Annabel Hurdman has a 1996 Mazda MX3 into which she squeezes four dogs, so the rear seat is permanently in her loft. Her problem is there is now a fifth dog, a great big German Shepherd. She does not use the car much in the week, but at the weekends wants to get away, so will even consider a motorhome.

A car for the head

Quite how Annabel managed to get all those dogs inside a car as small as an MX3 is remarkable. I would also suggest that it probably wasn't the safest option. Unless all the dogs were properly secured, flying hounds in an accident would not be funny. A car for the head might be a van. I would have thought that the metal rear space of a van would be absolutely perfect and leave nothing for dog hair to stick to. This would also be the most hygienic option as the interior could be cleaned more thoroughly. Often there is a bulkhead panel behind the front seats, which could act as dog guard. A van with a side door so that the dogs could be unloaded safely would be ideal. For £2,000 plus VAT (a quirk of commercial vehicle sales) it is possible to find a 2002 Citroë*Berlingo with a diesel engine, a fitted steel bulkhead and a reasonable 60,000 mileage.

A car for the heart

It does seem as though Annabel has set her heart on having something like a motorhome. They do come in several sizes and I would advise her not to go for the largest multi-berth models. Although the Fiat Ducato (which is roughly the size of a Ford Transit) has been one of the most popular conversions, it could still be too large. There are some converted vans that are smaller and cheaper to own. At the moment we are going through a caravan and motorhome boom, so finding any adapted vehicle below £4,000 is difficult. Also, the trouble with the smaller vans is that they are so packed with equipment that there would barely be enough room for the hounds. Although I found a small 1993 Nissan Day Van with double glazing, a fridge and cooker, it may not be big enough. Otherwise a 1990 Fiat Ducato at £5,995 might be better, but it is large and Annabel may need a weekend away to make a final decision.

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