2023 Affordable SUV Challenge: Which SUV has the most luggage space?

2023 Affordable SUV Challenge: Which SUV has the most luggage space?

Volkswagen Taos 2023 | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

By Mike Hanley

November 3, 2023

We run a number of different tests for our multi-car comparisons, evaluating things like real-world fuel economy, car seat fitment and acceleration, to name a few. We also measure how much cargo space each test vehicle has because differences in how automakers report cargo volume can make comparing numbers between cars a risky exercise.

Related: What is the best affordable SUV of 2023?

The six SUVs that were part of our recent Affordable SUV Challenge were all smaller, compact models, and there were some significant differences in the amount of cargo space they offer. Here’s how things shook out after we ran all of our measurements:

1. Volkswagen Taos SE 2023: 17.51 ​​cubic feet
2. Kia Seltos SX Turbo 2024: 17.44 cubic feet
3. 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L: 15.48 cubic feet
4. Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid S 2023: 14.85 cubic feet
5. Chevrolet Trax Active 2024: 13.58 cubic feet
6. 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium: 12.69 cubic feet

In our scoring of cargo space, the Taos and Seltos’ cargo areas were so close — the difference was just seven hundredths of a cubic foot — that they tied, each receiving a maximum score of 30 points. So, what gave them the advantage?

The height of their cargo areas played an important role. The Taos and Seltos have traditional SUV exterior styling in contrast to the lower, sleeker profile of the Trax and Crosstrek, the two models with the least luggage space, as measured by Cars.com. The exterior design of the Taos and Seltos carries over to the interior, where the Taos’ cargo area was 25 inches long and the Seltos’ was 22 inches long — 5 inches and 2 inches, respectively, from the longest HR-V’s 20-inch cargo area. The other three SUVs in the comparison test all had 17-inch cargo spaces. The 8-inch difference between the longest and shortest cargo areas was greater than the differences between the widest and narrowest and the deepest and deepest, which were 5 inches in both cases.

If you think 25 inches doesn’t seem too long for the cargo area, that’s because we only measure the top of the rear seatbacks, not all the way up to the interior ceiling. We stop at the seatback because a high, unsecured load stack could pose a safety hazard in the event of an accident.

More from Cars.com:

Cargo space and versatility are traits that draw shoppers to SUVs, and the Taos and Seltos show you can get nearly as much cargo space as some cars Built-in An SUV in a compact model with the right kind of packaging.

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The Cars.com Editorial Department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In keeping with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers do not accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The editorial department is independent of the advertising, sales and sponsored content departments of Cars.com.

Mike Hanley has more than 20 years of experience reporting on the automotive industry. His primary focus is new cars, and he is currently a senior road test editor who oversees expert reviews and comparison tests of cars. He previously managed editorial content for Cars.com’s research department. Email Mike Hanley

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