Need a another vehicle and need recommendations

Hey everybody. I consider myself to be somewhat of a car buff - I read all the mags and watch all the car news - however, I am stumped and perplexed as to consider.

I need to replace my current vehicle only because I now have another dog. My current 3-series sedan allowed my big shepard the whole back seat and both back windows for his pleasure. Putting the smaller shepard back there with him is too cramped for them both and tempers sometimes flare.

An SUV would be a logical choice as it would have the rear cargo area for one od the pups. However, the dilemma is that the older, bigger dog cannot jump anymore so his access would be limited. And I did not want to have to use a ramp or steps as that would be something else to haul around.

Can any of you think of vehicle that would work? It would have to be of medium size, not too high off the ground, have a rear window that opened or went down, and not be very expensive.

Please help me narrow down just a few choices to consider. Thank you.

You carry dogs in your 3-series?

Regardless, if you’re in that low-end luxury market and want some extra room, I would go with the Volvo V50 or V70 wagons. The 70 is a little larger and a little more expensive. Take a look at them, they’re nice cars. Failing that, there’s the new Mini Clubman which isn’t huge, but is certainly more roomy than the standard Cooper and might carry on the sporty spirit of your 3. Good luck!

You sound like a perfect candidate for a minivan. Put the back seat down, and put a divider in to separate the dogs if necessary. The back hatch opens, so your old dog can just hop in. Minivans are closer to the ground that SUVs and use less gas. Your basic Dodge Caravan would be a good choice. Huyndai makes a good van as well. At some stage everyone outgrows a 3 Series (BMW, I presume).

If you live in a snowy area you will be pleasantly surprised at the good traction a minivan has.

I have a 2000 Blazer, even though it’s one of the smaller SUVs, the step up height is too high for an older dog. Towards the end, we had to use the minivan to transport our Golden Retriever. Have you looked at a Chevy HHR, all the utility of an SUV and a lower step in height. I can’t speak for its reliability, but the HHR is on my short list to replace the Blazer in a few years.

Ed B.


My 7 1/2 year old Lab doesn’t have any health issues but jumping up to the back seat in my '02 Tahoe is an issue. I don’t have the third seat as I don’t need one.

She used to do it but now wants me to move the drivers seat ahead so she can jump up to the floor level first. No problem getting out.

No problem getting into our '00 Olds Silhouette though. She uses the whole back seat so all I need to do is slide the second row passenger side seat ahead to make way.

She flatly refuses to jump in the back of either vehicle. Spoiled? A bit.

My in-laws bought a VW Passat wagon for hauling their dogs. I would think one of those, a Volvo V70, a Saab 9-5 Wagon or maybe one of those 3 series wagons would give you the right size plus be fun to drive like your car.

By the way, is the step up too high in the BMW X3? And ignore the hater: if you love european cars, you can never outgrow a 3 series!

I can suggest the vehicle that will carry the needed information…the Consumer Reports New Car Preview, available at your local bookstore.

Sincere best.

They now tell you which vehicles are good or bad for haulin’ dogs? (smile)

How about the Mazda6 Station Wagon with a 5-speed?

Then again, if you’re looking for BRAND new car, I am not sure if they still make them…

Thank you for the wagon suggestion. I do like the Passat sedans, but hadn’t thought about a wagon. Likewise, I am going to look at some used X3s this coming wknd.

What about the Mazda3 hatchback or the Mazda5? They’re certainly economical. One dog could have the backseat and the other could have the cargo area. I’m not sure if there’s enough window access for the dogs, though.

Docnick, you’re right about the surprisingly good traction a minivan has, especially w/ winter tires…but why are they so good? Is it center of gravity, etc?

What about an Audi A4 Avant or an A3?

OP has a Series 3 BMW which has most of the weight on the front wheels, while the rear wheels do the driving. This results in poor traction on slippery surfaces. Pickpup trucks have the same proble.

A minivan on the other hand has front wheel drive and most of the weight on the front wheels when empty or lightly loaded. So the front wheels have superior traction. The BMW also has a higher power to weight ratio than a typical minivan, so it is easier to spin the wheels on a BMW.

No, but they provide a full spectrum of what’s available…and they tell you which ones ARE dogs!!!

“…and they tell you which ones ARE dogs!!!”

… in their opinion. I don’t care for their standards and find that their reliability ratings are questionable. For instance, I have a 1998 Buick Regal that in about 2002 had all above average ore excellent ratings in the each category shown for repairs. Yet, they rated it below average in reliability. I’m sure that there is a reasonable explanation.