is also a good choice if you can stretch your budget.
The Tucson Hybrid’s cargo area is also quite impressive with around 38.7 cubic feet of space. Fold down the seats and you get a whopping 80 cubic feet.
However, the back seats of the Tucson Hybrid don’t fold down completely flat which will make fitting dog crates or a large dog bed more difficult.
The Tucson’s load floor is also slightly higher compared to the RAV4 or CR-V which means you’ll have to exert a bit more effort if you’re lifting heavy breeds to get them in the back.
6. Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Plug-in Hybrid
The Jeep Grand Cherokee offers a good combination of luxury, tech, on-road manners, and off-road capabilities.
The Grand Cherokee 4xe Plug-in Hybrid is able to deliver up to 25 miles of EV range, making it very fuel efficient for short commutes and errands.
Despite adding a hybrid powertrain, the 4xe still retains its awesome off-road prowess and it can easily go where most SUVs start to bog down.
One of the features that makes it stand out among dog owners is the Quadra-Lift air suspension which is available on the higher end models.
This system not only makes the truck ride higher at the push of a button to help you avoid off-road obstacles, but it can also lower the ride height so your dogs can climb in more easily.
The Grand Cherokee’s second-row seat also folds flat to give you up to 70 cubic feet of space.
If you need more room for multiple large dog crates, there’s the larger Grand Cherokee L, but this doesn’t have a hybrid model.
All trim levels of the Grand Cherokee 4xe also come with either leatherette or Nappa leather seats, which are both very dog friendly and easy to wipe off.
7. Kia Sorento Hybrid
The Kia Sorento is the smallest three-row midsize SUV with a hybrid option and it offers a lot of value for money.
It’s a great choice for families who like to regularly take their dogs out with them on errands, as well as long road trips.
The Sorento Hybrid can manage up to 37 mpg combined while the Sorento PHEV adds up to 34 miles of electric range.
The fourth generation Sorento also now looks like a proper SUV whereas the previous model looked more like a minivan.
Dog owners will also appreciate the SynTex synthetic leather upholstery that comes with most trim levels and at a lower price point than all other three-row SUVs.
All Sorentos also come standard with captain’s chairs for easy access to the third row and rear cargo area.
Another plus for dog owners is the Sorento’s lower ride height of 6.9 inches which makes it easier to get into, especially for smaller or senior dogs.
8. Ford Explorer Hybrid
The Ford Explorer is largely responsible for sparking the family-friendly SUV craze we have today.
When the sixth generation Explorer debuted for the 2020 model year, it also got a hybrid powertrain for the very first time.
Although the Explorer is the preferred vehicle of Police K9 units, these are heavily customized models that share very few things with the standard models interior wise.
With the second and third row seats folded down flat, there’s around 87.8 cubic feet of space behind the front seats, so you’ll have lots of space for multiple dog crates.
The rear cargo area where the third row seats are has AC vents up top so your fur buddies can stay comfortable even if they’re way in the back.
Second-row captain’s chairs are standard on the Limited and Platinum trim levels, which makes it easier to check on your pets in the back.
The hybrid variants of the Explorer also come standard with leather seats so clean up is much easier.
Ford also offers dog-friendly accessories for the Explorer which includes pet barriers, harnesses, and even a soft-sided pet kennel that fits perfectly in the back.
9. Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid
The Audi Q5 combines the performance and handling of a sports sedan with the practicality and space of an SUV.
The Q5 also has great build quality and refinement, and features a lot of cutting edge automotive tech.
The Q5 55 plug-in hybrid is the most powerful model with up to 362 hp of total combined power and up to 23 miles of EV range.
Being a compact SUV, it’s just the right size for single people, couples and small families with dogs.
All trim levels of the Q5 come with leather seats as standard, which are much easier to clean and wipe off in case your pets make a mess.
The Premium Plus and Prestige models can also get the air suspension option which lowers the car’s ride height to make entry and getting your dogs inside much easier.
10. Volvo XC90 Plug-in Hybrid
Volvo is known for prioritizing safety above anything else which makes the three-row XC90 a great family vehicle.
The plug-in hybrid model of the XC90 has been around since 2016, but it’s gone through many updates since then and still looks very modern even compared to its rivals.
Power has been upped from 400 hp to 455 hp and the electric-only range now goes up to 36 miles.
The Plus and Ultimate trim levels have leather seats and optional captain’s chairs which makes accessing the rear cargo area much easier.
The base model comes with leatherette upholstery which is still very good for dog owners because it’s very durable and easy to clean.
With the XC90 Ultimate, you can also add the optional active air suspension which lowers and raises the truck with the push of a button, making loading large or elderly dogs inside less of a chore.
Volvo also makes loads of dog accessories for the XC90 which includes different types of metal pet barriers, dog gates, and kennels.