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New Subaru Forester Has The Most Usable Cargo Room Of Any Compact SUV

Total cubic feet doesn’t tell the whole story about a vehicle's cargo volume. See why the 2020 Subaru Forester has the most usable cargo room of any compact SUV.


Compact SUV shoppers need a vehicle that will carry sports equipment, luggage, and cargo but it’s more than just cubic feet. Automakers tout the total cubes and say they have the most, but that doesn’t mean the SUV is the best. According to a new study from Consumer Reports, some compact SUVs have narrow, short, or oddly shaped rear hatch openings and they don’t have the most usable space.

Consumer Reports measured not just total cubic feet, but the volume enclosed by the SUVs rear box that gives consumers a better idea of the cargo you can fit in the back and still get the hatch door closed. The newly-redesigned 2020 Subaru Forester scores the lowest cost to own and also the best of any compact SUV in its total cargo volume and its usable cargo-carrying ability.

2020 Subaru Forester2020 Subaru Forester has the most usable cargo volume

CR says, “We measured the Forester's generous cargo space at 36.5 cubic feet. It's easy to load items in back, thanks to the low lift-over and wide opening. It can accommodate bulky items, including a bike with both wheels attached, when the rear seatbacks are folded down.”

Next on the list is the Honda CR-V with a usable 36.0 cubic feet, Volvo XC60 (34.0 cubic feet), Volkswagen Tiguan (33.0 cubic feet), Mitsubishi Outlander (32.5 cubic feet), Chevrolet Equinox (32.0 cubic feet), and Honda HR-V (32.0 cubic feet).

2020 Subaru Forester2020 Subaru Forester has a tall, wide rear hatch opening

An interesting survey, conducted by Kelton Global on behalf of Mazda, of Millennials (aged 23-38) with active lifestyles, say their favorite thing to do with their free time is to take a road trip with their compact SUV. The recent survey revealed more than three-quarters (76 percent) of drivers have experienced difficulties trying to fit what they want to bring along into their vehicle.

Cargo space is a problem

Many respondents have had issues with cargo space, saying the top items they wish they had enough room for include camping or sporting equipment (63 percent), luggage (46 percent), and even space to take their pets on road trips (29 percent). Ten percent even said they missed out on a road trip because they didn’t have enough space for all their gear.

Subaru touts the Forester as a “go-anywhere” compact SUV for those with active lifestyles. This shows the 2020 Subaru Forester is the best for fitting all your gear in the back and offers the most usable cargo volume of any compact SUV.

You Might Also Like: All-New Subaru Outback Is No Longer The Hottest Model, Forester Is

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Keith S (not verified)    February 9, 2020 - 10:50PM

Of course the Forester has more cargo room. It IS bigger. As a 2015 owner, I'm priced out of a new Forester. I'm happy to stick with what I have b

HW (not verified)    February 10, 2020 - 11:12AM

Forester is smaller than Tiguan and narrower than CRV. It's how Subaru packages the vehicle, the boxy shape is more space efficient and the tailgate glass is less sloped than many others, allowing for longer cargo to fit.