While many aspects of car design can seem commoditized, storage space is one place where automakers can still get creative. These extra spots to put your stuff can make a big difference in your daily driving.
Besides the typical places like a glove compartment, some vehicles have modular cargo areas that can fold and transform into new shapes. Others have hidden compartments or storage hooks that are kept out of sight until you need them.
Edmunds’ experts scoured the new vehicle market to find five examples that aim to make life easier. Whether you’re regularly hauling heavy cargo or simply need to secure small items, these vehicles are instances of automakers handling storage the right way. All prices below include the destination charge.
2020 CHEVROLET TRAVERSE
By any metric, the Chevrolet Traverse is a standout three-row SUV when it comes to storage. The Traverse has class-leading cargo space and an underfloor compartment for additional items. But its most interesting feature is a clever way for front passengers to secure valuables.
Models equipped with the 8-inch touchscreen, which is standard on higher trims, also have a button that, when pressed, automatically raises the screen to reveal a hidden cubby behind it. The space is perfect for wallets, jewelry or anything else you want out of sight. The car needs to be on for it to open, further enhancing security. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $30,995.
2020 CHRYSLER PACIFICA
Minivans are a jack-of-all-trades for utility. The Chrysler Pacifica is a great example. In addition to having plenty of cargo space and small-item storage, you also get Stow ‘n Go seating in the second and third rows. It’s unique to Chrysler and Dodge minivans.
Stow ‘n Go allows those seats to fold down all the way into the underfloor, creating a fully flat floor behind the front two seats. Other minivans offer cavernous space too, but you have to manually remove the cumbersome seats. With Stow ‘n Go, they drop into the floor with a few twists and turns. When the seats are in their usual position, those underfloor spaces can be used for storage. Starting MSRP: $35,540.
2020 HONDA RIDGELINE
The Honda Ridgeline has been Edmunds’ top-rated midsize pickup truck since its debut four years ago. One of the main reasons is its sensible approach to common problems. For instance, how do you create lockable storage in a pickup without losing space in the bed?
Honda answered that question by building a secure trunk into the floor of the truck bed. This trunk has 7.3 cubic feet of space, which is enough to hold a golf bag. You can also fill the trunk with ice and drinks for tailgate parties. When the party’s over, you can simply pull out a plug to drain the water. Starting MSRP: $35,020.
2020 RAM 1500
When it comes to full-size trucks, the Ram 1500 crew cab and its heavy-duty variants are the reigning kings of clever storage. The model that debuted in 2018 comes standard with a center console that’s both spacious and configurable. You can add or remove dividers, slide cupholders around, or open and close doors to create as much space as you need. Two glove boxes add even more space for small items.
The optional RamBins are storage compartments built into the rear floor. Hidden under floor mats, they are good for holding tools or even a hitch receiver. The Ram 1500′s rear seat bottoms also fold up to reveal additional space on the floor, where there are hooks and tie-downs for securing goods. You can also get Ram trucks with lockable bins built into the bed sides, called RamBox. They can hold up to 150 pounds of gear and even long items such as fishing rods or decent-size shovels. Starting MSRP: $33,840.
2020 VOLVO XC40
Subcompact crossovers aren’t known for being spacious. And, indeed, the Volvo XC40 is not among the leaders in its class when it comes to cargo room. But the XC40 makes the most of what it has, using a number of clever add-ons to maximize usable space.
For instance, there is a small hook hanging from the glove compartment to hang bags, purses or groceries securely. Volvo also added a small trash bin to the center console, which can be removed when it needs to be emptied. In the rear, the load floor folds up, turning hinges into more hooks and revealing extra storage underneath. It’s a small package, but the XC40 packs a number of surprises inside. Starting MSRP: $35,340.
EDMUNDS SAYS: Cargo capacity is just one way to measure the everyday usefulness of a vehicle. Thoughtful storage space is just as important. Take a moment to poke around any vehicle you’re considering to ensure it can safely fit your regular items and goods as well as your lifestyle.