Cars to Conquer Costco and Ikea Shopping Sprees
These days, when people are looking for something practical for the family or for hauling insane amounts of gear and groceries, the default choice is a crossover, a minivan, or an SUV. However, some cars can match and sometimes even out-haul crossovers. Although hatchbacks, wagons, and sedans aren’t created equal, a select few excel at practicality without sacrificing style, performance, luxury, and fuel economy. Here are 15 cars currently on sale that can haul the flat-pack furniture you bought at Ikea without breaking a sweat.
Practicality remains the Honda Fit’s forte because of its large interior. Honda’s slick Magic Seats can be configured in Tall mode for items up to 4 feet in height, Long mode for your surfboard, and Utility mode for a maximum capacity of 52.7 cubic feet with the split-folding second row down. Finally, if you have nowhere to crash after a long night out, the Fit has you covered with a Refresh mode configuration that lets you relax, stretch your legs and unwind by removing the front passenger head restraint and folding the seat back down.
The 500L’s unusual exterior design and odd driving position might turn away some buyers, but if practicality and quirkiness are your priorities, then this tall hatchback is for you. Inside there’s a second row with split-folding seatbacks that can tumble forward, as well as a false floor that gives the car plenty of flexibility and a maximum cargo capacity of 68 cubic feet. The little Italian’s tall greenhouse and low lift-over height make loading and unloading easy, and tall, upright items won’t get squished.
Tesla Model S
Despite the fact that it looks like a sedan, the Tesla Model S is secretly a hatchback with a 5.3-cubic-foot front trunk (frunk) and a 26.3-cubic-foot cargo area behind the second row that expands to 58.1 feet. Combined, the front and rear cargo areas make the Model S extremely practical, with space that can rival crossovers and wagons.
In the compact class, few cars can rival the amount of space available in the Kia Forte5, which has up to 56.4 cubic feet of cargo volume with the split-folding rear seats down. The flat cargo area means there’s usable space for hauling everything from Ikea furniture to luggage and large shipping boxes.
Motor Trend‘s 2015 Car of the Year is a multitalented compact hatchback that offers fuel efficiency, driving fun, and practicality. All Golf models are flexible and family friendly, featuring split-folding rear seats than can expand the 22.8-cubic-foot cargo area to a generous 52.7 cubic feet. This makes the Golf a great choice for enthusiasts who want an affordable and fun-to-drive hatch that can haul Ikea furniture or take the family on extended road trips.
Among large sedans, no other entry can touch the Chevrolet Impala and its 18.8-cubic-foot trunk when it comes to being big box-friendly. Combine that with standard 60/40 split-folding rear seats, and what you have is a sedan that can take the family and their belongings on vacation or haul multiple golf bags to the country club with ease.
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
If the Golf hatchback doesn’t have enough space, Volkswagen also sells the Golf SportWagen, which has a 30.4-cubic-foot cargo area that’s expandable to 66.5 cubic feet with the split-folding rear seats down. All that extra space means the Golf SportWagen offers more space than some compact crossovers, proving that wagons are still relevant, especially to those who value fuel economy and great handling. In 2016, Volkswagen will add the four-wheel-drive-equipped Golf SportWagen AllTrack, which has more than 0.5 inch of extra ground clearance and body cladding to make it look rugged.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon
There isn’t much choice left among midsize luxury wagons; the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the only one available unless you consider the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo one. Offering up to 57.4 cubic feet of cargo volume with the split-folding rear seats down, the E-Class wagon has a cavernous interior that can hold an array of items, from baby strollers and luggage to furniture, making it an ideal luxury hauler. For those that want a cargo hauler that also hauls on the race track or a winding road, consider the E63 AMG S wagon and its 577 hp of twin-turbocharged V-8 fury.
Ford C-Max Hybrid
Hybrid powertrains usually eat up cargo space in most cars, but in the case of the Ford C-Max, the non-plug-in variant provides plenty of room even though the lithium-ion battery raises the floor behind the rear seats a little. Featuring a 24.5-cubic-foot cargo area that’s expandable to 52.6 cubic feet, the C-Max is a flexible and versatile choice that can haul generous amounts of shopping, groceries, and large flat-pack boxes without sacrificing fuel efficiency.
BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon
The BMW 3 Series and the Volvo V60 are the only compact luxury wagons available. However, the 3 Series wagon is surprisingly more spacious with 17.3-cubic-foot cargo area that expands to 53 cubic feet, enabling it to haul more stuff and out-Volvo the sexy Swede. Additionally, its engaging driving dynamics make it a great all-around vehicle, possessing enjoyable driving dynamics without sacrificing practicality.
Nissan Versa Note
Even though it’s smaller than the old Nissan Versa hatchback, the Versa Note remains one of the more practical affordable subcompacts on sale. When the split-folding rear seats are down, cargo space increases from 18.8 cubic feet to 38.3, which is more than enough to turn the car into a mini moving van. The upright greenhouse helps ensure that there’s plenty of usable space for gear, shopping, groceries, and large boxes.
Hyundai Elantra GT
The Hyundai Elantra GT is not a hot hatch, but a practical runabout with a 23-cubic-foot cargo area that expands to 51 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The flat cargo floor means that the Elantra GT is as useful as it is stylish, making it a great choice for hauling all kinds of items from bikes to oversized luggage and even fully assembled chests of drawers.
Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback
Exterior dimension are deceiving at times because they don’t really say much about a car’s practicality. Despite its small footprint, the subcompact Chevrolet Sonic hatchback has plenty of space with a 19-cubic-foot cargo area that’s expandable to 47.7 cubic feet. In its class, the Sonic is one of the most versatile vehicles thanks to its flat cargo floor, enabling it to carry everything from bikes to drum sets and amps.
Subaru Impreza Hatchback
The Subaru Impreza hatchback is essentially the Forester of the compact car class — safe, reliable, and extremely practical. When the split-folding rear seats are down, cargo volume grows from 22.5 cubic feet to 52.4 cubic feet, making it one of the roomiest in the compact class. The Impreza hatch is great choice for adventure-seekers because it has plenty of space for hauling camping gear, bicycles, or a small kayak.
Toyota Prius V
If the Toyota Prius hatchback’s 39.6-cubic-foot maximum cargo capacity isn’t enough for you, the Prius V offers 34.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 67.3 cubic feet with the second row folded. The amount of space available makes the Prius V a great alternative to a crossover, and it also comes with better fuel economy. If you’ve got your mind set on a Prius but need space for your shopping sprees at Target and Costco, the Prius V is one to consider.