The Right Car For Your Dog

Has your family vehicle gone to the dogs? Take comfort in our handy, breeder-approved, consumer guide.

By | Posted: Mon Feb 28 00:00:00 PST 2005

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The sleek Chrysler Town & Country comes as a regular mini-van, or in an extended version. A pleasure to drive, the 3.8 liter V6 engine provides an average 22 mpg on this front-wheel drive vehicle. The forte of the Town & Country is the extraordinary amount of space available when the "Stow 'n Go" second- and third-row seats easily fold and disappear into the floor. Base price ranges from $20.5 to $35K.

The Dodge Grand Caravan, an extended length mini-van with the same engine and mileage as the T&C, also offers the option of flat-folding second- and third-row seats. This front-wheel drive mini-van is base-priced from $18 to $26.5K.

Vans and Conversions
Plus: Lots of room; leave crates, tarps, raincoats, and extras in from one weekend to the next; and can be equipped for a pleasant weekend of camping.

Minus: Gas mileage isn't great, and uninsulated vans can "sweat" under certain conditions.

Full-sized vans from the Big Three are the most popular: the Ford E Series, Dodge Sprinter, GMC Savana, and its twin, the Chevrolet Express. All are roughly priced in the $25 to $35K range. A number of companies provide conversion vans, which are standard vans with custom interiors.

Breeder/exhibitor Merry Jeanne Milner, of High Point, N.C., had her extended van customized for her dogs. She can transport eight of her Briards, though usually travels with no more than four. A high top means standing inside is no problem, and she added a generator. "We love it," says Milner. "No worries during the warm months, as they have their own air conditioning."

RVs and Motor Homes
Plus: Comfort and convenience. Your home away from home. Minus: Size is inversely proportional to gas mileage. Repairs can be costly and time consuming, and an RV is always an "extra" vehicle.

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