Pet safety for furry passengers has been a popular news topic over the past year, with New Jersey considering mandatory seat belts for dogs and cats, and Subaru partnering with the Center for Pet Safety to fund testing of car safety restraints for pets.
Now Edmunds.com, a site that provides consumers with automotive information and shopping advice, has released its list of the 10 safest vehicles for pets.
The vehicles on the list have pet-friendly features and are all priced starting below $35,000, said Edmunds.com Automotive Content Editor Warren Clarke.
The vehicles that made the list are, in alphabetical order:
Dodge Journey - Pet-safe features include a rear-view camera that prevents drivers from backing over pets; an in-dash cooler that can be used to store beverages, medicine or pet food; and steering-wheel-mounted controls that can decrease driver distraction.
Ford Flex - According to Edmunds.com, the Ford Flex boasts a roomy interior and wide door openings that allow pets to easily climb in and out.
GMC Acadia - The Acadia offers advanced climate control so pets can stay cool in the back seat, as well as fold-flat seats in the rear that offer more room for pets and their crates to travel.
Hyundai Tucson - The Tucson features rear fold-flat seats, privacy glass that keeps temperatures low for pets, and remote key-less entry to help pet owners load their pets when their hands are full.
Jeep Liberty - The Jeep Liberty is highly specialized for pets, offering pet owners the choice of crates, carriers, and even a ramp that can help arthritic or elderly dogs enter the vehicle.
Kia Soul - The Soul can be purchased with side curtain airbags that protect pets and their owners, as well as privacy glass that lowers temperatures to keep pets cool and comfortable, according to Edmunds.com.
Mazda 5 - The Mazda 5 features sliding rear doors, which make it especially easy for people to load their pets into the car. The minivan also has tethers and anchors to assist with secure attachment of pet safety seats.
Mitsubishi Outlander - The Outlander includes fold-flat seating and stow-able third-row seats to ensure plenty of space for transporting pets.
Subaru Tribeca - Edmunds.com recommends the Tribeca for pet owners due to its steering-wheel-mounted auxiliary controls and rear back-up camera.
Volvo XC70 - The XC70 comes with an optional pet barrier that Volvo designed to keep pets safe and secure in the event of a collision. It also comes with a blind spot warning system that can be helpful if pets impede the driver's vision.
(NewStat: American Animal Hospital Association)