Five pet-friendly cars for Hong Kong dog lovers

Suitable new and used vehicles can be found among the top automotive marques

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 3:58pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 10:35pm

Hong Kong’s pet canines see cars from different perspectives when their owners take out them for a spin, largely from the lap, floor or boot. So the big Audi RS6 Avant Performance 4.0 TFSI Quattro could be their biggest drool. The big estate hits 100km/h in under four seconds, and zips top dogs to more exclusive “walkies” far from the Black’s Link pack. The 4.979-metre RS6 Avant (HK$1,798,800) is sufficiently large and wide, at 2.086 metres, to carry a fat Labrador with the back seats up, at 465 litres, and maybe two or three poodles with the seats down, in 1,680 litres. That’s grander than the 520-1,550-litre boot of the Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake, and edges the 1,675 litres in the Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake.

The big Avant is also dog friendly, with an airy sunroof and a flat luggage area with space dividers. More important to dogs, the RS6 Avant’s bed is lipless and just 631mm off the ground. Rear stowage nets or cages can be sourced online or welded locally to stop dogs flying into passengers in sudden braking, however. The US Center for Pet Safety has also filmed crash tests of dog seat belts, crates and pet seats, but recommends only a few products online.

The new Volvo Polestar V60 (HK$799,800) looks very top dog. The 367hp, 1969cc turbocharged estate promises 100km/h in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h. Its fuel-efficiency is a “class-leading” 7.8 litres per 100km and 179 CO2g/km. The estate looks airy and stable for queasy pets, with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, four-wheel drive and power steering, and the luggage floor is a 646mm jump to the ground on 20-inch wheels. The standard V60’s 430-litre boot seems small but the seats fold back to fit four terriers. Buy mats and accessories online.

An older Mercedes-Benz E-Class takes more claw, slobber and moult than most cars, and dogs seem more relaxed in their space. A 2006 three-litre E300 Wagon for sale online last week looked perfect for village packs at under HK$80,000. However, the suspension of the newly arrived Mercedes-Benz GLE could be better for the pets on a run to the country parks. The four-wheel-drive SUV’s 435hp V8 GLE 500 (HK$1.15 million) has AIRMATIC damping at each wheel that “adapts to the current driving situation”, according to Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong spokesman Samson Leung. The marque also upgrades pets’ comfort with new washable velour, and non-slip reversible mats.

The Bentley Bentayga is built for Hong Kong’s top lapdogs and James Bond villains’ cats. The 5.14-metre SUV’s luxurious cabin can be ordered as a four-, five- or seven-seater, but the boot can instead take a pet-snack fridge. The Bentayga’s six-litre W12 engine produces 600hp, reaches 100km/h in four seconds and promises a top speed of 301km/h. Humans enjoy the plush SUV’s drive and infotainment technology, but four-legged friends can sink into big back seats; lounge in 1.039 metres of rear legroom; and then widdle on the Bentley’s massive 23-inch wheels. The Bentayga also offers four suspension modes, pioneering stability control, and eight drive settings, the marque says. The Bentayga can be personalised, too, Bentley says. “Our customers who regularly carry their dogs in the rear of a Bentayga will be experienced enough to make their own choices of materials,” says Bentley spokesman Robin Peel.

Rolls-Royce has bespoked for pet dogs for decades. One woman wanted to personalise her limousine’s interior “to match her red setter”, says Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ Singapore-based spokesman Hal Serudin. His Tokyo-based counterpart, Rosemary Mitchell, says a US client commissioned the company “to design and produce a lamb’s wool dog bed for the back of his new Phantom Coupe”. Customisation is also catching on among animal-loving Rolls-Royce owners, she says. “Although dogs are a favourite, we find that animal-inspired design elements are very popular with our customers, from peacock coachline motifs to birds of prey embroidered on the headrests, horses, elephants, pandas, you name it,” Mitchell says. The Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase is still the best car for top dogs in Hong Kong, The 6.092-metre stretch Phantom is pet-friendly with rear insulation against road noise, a flat floor and 1.349 metres of legroom. The limousine’s 6.75-litre V12 is also smooth to 100km/h (in 5.9 seconds) via a ZF automatic 8HP70 transmission, and its suspension is specially mounted to reduce noise, and resist the dive or rise of the rear in acceleration and braking. Top cats might appreciate the Magic Body Control smart suspension in the six-litre V12 Mercedes-Maybach S600, but most still equate cars with trips to the vet.