Honda Element Wins First-ever DogCar of the Year Award

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DogCars.com lists top vehicle picks in nine categories for 2007, plus the ones to watch for 2008.

We’re glad to see car-makers address the comfort and safety of our dogs on the road because people don’t want to leave their pets -- or should we say ‘four-legged family members’ – behind. More than a quarter even sometimes take pets to work

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DogCars.com, the car-buying resource for dog-lovers everywhere, has chosen the Honda Element as the DogCar of the Year for 2007. Created by “Good Morning America” veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and his writing partner, the syndicated columnist, book author and PetConnection.com blogger Gina Spadafori, DogCars.com also gave high honors to the Suzuki Forenza wagon as the Best DogCarsValue among 2007 models.

The DogCars.com team also noted four vehicles to watch for 2008: The all new Scion xB, Volvo XC70, Dodge Grand Caravan and Buick Enclave. In the closely watched Green category, DogCars.com marks the 2008 Ford Escape hybrid as worth a test drive for dog-lovers who want a cleaner ride.

“Surveys show about half of all car-buyers consider the comfort of the family dog when buying a new car – and 65 percent take their pets on errands,” says Dr. Becker, the New York Times best-selling author and co-author with Spadafori of the new “BowWow: Curiously Compelling Facts, True Tales and Trivia Even Your Dog Won't Know” (HCI).

“We’re glad to see car-makers address the comfort and safety of our dogs on the road because people don’t want to leave their pets -- or should we say ‘four-legged family members’ – behind. More than a quarter even sometimes take pets to work,” he said.

The Web site, which also offers Dr. Becker’s pet travel safety tips, pet travel product reviews and reader comments, gave honors to top DogCars for 2007 in seven additional automotive categories, including luxury, mid-size and small SUVs, sporty, truck, minivan and compact. Reviews run on the DogCars.come site and are also featured as regular part of Dr. Becker and Spadafori’s pet-care feature for the Universal Press Syndicate, running in newspapers across the country.

DogCars.com gives the highest “paw ratings” to those vehicles that have:

  • Seats that fold flat or are easily removable.
  • Plenty of usable cargo space relative to the size of the vehicle.
  • Wide, square backs, with as little rear slope as possible, to make the most of the cargo area.
  • Door and window locks, so a dog can't accidentally unlock a door or roll down a window.
  • All-wheel or four-wheel drive and high ground clearance, because dog sports people find themselves off-road a great deal.

The Honda Element’s versatile cargo space, easy-clean flooring, crate-friendly rear design and optional all-wheel drive were cited as the key ingredients for the perfect dog car.

Top Dog Cars for 2007

Best Overall: Honda Element
Best Overall Value: Suzuki Forenza
Best Luxury SUV: Land Rover Range Rover
Best Mid-sized: SUV: Volkswagen Touareg and Volvo XC90 (Tie)
Best Small-Sized SUV: Mitsubishi Outlander
Best Sporty DogCar: Mazda Speed3
Best Pickup Truck: Ford F-150
Best Minivan: Dodge Grand Caravan
Best Hatchback: Honda Fit Sport

Short write-ups on each winner as well as full reviews on all vehicles are available on the only site that puts dog-lovers in the driver’s seat, DogCars.com.

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Dr. Marty Becker
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