If you think about it, carmaker’s target markets aren’t exclusively humans, even though humans tend to be the ones with all the money. When it comes to non-humans riding in cars, dogs have to be the next most common species. With that in mind, it makes sense that every now and then a carmaker would really try to cater to their sloppy, furry clients, and I think the best example of this would have to be a 2005 Honda concept car with a really absurd name: WOW, which stood for “Wonderful Open-hearted Wagon.” Oh boy.
The whole point of this wagon, as wonderful and open-hearted as it was, was to be the most dog-friendly car ever. Honda’s designers and engineers took this challenge seriously, and, as a dog owner myself, I can say they came up with solutions that are genuinely well-considered and practical.
Just for comparison, it’s way, way better than this ridiculous canine-focused Rolls-Royce we saw a few years back.
First, it’s a very roomy minivan with dual-sliding doors and a very low floor height, to make it easier for your pup to jump or climb in. Those floors are flat and wooden, not covered with hard-to-clean carpet—it looks like muddy paw prints or the occasional squirt of piping-hot canine urine would wipe right off.
There’s places to tie leashes all over the car: the B-pillar has a tall pole just for leash-connecting, and the bumpers have integrated leash attachment points as well.
The seating material appears to be removable and washable, a big deal, and, in a clever bit of engineering, the middle seat can fold into a little kennel!
Honda even provided handy diagrams for how you could configure the WOW:
And, of course, where you’d normally expect a glove box in a normal car, Honda managed to cram in another dog carrier, though this one is better suited to a Pomeranian than, say, an Irish Wolfhound:
What’s really cool here is that the HVAC vent can accordion out like a giant bendy straw to provide heat or cool air to your pup while they’re relaxing in their little dashboard apartment.
There was also a hidden doggie-equipment storage area in the tailgate, and a bunch of other good ideas, which you can see in this little video:
If you think about what the goal was here, I think Honda did a bang-up job. And, considering that there are 88 million dogs in America, I think there actually could be a viable, real-world market for a car like this. I can think of far worse reasons to get a particular kind of car than it makes your dog happy, right?