Nissan has built an X-Trail designed for dogs that includes a two-way ‘dog-cam’, 360-degree dog shower, dog ramp and a non-spill water dispenser. We got to try the ‘X-Trail 4Dogs’ out for ourselves ─ damp fur smell and all.
Brits absolutely love their furry quadrupeds so it is bizarre that most car manufacturers tend to do little more than offer a dog guard as an option. But Nissan clearly has a bone to pick with the way things are right now because you are looking at possibly the ultimate canine-friendly car.
It is called the Nissan X-Trail 4Dogs and is based on the X-Trail crossover but comes equipped with a vast array of clever features, all of which are there to make dog ownership that little bit easier. Well, less muddy anyway.
Right now, it is a just a concept car – and a slightly rough one if the switch in the cabin for the dog-cam is anything to go by. But we can see some of the features becoming an option on future vehicles if consumers shout (or should that be bark?) loudly enough, especially as it was designed with the help of a survey of 1,300 dog owners in the UK.
1) You can bond with your dog while driving
Got a dog that needs 100 per cent of your attention or it shreds the family sofa into tiny pieces of fabric? Nissan has your back because the X-Trail 4Dogs has a two-way camera that can be viewed in the front infotainment display, allowing you and your pet to exchange loving glances as drive to your nearest Pets At Home. Switching between the dog camera and the reversing one is done using a toggle switch near the steering wheel so it is still easy to park.
2) Never have to lift up your dog again
Why lift up your dog when it can strut into the boot area along a specially-designed ramp stored in the X-Trail 4Dogs boot area? Simply slide the ramp out, let your spoilt pooch or pooches in and then slide it back into place. A total saviour for those moments when your dog has been rolling around in fox s*** or for anyone with a really, really fat dog.
3) Muddy dog is a thing of the past…
There is no reason to fear the wet – the X-Trail 4Dogs has an entire bathing suite hidden away in a draw. A 360-degree shower attached to a seven-litre water tank lets you rinse off the worst of the mud and then you can use the Shampoo Activator to make your pet smell nice. Special dog shampoo only, of course. You also get an exterior waterproof mat for your pet to stand on while being showered to keep their paws out of the mud. Whether your dog stands still is another thing entirely.
4) …And so is that damp dog smell
So your canine is smelling less awful, saving the need to drive home with all the windows down. Now what? The X-Trail 4Dogs includes a 12v DC heater that can gently dry your dog with air from 10 to 18 degrees Celsius for up to 30 minutes. Probably best to have an old towel handy if time is of the essence.
5) Feeding time is a game
After a wash and blow dry, your dog is probably in need of some energy to repair its muscles and whatnot. In steps the Smart Dog Treat Bowl, which gives your dog a treat if it can solve a puzzle (yeah, not even joking). For slightly less smart dogs, the difficulty can be adjusted or you can just plonk food in it the old-fashioned way. Up to two and a half cups of kibble can be put in the dispenser, so all but the biggest snackers will be satiated.
6) There’s a water dispenser, too
All that delicious kibble is going to make your hound thirsty so it is time for the X-Trail 4Dogs’ non-spill water dispenser to shine, which has a mode for controlling the water replenishment for really big drinkers. It also feels robust so should survive over-eager drinkers.
7) And plenty of space for chew toys
The boot is home to two storage areas for dog toys, dog food and a “walkies” lead. It also has a clip-in harness hook if you want to keep your dog from moving around as much and an auxiliary charging connection to keep the 120Ah battery juiced-up, which is used for the electric-zapping gadgets. Especially keen owners, meanwhile, would be barking mad to avoid speccing the optional dog keychain.
8) Paw prints can be removed with ease
Worry not about the X-Trail’s upholstery. The full leather boot liner can be wiped down with a soft cloth that can even be coated in a mild detergent for particularly harsh stains. The boot ceiling is also wrapped in a heavy-duty leather for added cleaning power and durability, which will come in useful for big dogs that like to shake off.
9) The X-Trail 4Dogs drive like an X-Trail for humans
Given the fact you will probably have a dog onboard when driving the X-Trail 4Dogs, outright pace is a secondary concern yet the Nissan diesel has plenty of grumbly oomph, while the ride is forgiving enough for potholes. All-wheel drive is a nice touch for those who like to get to more extreme walks.
The water tank for the dog hose sloshes around a lot, plus the bowl and basket like to clunk around in the back, but these are minor issues for Brits with dogs. An Nissan X-Trail with a couple more noises coming from the boot area or a dog caked head to toe in what may or may not be mud? We know what we would rather have.