Outback, CR-V, or RAV4?
Looking to downsize from my current Honda Pilot since no real need for family vehicle anymore. Must-haves: room for a golden retriever (preferably in cargo area), something that will get me through all but the worst DC snow, and something reliable that won’t have costly repairs down the road. Would like to stay around the 30k mark, and would like to stick with the Japanese models since I’ve had bad experiences in the past with others (I know, I know, they’ve improved, but…). Read your column religiously and will go with what you advise (no pressure intended!). Thanks!

August 07, 2012 4:49 PM

Lou Ann Hammond :

The RAV4 is fine, but as your golden retreiver gets older you may want to consider a lower to the ground vehicle. Sounds like you might be more interested in a hatchback, or even a station wagon.

Subaru has a great station wagon, but have you looked at an Audi all-road? It’s a little more than you requested price wise but I want you to know what’s new out there. You can also go for an older version.

Subaru has the best vehicles for animals still, especially something as big as a golden retriever.

It’s interesting, older dogs need more room than younger dogs. Just like us, as we age it’s harder for us to maneuver in smaller spaces.

Watch out for the SUV (like your Pilot) that has open latches when all the seats are down. The dog can get their paws stuck in those latches. ouch.

I’m liking the outback or the RAV4, but consider a station wagon/hatchback.

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