Small doesn’t have to mean skimping on cargo volume if you check out these Best Small SUVs with Most Cargo Space:

  • Toyota RAV4Hands down, the 2010 Toyota RAV4 compact SUV boasts the largest cargo capacity in the class – 73.0 cubic feet of volume behind the front seats. Behind the middle seat (without the optional 3rd row), is 36.4 cubic feet.  Best bet: Ditch the 3rd seat, which only has 12.3 cubic feet of volume behind it and is suitable only for a child. Seats fold flat into the floor, a good feature, but the side-opening rear door may be cumbersome in tight spots. Edmunds remarks: “To configure the RAV4 for cargo, all you need to do is flip a lever. There is no need to remove headrests or fold up seat cushions to get a flat load floor that can hold a maximum of 73 cubic feet of cargo. This is bigger than several other midsize SUVs. The load floor is also low for this class, which minimizes the strain of loading a week’s worth of groceries.”
  • Mitsubishi OutlanderThe only other compact SUV to offer an optional 3rd row seat, the redesigned 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander is close behind the RAV4 in terms of cargo volume: 72.6 cubic feet behind the front seats. Consumer Guide notes: “Space is surprisingly good behind the 3rd-row seat in the XLS and GT. 2nd-row seats fold easily. The 2nd row is split 60/40 and it folds forward to create a flat load floor. The 3rd-row seat is difficult and tedious to deploy and stow, but creates a flat load floor when stowed. Outlander’s liftgate is comprised of a clamshell design that creates a handy drop-down tailgate section that can hold up to 400 pounds. Access to the cargo area is easy even with the drop-down part of the tailgate raised.”
  • Honda CR-VThe 5-passenger Honda CR-V provides 72.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity with rear seat folded, and 35.7 cubic feet of volume with it up. CR-V’s easy-to-use rear hatch is an advantage over the RAV4’s rear door that has to swing sideways. Seats also tumble forward in 3 sections, making flexibility a strong selling point. Consumer Guide gives CR-V a Best Buy nod and says: “With the rear seats up, cargo space is generous. The rear seats fold in a 40/20/40 configuration for added flexibility. They also fold and tumble forward in a 60/40 split, but in this arrangement, the seat must be held in place with an inconvenient clip.”
  • Subaru ForesterNo slouch when it comes to cargo capacity, the 2010 Subaru Forester has  68.3 cubic feet of storage with rear seats folded and 33.5 cubic feet  with the 60/40-split rear seatback raised. Forester also features a long cargo floor and the vehicle is not too far off the ground, making loading and unloading items easier. Edmunds comments: “The Forester is one of the most spacious vehicles in the segment, comparing favorably with the RAV4, CR-V, and Mitsubishi Outlander, all of which bridge the gap between compact and midsize SUVs. Like all Subaru models, Forester comes with standard all-wheel drive.

Also check out Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, Mazda Tribute, Hyundai Tucson, and Kia Sportage.

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