By DAVID THOME
Special to ADAMM
An upfront look at what’s in back
Several sedans offer
ample trunk space
A look at some of today’s most popular and respected used cars
Storage is a big deal, and some sedans have developed big reputations for the generous dimensions of the storage space commonly known as the trunk.
Autobytel.com writer Benjamin Hunting notes that while big cars generally have the biggest trunks, some midsize and small cars “offer gaping cargo holds where one would expect only modest capacity.”
Six 2013 and 2014 models with the largest trunks that rate high on reviewers’ overall rankings include Chrysler 200 and 300, Dodge Charger, Chevrolet Impala and Malibu and Volkswagen Passat.
Experts from EVS Buick GMC Volkswagen in Menomonee Falls, ANDREW Chevrolet in Glendale and EWALD Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Oconomowoc agree that having room for gear in the rear adds value to their appeal as pre-owned vehicles.
They also were popular as lease cars, so if you are looking for a used car with ample trunk space there should be plenty to choose from at local dealerships in the coming months.
• Chrysler 200 and 300/Dodge Charger
“Chrysler wanted to create a bigger cabin with the platform that started with the Dodge Dart in 2013,” said Ewald sales rep Jeff Griffin. “They found that there was plenty of room to make the trunks bigger, too.”
The midsize Chrysler 200 has 16 cubic feet of trunk space, while the full-size 300 and Charger have 16.3 and 16.5, respectively.
The 2014 200 drew high praise from Cars.com consumer reviewers. One said, “I’m 5’6” so this car fits me pretty good. It’s peppy and accelerates excellently.” In two-plus years, he said, he’d logged 30,000 miles with “no repairs necessary.”
Another reviewer called his 200 with a 3.6-liter, cylinder engine “the funnest car I’ve purchased…a car I like to be in.”
One buyer said his 300, with sporty S Package touches, looks hot “without compromising on mileage,” and while the suspension is firm, the ride is not harsh. Another reviewer said the seats provide support to ease his aching back: “The comfort, ride, gas mileage, styling, options…I’ve never been this impressed.”
Kelley Blue Book says recent Chargers fill fans of the original early-1970s muscle cars with envy—and not just because of the cavernous trunk: “Is Charger a family sedan or hot rod? It offers the room, ride comfort and safety features a family requires, with the style and performance the enthusiast wants. You’ll like this car if you need interior room, want get-with-it performance and have a modest budget.” There’s no need to wait for a top-of-the-line Hemi to come on the market, either: The base 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 makes 292 hp.
• Chevrolet Impala/Malibu
Andrew sales rep Abraham Romero said the Impala’s trunk is “pretty big” — an understatement, considering it encompasses 18.8 cubic feet of space. “You can put a ton of groceries in there,” Romero said, “and the back seats fold down with a 60/40 split, which gives you even more space.”
In a KBB.com review, a buyer said he’d “recommend anyone looking for a dependable pre-owned family-size car to consider the Impala.” His 2013 was dependable, and came with the OnStar infotainment system, power driver seat, easy-to-use and comprehensive driver information center and a power trunk release with “a logically located driver-side interior release.”
The reviewer also noted that his Impala got 23 miles per gallon of gas —“not bad for such a large car,” while delivering a “smooth, comfortable, quiet, solid, responsive ride.”
The midsize Malibu, which has 16.3 cubic feet of trunk space, also came with a more refined interior than its predecessors, including titanium and woodgrain embellishments, according to Car and Driver reviewer Andrew Wendler. Models with the Leather Package, he noted, have heated power front seats, a Pioneer nine-speaker sound system, backup camera and auto-dimming rearview mirror.
He noted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rating for a 2014 Malibu with a 2.5-liter engine is 25 mpg city and 36 highway, “nearly the same as the mildly hybridized Malibu Eco’s numbers of 25/37, without the reduced trunk space associated with packaging an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack.”
“Some cars are sporty, but don’t have lots of room,” Romero said. “The Malibu gives you great performance and plenty of room. It’s for everyone.”
• Volkswagen Passat
EVS sales rep mark Woodley said the top three reasons to love Passats from the past few years — in addition to the 15.9 cubic foot trunk — are fuel efficiency (approaching 30 miles per gallon on gas-powered models), overall roominess and performance.
“The suspension makes it responsive,” Woodley said, “but you feel like you’re riding on clouds.”
U.S. News named Passat one of the best cars of 2013, saying it does well in crash tests and has an “upscale” interior. Popular options included Bluetooth, automatic headlights, navigation, rearview cameras, remote start, premium stereos, satellite radio, push-button start, leatherette upholstery and sunroofs.
“The great thing about these cars,” Woodley said, “is that you get the big trunk and lots of room, but you don’t have to give up the performance.”
An upfront look at what’s in back
By DAVID THOME