With dozens of manufacturers and hundreds of different models available, choosing a car can be a challenge. Whilst affordability, quality and reliability should be key considerations, it’s also important to make sure that your new ride can meet all of your everyday needs, and some of the less everyday, like trips to the tip or loading up with luggage.
Checking there’s enough space for the family or that the boot can fit your beloved Spaniel are obvious considerations, but what about Christmas trees and shopping sprees? Is your boot big enough to fit all of those things you never knew you needed on your trip to Ikea? Is getting the tree home like a scene from National Lampoons Christmas Vacation?
Don’t worry, if you’re not sure where to start we’ve got a few handy tips to help you choose. Plus we’ve picked out five cars of different sizes and specs. So, whether you’re looking for a hatchback or an SUV, diesel or electric, we’ve got suggestions to make sure you can carry the extra load.
What to look out for?
- Style - hatchbacks and estate cars make carrying a lot of kit much easier. There are saloon cars with large boots, the Mercedes E Class and Audi A6 are good examples, but that might not help when you have a long package or a tree that needs to stretch from the boot to the back.
- Boot space - how big is the boot in litres, and what shape and height is it?
- Boot opening - how easy is it to get your shopping in and out? Look for a wide boot opening and a low load lip.
- Fold-down seats - do all of the back seats fold down and do they lie flat? What about the front seats, does the passenger one fold down too? Look for terms like 60:40 which means you can fold down all of the seat, 60% of the seat or 40% of the seat. This is really handy for those times when you need to fold down part of the back seat to carry your shopping and still have space to carry a passenger.
Our top 5 can help with the load
With a decent 514litres of boot space and 60:40 seats this midsized, crossover SUV is a great choice. With a standard spec that matches the mid-level spec of many rivals it comes with lane departure warning and rear parking sensors. There’s plenty of room inside for adults and quick release levers next to the boot opening make it easy to get the backrests down. Plus, once down, they lie completely flat as long as you have the adjustable boot floor (‘Flex Floor’) in its highest setting.
This great compact SUV is bigger than many in its class including the Volkswagen Tiguan, Audi Q3 or Seat Ateca, providing lots of leg room and head height for passengers travelling in the front and back. It offers 555 litres of boot space, more than the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3, that goes up to 1,752 litres with the seats down – enough to carry around seven carry on cases
3) Skoda Scala
If a hatchback is more your style you won’t go far wrong with the Skoda Scala. Voted, What Car? Family Car of the Year 2020, this model is longer with more boot space than the Golf at 467 Litres with the seats up and 1,410 Litres when folded down.
Considering the move to electric? The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid offers plenty of space for a car of its class. Longer than the e-Golf and the Nissan Leaf it offers plenty of space for passengers and a decent sized boot. At 357 litres you can easily fit in five carry on cases and the size increase to 1,417 litres with the seats down and the handy illuminated luggage compartment helps with those late night shopping sprees!
For style and size, the Audi A6 Estate is a great choice. With a useful square-shaped boot of 565 litres, it offers a little more space than the Volvo V90. Plus it has a 40:20:40 rear seat configuration, so you can carry long, thin items between two rear passengers.
Carry it right
If your new car won’t arrive in time for the next big trip, make sure you stay on the right side of the law. The Highway Code states that you mustn’t overload your car, you must secure things properly and mustn’t have anything sticking out dangerously. There are big fines and three penalty points for anyone found breaking the rules so if your current car isn’t big enough, it’s worth considering letting home delivery take the load!
If the challenges of the season have got you considering a change, take a look at the wide range of deals we have available on cars covering every size and shape.