Subcompact cars might not be the first on your list when it comes time to haul cargo from point A to point B, but a significant portion of small hatchback owners regularly fold down the back seats and stuff their vehicles to the brim to take full advantage of the extra space they offer over sedans. Subcompact cars are often the Swiss Army knives of the automotive world, frequently asked to go above and beyond the call of duty and carry home far more stuff than it looks like they were ever designed to transport.
Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best subcompact cars for hauling cargo.
10 Best Subcompact Cars For Hauling Cargo - 01 - 2014 Hyundai Accent
The 2014 Hyundai Accent hatchback is a very affordable subcompact car, starting at an MSRP of $14,985 for the five-door model. Although it might not look it from the outside the Hyundai Accent five-door starts out with 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seat, which is roughly equivalent to the trunk of a full-size sedan. Fold the rear seat forward, however, and a hefty 47.5 cubic feet of total cargo space suddenly becomes available, a figure which brushes up against the compact crossover space in terms of practicality.
10 Best Subcompact Cars For Hauling Cargo - 02 - 2014 Honda Fit
The 2014 Honda Fit maintain the subcompact car's reputation for versatility, a trait that's built largely on the brand's 'Magic Seat' feature. The Honda Fit's back seat - the 'Magic' one - can be folded forward, can have its bottom flipped up, and also features a storage compartment under the seat bottom, which sets it apart from most of its small car rivals. It's possible to hold eight-foot items inside the Fit by also folding flat the car's front passenger bucket. In total, the Honda offers 57.3 cubic feet of total cargo space inside its gullet, which is tops amongst subcompact hatchbacks.
10 Best Subcompact Cars For Hauling Cargo - 03 - 2014 Chevrolet Sonic
The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is offered in both hatchback and sedan editions, but it's the five door model that interests us most - and not just because it can be ordered in sport RS trim. The Chevrolet Sonic caught our eye because its squared-off cargo are offers much more room than any previous subcompact hatch from the Bowtie-wearing brand. The Sonic features 17 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats raised, but with those same accommodations out of the picture the Chevrolet's cargo area expands to a very useful 30.9 cubic feet.
10 Best Subcompact Cars For Hauling Cargo - 04 - 2014 Ford Fiesta
The 2014 Ford Fiesta is another five-door, subcompact hatchback that is known more for its driving experience than its practical nature. The Ford Fiesta's chassis is definitely more rewarding than that of many of its peers, but that doesn't mean one should overlook the vehicle's ability to schlep cargo from one side of town to the other. The Fiesta offers 12.8 cubic feet of internal storage between the hatch and the rear seatback, and tipping the seat forward more than doubles the amount of room to 26 cubic feet. This is true even of the high performance Ford Fiesta ST model.
10 Best Subcompact Cars For Hauling Cargo - 05 - 2014 MINI Cooper Clubman
The 2014 MINI Cooper Clubman is a bit of a 'ringer' on our list of the 10 best subcompact cars for hauling cargo. The MINI Cooper Clubman is the wagon edition of the popular Cooper hatchback, and while its sibling is tiny in every dimension, the Cooper Clubman pushes out the rear of the vehicle to improve its day-to-day usability. The MINI's 'trunk' still finds itself checking in at smaller than most of its competitors (9.2 cubic feet), but folding down the Cooper Clubman's rear seats opens up 32.8 cubic feet of available cargo space. Throw in the wagon's split rear doors, and loading up the Clubman is a cinch.
10 Best Subcompact Cars For Hauling Cargo - 06 - 2014 Kia Rio
The 2014 Kia Rio is in many ways the platform twin of the Hyundai Accent, although it features more a style-first approach to the subcompact segment. The hatchback edition of the Kia Rio is the one with the biggest emphasis on utility, as evidenced by its slightly larger cargo capacity when compared to the Accent (49.8 cubic feet in total). That small advantage in packaging isn't much, but it's right up near the Honda Fit in terms of overall interior volume, and it's considerably larger from a cargo perspective than most of its domestic competitors.
10 Best Subcompact Cars For Hauling Cargo - 07 - 2014 Mazda MAZDA2
The 2014 Mazda Mazda2 is a subcompact hatchback that, like the Ford Fiesta, benefits from extra attention having been paid to its chassis. Nimble and responsive, the Mazda MAZDA2 isn't all that large inside, but it does feature a useful cargo area for budget buyers seeking flex space in their affordable daily driver. Initially, the MAZDA2 provides 13.3 cubic feet of trunk room, which is more than enough for a trip to the grocery store, but if you hope to carry more than a single overnight bag back there, you are going to have to fold down the rear seat and take advantage of the car's 27.8 cubic feet of total cargo space.
10 Best Subcompact Cars For Hauling Cargo - 08 - 2014 Scion xD
The 2014 Scion xD isn't often held up as an example of subcompact car practicality, but this unsung small hatchback does a decent job when it comes time to haul gear rather than people. The Scion xD is a value-focused offering, coming in a single trim level only, and that means that all buyers enjoy pretty much the same basic layout and feature set inside the car. Included in this is the Scion's 35.7 cubic feet of total storage space with the rear seat folded forward - more than the Fiesta and the MAZDA2, but less than class leaders like the Fit and the Rio.
10 Best Subcompact Cars For Hauling Cargo - 09 - 2014 Nissan Versa Note
The 2014 Nissan Versa Note is the all-new version of the Versa hatchback, and the vehicle has already gained notoriety for offering one of the largest passenger compartments amongst subcompact cars. The Nissan Versa Note might have huge rear seat with lots of headroom, but it's more of a middle-of-the-pack performer when it comes to cargo hauling. Folding down the rear seat of the Versa Note reveals 38.3 cubic feet of total space - a good amount, to be sure, but not challenging for the lead in its category (and roughly double what you would get in a large sedan).
10 Best Subcompact Cars For Hauling Cargo - 10 - 2014 Toyota Yaris
The 2014 Toyota Yaris is a subcompact car that can be had in both two-door and five-door hatchback body styles. Both versions of the Toyota Yaris enjoy the roughly the same amount of total cargo space, which comes out to 15.3 cubic feet of space between the rear seat and the hatch itself. Fold down that back seat and you'll get another 10 or so cubic feet, for a total of 25.7. The Yaris is a bit on the small side when it comes to the other vehicles on this list, but it's also one of the more popular subcompact hatchbacks due to Toyota's strong brand equity.