Fourth-least-expensive pet-friendly car: Mazda5
Base price: $19,940

The Mazda5 compact minivan comes with a host of pet-friendly features, from tethers and anchors for animal harnesses to fold-flat second- and third-row seats.

The vehicle boasts 97.7 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats down -- plenty of room for Spot or Mr. Whiskers. The Mazda5 also comes standard with sliding side-rear doors that provide 27-inch openings for easy pet entrance and exit.

Clarke adds that the six-passenger vehicle's standard safety equipment includes side-curtain airbags for all three rows, protecting passengers and pets alike.

He says the nimble Mazda5 also has a reputation for being unusually fun on the road. "It's a lot more pleasant to drive than full-sized minivans," the expert says.

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