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I had to make a long unfortunate road trip and didn't want to take the truck. Since I've been looking at buying a commuter vehicle I rented a Subaru Forester. It worked nicely as I was at a ski resort area and it handled the weather fine. I had one dog crate in there but think I could get three tightly. So I pose the question what folks are using other than a truck to commute and haul up to three dogs from time to time. I give the Subaru good rating as a general vehicle. Not sure about dog hauling
 

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In August, I traded in a Dodge Dakota and a Honda Civic for a new Subaru Forester. The Dakota was my huntin' vehicle which was purchased when my commute to work was 20 minutes long. The Civic was my commutin' vehicle necessary for my now 90 minute each way (3 hour total) commute to work. Now one vehicle handles both duties.

With the Thule canoe rack and the trailer hitch for a lil' 4x6 utility trailer, my Forester is both a commuter and a hunt'n vehicle. I got the 5 speed. I absolutely love the thing. Seriously. A with the split rear seat, I can take two passengers along with the dog crate. With the trailer loaded and with my Old Town Discovery 169 on top, I can fly at highway+ speeds and the thing handles like a sports car. Off road, it handles the ruts and mud of Pennsylvania State Game land trails as well as my brother's jeep.

But if you get one, don't be surprised if the tree huggers and the occupy folk strike up conversations with you. I'm getting the impression that it is the official vehicle of the NPR crowd. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
 

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Hey Doug, I'll loan ya my 91 Civic anytime...just put the seats down and you can fit a couple dogs in the trunk. It's not too bad off road either.... Chased a cat around the fields behind my house last year pretending to be a driver for the fast and furious show.....doesn't roll over going through the bumps at speed....LOL....
 

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Do you think you could fit a lab sized crate in the back of the Forester with the back seats up?
I just measured the cargo area with the back seat up:

Height: 31"
Width: 42"
Length (back of seat to back hatch): 29"

So...yes. But you may have to pick help him in and then spin the crate. A better idea may be to buy a mesh partition (I think Subaru makes one for the Forester.) to section-off the rear cargo area from the back seat. The rubber mat that protects the cargo area is perfect for critters.

I did the over achiever thing and made my own dog box that fits perfectly on one side of the rear split seat.
 

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We bought a Forester 7 years ago. Never hauled dogs in it but it's been great.

Have to take it in soon. Needs a rear wiper blade...76,000 miles, one set of tires and wiper blades.

For one dog some of the newer wire crates have 2 doors, the normal one and them one on the side.
 

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Careful with the Subaru's. Ours has been quite a head ache. Head Gaskets and wheel bearings can be a nightmare. They are great cars but do have their issues.
 

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Go take a look at the Honda Fit. The price and mileage is good.
I'm pretty sure you can get 2 crates in, but doubtful on 3... but shoot, you've got the TRUCK for that!
 

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I second the problems with Subaru's. Our transmission went at 60,000 and then I think our head gasket went less than 3000 miles later. Traded that piece of you know what in.

I know a lot of people LOVE the Honda Elements for dog vehicles. I heard they are dog friendly and easy to clean. One friend had her crates on a pedestal, and still more room, not sure enough for 3 crates but maybe with one perpendicular to the others, door entry. I personally think they are ugly, but they get good mileage. Better than my Explorer.
 

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I can get 3 crates in my Xterra. I get between 20 and 22 mpg around town, a bit higher on the highway. When I tow the dog trailer mileage drops just a tiny bit.

Great off road and has been a very reliable vehicle. I have 124,000 miles on it and no major problems.
 

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I have a Honda Element. I took out the back seats.

Unfortunately they stopped making them last year.
 
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