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Old 06-10-2013, 10:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dog vehicle suggestions?

So, I'm looking to possibly break my lease and get a bigger vehicle.

I have a Honda Civic and believe it or not, I can fit a 36" crate in the back seat, but the crate is now too small for my dog.

I'm hoping to get a vehicle that I can easily fit two 42" crates in, just in the event that I ever get a second dog down the road. I don't want to find myself in this position again! I go out to sporting events so I can't have teh dog loose in the back, she has to be crated so I can keep the doors open in warm weather.

I was looking at Dodge Caravan's with the stow 'n go seats. They have a lot of usable space and are fairly cheap, but some people don't like that brand? Anyone here have one and how do you like it? Has it been reliable for you?

I'm hoping to get something used, with lower mileage so it's cheaper and I can afford to finance it. I don't want to lease again!

Honda Odessey's have been suggested, and while that would be easier for me since I have a Honda currently and my dealership will make life easier for me if I get another vehicle from them, they are very expensive and they have no stock until the 2014's come in.

I'm finding a lot of vehicles don't have a flat back area and/or the back seats don't fold down flat, so I'm thinking a minivan will be best?

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Old 06-10-2013, 10:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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If you don't have to go offroad I think minvans are THE best choice. Offroad, they are not so good....Dirt roads ok. I would look at the Toyota Minivan but they hold their value so a used one would not be so cheap.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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4 door pick up with a cap.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by huntergreen View Post
4 door pick up with a cap.
This is what I'm thinking for my next, but I'm afraid to cough up the gas mileage.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You know I have and love the pick up with a cap, but fuel economy is not as good as a minivan (and if you get a pick up you may as well get a full size monster because small one will have limited crate size) and anymore the walls are so high you can't lean over them but have to have a wheel step or a step stool.

I just need 4WD for search and rescue stuff and to be able to pull the boat and put it in most places we don't have a ramp.

The cap kind of limits (to me) the utility of actually having a truck not to mention the hassle of removing the crates. Were I to do it over, I would just go no cap, custom insulated dog boxes that were easy to remove. If I were thinking pet and dog sports I would get a minivan hands down. The two doors opening on the sides are really nice for cross ventilation.

EDIT *cough* of course this is something satisfying to be able to accelerate past any jerk who won't let you in on the on ramp. The 5.7L V8 on that Tundra is quite the experience when you floor it...have to make sure there is nothing on the dash! ...... My overall fuel economy in foothills terrain and mix of city and highway is about 16 mpg. I get about 18 on the HWY. A V6 does not do that much better in a truck on the HWY but does in the city.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I just got a used Chrysler Town and Country minivan, with the stow and go seats. I love it. I can get three 36" crates in it with no problem. Most of the dog show people I know have either the Dodge Grand Caravan or the Town and Country.

We've gotten 3 people, 4 GSDs and 4 dachshunds (all crated), with a grooming table, extra (flattened) crates, a dolly, 2 exercise pens, and all the other junk we drag around to dog shows (including our bags to stay at a hotel) crammed into my friend's Grand Caravan, more than once.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah, I thought about a truck with the cap, but the gas mileage and how high up they are kind of turned me off.

The minivans are lower to the ground, so less jumping up/down for the dogs and of course they are climate controlled with the rest of the vehicle too, which is a bonus.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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You might want to check out a used Honda Element. I don't know if it would accommodate 2 of the great big crates, but it's a fabulous little dog hauler.

You can completely remove the rear seats (easily, they just unclip and are designed to pop right out and store flat in your garage). You then have a totally flat cargo area with no wheel well. If you occasionally need the seats and want to leave them in, they conveniently flatten and flip up against the wall of the rear area to get them out of the way (this reduces rear visibility though). It looks like this: Google Image Result for http://0.tqn.com/d/suvs/1/0/v/G/-/-/Cargo.JPG With the seats gone, it looks like this:
Google Image Result for http://0.tqn.com/d/trucks/1/0/-/M/05_element_cargo2.jpg

Best of all, the entire rear area has a textured plastic floor that you can just mop out if a dog pukes in it (just avoid the "SC" trim line, which has a carpeted rear). I am loving having a non-carpeted floor for hauling dogs. It makes mud a non-issue too, after a fun day of outdoor adventures.

It is also pretty decent with its gas mileage, unlike most SUVs and trucks (22-25 mpg, for us). And you get Honda reliability, which you already know about with your Civic. It also drives like a car, not a truck.

Also, there are heavy-duty cargo clips all over to clip in safety "seat belt" harnesses for multiple dogs, which we prefer to crates.

ETA: to avoid jumping in the Element, we purchased a set of fold up stairs. They fold up into a little box, and they unfold into a set of three big, wide carpeted stairs that my old dog and blind dog both easily navigate to get in the tailgate. We found them on ebay, and they are the best thing ever for older dogs.

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Old 06-10-2013, 10:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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What I see a lot of folks do to keep the minivans cool is cover them with aluminet tarps. I will admit that my white truck with a white cap and full length windoors with limo black on them can be parked in direct sun and, with the windoors and tailgate window open, won't be any warmer than ambient.

When I had an SUV, I had to take a lot more care with where I parked because the window glass made it like a greenhouse.
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huntergreen View Post
4 door pick up with a cap.
e



I'm another for the four door truck. I have a crew cab f-150 and I love it! Nothing else would fit my dog stuff. I have three XL crates in the bed along with my huge gear bag (sleeves, suit and so on) plus a secondary back with the collars and leashes and stuff. When barked I put an EZ-up over the crates and it stays nice in there. If I don't have all three dogs with me, then I can fit one XL crate or two L crates in the back seat area. If the budget allows, I'm also a fan of leather. The dog hair doesn't stick to it so it's an easy clean up. Plus if the dogs are wet or anything it doesn't really hurt it or stain too easy.
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