We’ve taken the five of the best selling small, mid and large SUVs of 2017 and compared their backsides to see which has the biggest booty.
How boots are measured
Boot space unfortunately is not measured in dimensions; it’s either litres, or the cubic-foot measurement equivalent of a litre (VDA). This does not help if you need to fit a 2.0-metre-long Ikea flatpack or a couple of chairs, and also does not take into account a narrower space, wheel arches eating in to the cargo area, or how high one can stack one’s stuff. So when car-hunting, be aware of what you will be carrying, and have a tape measure handy to ensure the boot accommodates your needs.
Seats up - 437L | Seats down - 1462L
The Honda HR-V was one of the original small SUVs, and its old boxy shape had a big square boot for stacking your stuff. The current-model, slicker and much curvier HR-V manages to keep that practical back end without the boxiness, boasting 437 litres; one of the largest in this class.
Seats up - 430L | Seats down - 1585L
The Qashqai features storage compartment under the boot floor for bits and bobs to bring storage to near class-leading size. The exterior design is deceptive for the boot is quite cavernous, and the tailgate opens higher than the old model too, making it even easier to use.
Seats up - 393L | Seats down - 1193L man/1143L auto
The new ASX has a sleeker look, but hides a big, boxy boot with a large opening for access. The boot does have some awkward bulges near the wheel arches that eats into the physical boot space ever so slightly; if you need a certain width in the cargo area, take a tape measure with you to the showroom. With the second row seats down the capacity varies between the manual and automatic versions, but each will accommodate an object up 147.5cm long.
Seats up - 361L | Seats down - 1143L
With the second row seats upright, the Kona’s cargo bay holds 361-litres with cover in place, which is about the average size for a small SUV. With the second-row seats folded down capacity is 1143 litres. The rear opening is nice and wide to help with loading bulky objects.
Seats up - 310L | Seats down – 765L
The XV has a surprisingly small boot on paper; though the floor hides a full-size spare instead of a can of goo, and its low floor makes it easy to load and unload. Perhaps the short step up to a Forester was reason enough to keep the XV as compact as possible, and those wanting more space can make the upgrade. But to put things in perspective, there is an extra 35 litres in the Impreza hatchback’s boot. If you are buying or upgrading to an SUV to have more carrying space, this may not suit your needs.
Seats up - 264L | Seats down - 1174L
The CX-3 certainly lives up to its compact SUV tag when it comes storage space. An excellent car with a dynamic drivetrain and easy affordability and servicing, its boot space has come off second-best to the second row of seats. It may be roomy for the human occupants, but its cargo volume is comparable to a lite hatch at 264 litres. The seats do split-fold to open the area up to almost 1200L, but if you need to carry two kids or a dog with a weekend’s luggage, you may be investing in roof racks.
Other small SUVs (seats up)
- Ford EcoSport - 346L
- Holden Trax - 356L
- Jeep Compass - 438L
- Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross - 341L
- Toyota C-HR - 377L
Seats up - 577L (506L - with full-size spare) | Seats down - 1666L
Toyota has always been big on the storage solutions, and the RAV4 is no exception. Despite the newer generation moving from a swing-out tailgate with spare wheel on the back to the more conventional swing-up tailgate hiding the (optional cost) full spare in the boot floor, the cargo area is still near class-leading at 577L, or 506L with the spare tyre. It also gets a cargo net and blind as standard.
Seats up 565L (135L 3 rows) | Seats down – 945 (825L 7 seater)
The X-Trail has been popular for its pure practicality, and the back end does not disappoint. While it has a narrow 135L of storage behind the third row of seats – to be expected in the medium class – there is capacious and stackable storage at 565L with just the five seats. Fold all flat, and the space is close to 2000L. Storage drawers under the floor are particularly handy for messy or fiddly gear, and a sweet ‘Divide ’n’ Hide’ stackable storage system for the five-seaters lets you partition the boot for multiple items.
Seats up - 488L | Seats down - 1478L
The current Tucson is a far cry from the old, mid-2000s, barely mid-sized SUV that used to wear the badge. All Tucson’s come with a full-size spare tyre which eats into capacity, though it’s just 18-litres shy of RAV4 with a proper spare
Seats up 477L (128L 3 rows)| Seats down - 1608L
The Mitsubishi Outlander is another medium SUV that manages to fit seven seats in the back, though, unlike the X-Trail, it has a pretty tight boot to begin with. In five-seat mode it’s tighter than the Tucson but pips that Hyundai with all seats folded down.
Seats up - 442L | Seats down - 1342L
The second-generation CX-5 saw an increase in cargo space, but it’s still below par compared to its main rivals. With the seats up, the boot is narrow buy it does have a tri-fold second row so families with two car seats can still stow all the skis.
Other medium SUVs (seats up)
- Ford Escape - 406L
- Holden Equinox - 846L
- Kia Sportage - 446L
- Renault Koleos - 458L
- Subaru Forester - 422L
- Volkswagen Tiguan - 615L
Seats up - 480L (120L - 3 rows) | Seats down – 1833L
The best seller with the biggest boot to boot. The Prado has all the hallmark advantages of a Toyota 4x4 – ability, reliability, affordable runningcosts, storage absolutely everywhere – without the enormous exterior dimensions (or price tag) of the full-blown LandCruiser Series.
Seats up – 5476L | (130L 3 rows) Seats down – 1647L
Boot space in the new 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe holds more than the previous model. With all seven seats in use there is only 130 litres of boot space, which is less than a third of most small hatchbacks, but there is some additional space under the floor for small items. The 50-50 split-fold third row retracts into the floor, to create a broad, flat luggage space, while the middle row seats split-fold in a 40-20-40 configuration, which is great for flexibility.
Seats up – 529L (195L - 3 rows) | Seats down – 1872L
The latest Kluger has even more room than before thanks to a more compact rear suspension, boasting 529L even with a third row of seats and a full-sized spare under the floor. With the third row in place, the boot still packs a respectable 195L, so the school bags can be stacked and stowed.
Seats up – 512L | Seats down – 1801L
More a crossover than an SUV, the Outback offers the best of both worlds with a wagon boot and the high ride height and approach/departure angles of SUVs. The latest update saw it increase in length and width to offer even more second-row and boot space – though you would need to check the interior height of the boot if bulky items are to be carried.
Seats up – 465L (85L - 3 rows) | Seats down – 1565L
Super-affordable for the larger family and for those not quite ready for a van, the Captiva 7 offers flexible seating and a decent boot – when in five-seat mode. The boot is half the size of a super-mini with all seven seats in play, so unless the third row is for occasional use, you will practically need a trailer on the back to transport the kids and all of their paraphernalia.
Other large SUVs (seats up, 3 rows/2 rows)
- Isuzu MU-X - 235L/879L
- Kia Sorento - 142L/605L
- Mazda CX-8 - 209L/742L
- Mazda CX-9 - 230L/810L
- Mitsubishi Pajero Sport - 131L/673L