What's the best SUV to buy when you have a dog?
MY HUSBAND and I are after a new car. At present we have a 2011 Honda Accord Euro, we are finding getting in and out of it hard. We are tossing up between the Honda HR-V VTi-L or maybe waiting for the Skoda Karoq coming out in July. I'm not interested in diesel as I will be driving it mostly. I need a lot of boot space as I have two large dogs. If I go for the Honda I need to make my mind up within a couple of weeks to get the run out deal. Would appreciate your expert opinion.
If cargo space is the major consideration the Karoq wins on paper. Keep in mind that total volume doesn't necessarily equate to head/tail height so I'd be taking the dogs with me when evaluating all of these vehicles. It's better to have the dealership deal with a bit of hair in the back than sign up and then realise the pooches don't fit as well as you'd hoped. I suspect you'll want a cargo barrier to stop them from jumping into the rear (or front) seats, so factor that into the equation.
The HR-V needs to be bought in top-spec trim - "VTi-L + ADAS" to include active driving aids such as blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist and autonomous cruise control. A 437-litre cargo area expands to 1462 litres with the rear seats folded. If you buy now the deal is sweetened with a seven-year warranty. The Honda uses a 1,8-litre engine with 105kW/172Nm and fuel use is 6.6 litres/100km. Service intervals are every 10,000km and the first four trips to the dealership will cost $1178.
From $32,490 plus-on roads
The Skoda Karoq is bigger than the HR-V at 4382mm compared to 4294mm. The cargo area is, not surprisingly, larger at 479 litres, growing to 1605 litres with the back seats down. A $1700 "Tech Pack" is needed to match the Honda's safety specifications and the Skoda has a five-year warranty. The Karoq uses a 1.5-litre turbo engine with 110kW/250Nm and fuel use is the best of this trio at 5.8 litres/100km when fitted with the seven-speed dual-clutch auto. Servicing occurs every 12 months/15,000km and the first three trips will cost $1078.
Nissan Qashqai N-Tec
A boot capacity of 430-1598 litres puts the Qashqai into the picture. Like the others, in this guise it comes with the latest safety software but the warranty is the worst of this trio at three years. There's plenty of features and the car is a benign and predictable drive. The N-Tec is powered by a 2.0-litre engine with 110kW/200Nm paired with a CVT. Fuel use is a claimed 6.9 litres/100km. Servicing occurs every 12 months/10,000km and the first four capped-price visits will cost $1150.
Subaru Forester 2.5i-L
If the extra length of the Forester (it is 4610mm long) isn't an issue, then the boxy shape should suit the canines. A new model is due soon, so haggle hard on the price. Space isn't huge at 422 litres/1481 litres but the height may well be a winner here. Again, take the dogs to confirm. The Forester's 2.5-litre engine cranks out 126kW/235Nm and it has the reassurance of all-wheel drive but that in turn pushes claimed fuel use to 8.1 litres/100km. Subaru has the active safety front covered and if you buy in June there's a five-year warranty. Servicing is frequent and expensive. The schedule stipulates six months/12,500km and the first six appointments are worth $2283.25.
The Honda's seven-year warranty makes it the pick of this mob _ providing the dogs will fit. If not, you won't have to wait long for the Skoda Karoq.