These 3 Hatchbacks Offer the Most Real-World Cargo Space

Most people choose a hatchback for its cargo space capabilities. You get the versatility of a crossover with the fuel economy of a compact, and typically a cheaper price tag, too. You can make easy trips to IKEA and still enjoy affordable monthly payments. But, if you think you’re getting the most storage by buying a hatchback, you might be being fooled about your car’s cargo space

Here are three hatchbacks with the most usable storage space, as measured by Cars.com

3. The 2021 Toyota Prius has 13.1 cu. ft. of cargo space

Red 2021 Toyota Prius, a hatchback with the most usable cargo space
2021 Toyota Prius | Toyota

It’s a classic. The Prius is the most fuel-efficient 2021 hatchback with the most cargo space, making it a double threat in the world of convenient cars. It offers 13.1 cubic feet of real-world trunk space behind the rear seats and more with the seats folded flat. The 2021 Prius also boasts up to 58 mpg in the city, and a used model should run you less than $24,000.

2. The 2021 Mazda3 hatchback has 13.1 cu. ft. of trunk space

The 2021 Mazda3 Premium is one of the more stylish hatchbacks with the most cargo space. This “Zoom-Zoom” five-door compact offers up to 13.1 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats, and it looks good doing it. Along with good trunk space, the 2021 Mazda3 also offers up to 227 horsepower and 36 mpg on the highway.

1: The 2021 Honda Civic hatchback has 16.5 cu. ft. of cargo space

Rear hatch area of a 2021 Honda Civic Sport Touring Hatchback
2021 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring | Honda

Is a hatchback’s trunk bigger than a sedan? You would assume so, but Honda’s compact complicates things when measuring real-world, usable trunk space. The Civic sedan is one of the best small cars with the most cargo space and actually offers slightly more real-world trunk space than the hatchback model. The Civic Sport Touring provides 16.5 cubic feet of cargo room and the Civic sedan offers 18.8 cubic feet. But for total storage area, either Civic is still a better choice than the Mazda3.

How Cars.com measures cargo space

Do hatchbacks have more cargo space? Not necessarily. Cars.com reports that manufacturer specs can often be inconsistent with real-world usage because automakers often measure storage space in hatchbacks and SUVs by the maximum amount of space that a driver could fill with items.  

However, in practice, we tend not to pack our cars as full as possible because it impairs visibility. Cars.com doesn’t specify how they hand-measure hatchbacks for cargo space, but it mentions measuring only for usable storage space that would still allow a driver to see out the back windshield. 

For this reason, Cars.com’s measurements are likely to be different than the manufacturer’s specs, possibly by a significant amount. When looking for a hatchback with the most cargo space, don’t compare apples to oranges by looking at the automaker and by-hand measurements. It’s OK to use a vehicle’s spec sheet to compare numbers, knowing that they may be a little off of real-world usability.

RELATED: 2022 Honda Civic Sport vs. Civic Sport Touring: What are the Differences?