I thought I'd ask here, because we all travel to shows and have gear that we must schlep around.
I'm currently driving a Subaru Impreza sportwagon. I love it. But it's not a 2-dog car. It's fine for going around town or to training when both boys are in the back seat with their car harnesses, but I need something that will fit two 36" wire crates (either standard crates, or I'd be willing to buy the Midwest SUV Side-by-Sides) AND still have enough room for gear (two 36" soft crates, luggage etc).
I REALLY like the new Subaru Forester which has been redesigned for 2009 and sits higher on the road, like a small SUV/cross-over. However, what I think would happen in that car (because this is what happens in my Impreza wagon) is that when the crates go in, that's all I would be able to see in the rear-view plus two labramonkey heads because the driver's seat is not up higher like it would be in a minivan or SUV. Could I live with it? Probably, but I wouldn't like it. LOL.
I would like the keep the crates in the vehicle full-time since we do a lot of highway driving (weekly) to and from training and I think that the boys would be safer in crates than with their harnesses, so, there needs to be room also for say.. groceries.
I'd prefer not to drive a minivan. (Though, I might make an exception for the Honda Odyssey, but I haven't test driven that yet).
I used to have a GMC Envoy and LOVED it. I miss it, but I don't want something quite that big.
So, small SUV/cross-over or smaller. I'd also like to keep monthly payments somewhat reasonable, so that rules out any high end small SUV (Infiniti, Acura, BMW, Volvo etc).
These are what are on my short list at the moment (in no particular order):
1. Subaru Forester
2. GMC Acadia
3. Nissan XTerra
4. Honda Element/Odyssey
As always, I'm open to suggestions? Or, if you have one of these vehicles and love it/hate it?
When you find your perfect 2 dog vehicle, let me know because I need it too Have you looked at a Toyota Rav4? They were re-designed in 2006 and pretty much fit the bill for all your needs. SU has one, and I am thinking of getting one for my next vehicle too (he doesn't want the dogs in his because of allergies). They hold a lot more than they look like they would from the outside, and sit up higher, so you should be able to see out past the doggie heads. They are relatively inexpensive for an SUV, and get good gas milage (24 - 26 MPG). I am also going to look at an Element, a Forester and a Toyota Matrix.
Pat, would the Rav4 be able to fit two crates? It looks so tiny from the outside, like the Honda CRV.
Tomorrow's to-do list is pretty much drive to Subaru, Honda, Nissan and GM to measure cars. I'm taking one of the 36" crates with me (can't take both cuz Ollie needs to stay in one! LOL!) to see if they'll fit. And my camera. LOL. Oooh, wonder if my 36" soft crate is the same dimensions as the wire? I could use that as the 2nd crate.
I say go for a suburban...it's just a matter of time until you'll need it
I know a number of agility people around here have Elements and love them! They're very dog friendly (really no carpet). I rode in one once and it felt a little "truck like", but if that doesn't bother you they're cute and come in fun colors! My small car is a Jeep Patriot, which I love but wouldn't fit two crates...I think the Liberty is a bit wider. If I was "forced" to get a minivan, I'd do the odyssey.
I'd love to have a Suburban, but with the current GM thing and the threat of gas prices going that high again, and they are so stinkin expensive anymore (I'd have to get a used one), I guess I'll have to keep using the Trailblazer. Not that it gets good gas mileage, cause it doesn't. I get better gas mileage in my Silverado.
Next dog hauler I get, I'm going to look for something where all the rear seats fold down flat
I love my CRV but doubt you could get the 2 crates in it..I have 2 200 crates in the back for the little guys and Riley rides in the back seat...I can pile a lot of stuff on top of the 2 crates..The Honda PIlot is a little bigger than the CRV but I haven't really looked at it but if you are going to look at the Odessy than you might check it out too..my friend with goldens has the odessy with 2 of the side by side crates in it.
I really like my Mazda5. It's labeled as a mini-minivan but does not seem like a mini van at all, except that the side doors slide like a mini van. The gas milage is outstanding. I can get two crates in it (which I leave) and even have enough room to travel to my dog shows with all my stuff. When Lew goes it is tight with the collapsable crates and cooler, and luggage, and obedience stuff but we have done it. I have not found anything I don't like about it thus far and I've had it six months now.
Susan UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
I"m telling you, that RAV 4 is a lot larger inside than it looks from the outside. It's alot bigger than the CRV (SD has one and while it's cute as a button, it's smaller inside), And though the top looks like it slopes down in the back it is higher than it seems. It lays really flat when you fold the seats down. I think the best thing to do is to take the crates with you when you shop and just try to put them in.