I just sold my Escape hybrid - without a doubt the nicest vehicle I will ever own. Thursday, I'm taking delivery of a Ranger 4x4 pickup. I've given up extraordinary gas mileage, and a real backseat, in favor of enhanced towing and hauling capacity and 4wd.
It has the extended cab, which allows two small and tolerant passengers to ride in the back as long they don't care about comfort. My dogs are neither small nor tolerant so, weather permitting, I expect they will ride in the open bed. I'll have a roll-up tonneau cover and don't expect I'll be installing a cap.
My wife still has the dogmobile -a 1997 Honda Odessey with 260,000 miles, which she refuses to part with because it's ideal for hauling dogs. She hauls them all over the place. But they need to be able to ride in my truck.
So I'm looking for options. I want them to be safe but I also want them to enjoy the ride. I'm sure many of you will have some ideas, possibly including some I haven't thought of. I'd prefer not to make any modifications to the truck that will limit it's utility for it's non-dog responsibilities.