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Finding the Best Car for Your Dog

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If you transport your dogs frequently, you'll want a vehicle that meets you and your dogs' needs the best. Benny Hayslett, who resides in rural western North Carolina, recalls searching for a sport utility vehicle so he could transport his three dogs.  

Hayslett is a volunteer with the NC Saint Bernard Rescue organization. “We could no longer fit all the ‘boys’ in one vehicle,” he said. The smallest, at the time, was 65 pounds and the largest weighed 180. 

He looked at SUVs from Ford, Chevrolet, Jeep, Dodge and Kia, and then settled on the Honda Element. The Element’s interior “won me over,” he said. “It’s extremely easy to keep clean, and the seats are amazing in their durability and ease of cleaning.”  

Drool-proof interior 

Janice MacDonald, a lab technician living in Nova Scotia, agrees. She has two wolfhounds that measure three feet tall at the shoulders. “Saige” and “Guinness” can stand up in the Element and poke their heads out of the car's sun roof. She also gives credit to the interior as “drool-proof.”  

Seats in the EX models are covered with what Honda calls FXC™ (Fabric for Extreme Conditions), to resist “stains and spills like ketchup, dirt, coffee, motor oil or lip gloss.” 

While dogs may drool over the Element, most critics aren’t planting lip-gloss kisses on Honda’s designers. Web searches turn up numerous derogatory comments such as “from the back, it looks like a microwave oven” and “downright hideous.”  

In short, some think the Element is a dog, but to each his (and her) own. Bark if you appreciate utility and convenience!  

Flexible and easy to clean 

The Element’s versatile interiors are appreciated by rugged, outdoorsy people and lovers of big dogs. Element seats fold flat, can be pivoted vertically against the interior walls or removed. The clamshell tailgate makes it relatively easy to jump in and out.  

“The versatility of the rear seats makes it easy to handle whatever combination of dogs I happen to have to deal with," Hayslett said.  The only design change Hayslett would like to see is the abiliy to "hose it out."  

Dog-friendlier than ever

While clearly popular among pet owners, the Honda Element will only get better for our canine companions with the introduction of a new dog-friendly concept for its Element EX model.  The concept appears to be very close to what will become an add-on accessories package made exclusively for the Element.  

Scheduled to debut in fall 2009, the "new and improved" Honda Element EX is sure to provide a safer, more comfortable ride for both you and your pet.  



Credit: Reviewed by Amy I. Attas, V.M.D.
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