“Dog Friendly” Dog Car – Honda Element

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It’s been a while since I talked about dog cars.  I’ve been on the look out for a new car to accomadate my dogs for quite some time now.  My 2000 Honda CRV has been holding up very well, but I must admit it’s not the greatest dog car.

Earlier this year I heard about the Dog Friendly version of the Honda Element.  I heard that they had the dog friendly Honda Element on display at the Orange County Pet Expo last April.  Unfortunately, I did not see the Element at the OC pet expo.  However, I have been thinking about it from time to time.

This past weekend we visited the Orange County Auto Show at the Anaheim Convention Center.  I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the new Dog Friendly Honda Element.  Once again I was met by disappointment.  They had the Honda Element SC, but it did not have any dog friendly upgrades.

Dog Friendly Honda Element

Today I received an email from a friend from the Car and Driver blog titled: Honda Element Adds “Dog Friendly” Package.  I was happy to finally receive some definitive information on perhaps my future dog car!  November 16th, 2009 is the release date and it’s listed on Car and Driver as a canine convenience package.  Here are the details:

  • There is a special kennel made of seatbelt like webbing that fits conveniently in the hatch.
  • There is also a soft floor in the back to keep your pooch nice and comfortable.
  • There is a special ramp in the back to allow your dog to walk rather than jump into the vehicle.
  • Dog designs on the rubber car mats, seat fabric, and exterior of the car.

The price tacks an additional $995 on top of the regular price of the Honda Element.

The Honda Element and I

I had already heard that the Honda Element was a great dog car.  If you read the dog cars blog then you’ll know they give the Honda Element their highest marks even writing “best dog car, ever!”  The Honda Element has received all these great dog car reviews and now to add on top of that the “Dog Friendly” package?  How could I go wrong?

I actually test drove this car about two years ago and I’m sorry to say I wasn’t extremely impressed.  I loved the plastic floors and the roomy interior.  The boxy shape makes it easy to accomodate even the largest kennels.  However, that boxy shape may be part of it’s downfall (in my mind).

First of all, I’d like a car that gets good gas mileage afterall we’re trying to be eco-friendly and the Honda Element is not the greenest of vehicles (gas mileage is somewhere in the low 20’s).  this is perhaps partially due to that boxy design that gives it such a spatious interior.  Second, I’m not a big fan of the suicide doors (doors swinging the opposite direction).  The car appears to be large enough to accomadate regular doors.  In my experience it is much more difficult to load and unload dogs, people, large items with suicide doors.

We are trying to raise Stetson and Linus as green dogs or eco dogs.  Our latest goal is to work on our eco dog training.  You might be wondering what exactly is eco dog training?  Well, we like to think of eco dog training as a slight modification on regular dog training.  We’d like people to make eco-friendly choices when it comes to dog training, dog food, dog products, dog cars, or even when choosing your next dog.

The Dog Friendly Honda Element’s poor gas mileage is the main reason why we will not choose it as our next dog car.  Our goal’s have changed over the years and as EcoDogs we hope to find a dog car that also does less harm to the environment.

How about you?  Have you found the perfect dog car yet?  Is it an eco-friendly dog car?

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4 Comments

  1. Is that a special bed for the dog in the back? Where can i get one!!! Thanks in advanced.

  2. I’m looking at the Pontiac Vibe, looks very roomy, had great reviews and gets great gas mileage – 25/30

    I don’t know how green it is per se, not something I’m overly concerned about myself, but I’ve seen good reviews on it, and am looking forward to test driving it myself.

    1. @Erin, thanks for your response. I haven’t considered the Pontiac Vibe, but I’m going to take a look at it now. It looks similar to the Mazda 3.

      25/30 is good gas mileage. I actually have three cars that were high on my list after the OC Auto Show:

      Toyota Prius 51/48 – great gas mileage and roomy interior.
      Scion xB 22/28 – not very good gas mileage. Very roomy interior. Low price. Test drove the manual and it was fun to drive.
      Mini Clubman 28/37 – good gas mileage for a non-hybrid. Interior might be too small for dogs. Fun to drive. Price can be a little high if you start adding options

      I was looking at the Jeep Wrangler, but after talking to people, reading consumer reports, and hearing about the maintenance issues I decided to take it off my list. Also, the gas mileage would have killed me.

      I plan on going to the LA Auto Show in December and will take a look at as many cars as possible. If anyone else has any other suggestions please leave a comment

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