Dog-lovers from coast to coast lamented the loss of the Honda Element. To some, its boxy design might've felt awkward or too "early aughts", but the Element's relatively low stance (at least for a crossover) and easy-to-clean interior made traveling with Charley, Fido, and Fifi a breeze.
As four-wheeled pet carriers go, nothing has truly managed to replace the the Element since it was discontinued in 2011. However, that could change if Nissan's new take on the Rogue--the fourth best-selling vehicle in America last month---ever finds its way to the assembly line.
That take is a concept called the Rogue Dogue, and it's debuting at the 2017 New York International Auto Show. It's based on a 2017 Rogue SL with Nissan's Platinum Reserve Interior Package, but with a host of additional features to let dogs travel safely and in style.
To identify which features dog-owners wanted most, Nissan went straight to the source: it asked 401 current dog-owners from across the U.S. what they'd like to see in a pet-friendly crossover.
What were the results? According to Nissan, the top vote-getter was a clip-in harness hook, which 81 percent of respondents sat up and begged for. A non-spill water dispenser came in a respectable second, with 74 percent saying that they'd sit, stay, and heel for such a feature. And 55 percent of survey participants said that they'd roll over for a slide-away dog ramp.
The Rogue Dogue includes all those and more dog-friendly touches, including:
- Easy-to-clean surfaces
- A removable, custom dog bed positioned in the rear cargo area
- Built-in, fold-down, non-spill food and water dispensers
- A built-in, slide-away dog ramp just above the rear bumper
- A built-in storage compartment for first aid kits and other necessities
- Heated air vents for the cargo area
- A removable pet partition between the second row seats and the cargo area
- A second-row hammock, for folks who like to keep their dogs further forward
Among the Rogue Dogue's more unique features are a 360-degree dog shower and a built-in dog-drying system. (Check the video above for a look at that.)
The concept also boasts side-view mirror cams that can capture images of your pup having the time of her life with her head hanging out the window. (You already know that's a big no-no, but half of you are probably going to do it anyway.) After the trip, you can share your videos with friends.
Will the Nissan Rogue Dogue concept ever see the light of day? That's impossible to say, but at least 75 percent of participants in Nissan's survey said that dog-friendly options would have a direct influence on their next car purchase.
In other words, the Dogue itself might not appear in showrooms anytime soon, but we wouldn't be surprised if Nissan began offering a Dogue-ish premium package for pet-owners in the not-too-distant future.