If massive cargo capacity is a necessity in your new car, then chances are you're looking at the SUV vehicle class. However, these large land yachts don't typically deliver the best gas mileage. As such, it may be worth your while to take a look at a few fuel-thrifty wagons and hatchbacks that deliver above-average interior volume. Below are five new cars that offer all (or most) of the utility of an SUV.
The MAZDA5 is sometimes referred to as a MINI minivan. This status is something Mazda is proud of, as it insinuates plenty of cargo space despite a smaller vehicle frame. Redesigned for the 2012 model year, the MAZDA5 boosts its appeal among the competition. Fuel figures for the new MAZDA5 are listed at 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Maximum seating capacity comes in at six passengers and cargo capacity maxes out at 44.4 cubic feet with the third row of seating folded flat. Base price for the MAZDA5 is $19,195.
In general, the wagon body style serves as a good alternative to the SUV class. One of the most fuel-efficient wagons for the year is the VW Jetta SportWagen. Opt for the diesel-powered model, and you'll be rewarded with 30 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway. Base models start with 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The two rows of seating accommodate up to five passengers. With the rear seat folded down, the Jetta SportWagen manages an impressive 66.9 cubic feet of storage. Initial asking price for a Jetta SportWagen is listed at $19,995.
Yes, the Honda Fit may look small, but these looks can be deceiving. Despite the fact that the 2011 Fit is listed as a compact car, it manages to deliver a maximum of 57.3 cubic feet of storage space. Additionally, Honda's second-row "Magic Seat" provides the versatility to load in extra tall or long items with ease. Fuel figures for the Honda Fit are listed at 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. With a starting price of $15,100, the Honda Fit is also noticeably more affordable than the average SUV.
If the funky style of the Scion xB jibes right with you, then its boxy frame just may prove a good alternative to the traditional SUV. The EPA predicts that you'll earn 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with the xB. These figures hold strong regardless of whether you choose a manual or automatic transmission. In terms of seating, the Scion offers one of the largest rear passenger areas among its class. Fold that backseat down, and you'll have access to a total of 69.9 cubic feet of storage. Base price for the Scion xB comes in at $16,000.
If you're interested in the Honda Fit, then the Toyota Matrix may also be worth a look. The Matrix offers a maximum of 49.9 cubic feet of storage – a figure that is above average for its class. The estimated 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway is also much higher than you can expect from the average SUV. However, the base price of $18,845 may prove too expensive when compared to roomy alternatives like the Honda Fit.