Demand for larger vehicles continues to grow across the United States, where crossovers, SUVs, and pickup trucks account for nearly 75% of new vehicle sales. One of the biggest selling points is the increased cargo space compared to sedans. However, this is not always the case. Cars’ website accounts show that the Tesla Model S sedan has more cargo space than the compact Toyota RAV4 Hybrid SUV.
Using manufacturer-supplied merchandise numbers paints a different picture. Tesla states that the Model S comes with 28.1 cubic feet of cargo space with all the seats in place. Toyota says the RAV4 Hybrid comes in at 37.6 cubic feet.
However, cars use a different method for measuring cargo space, so the numbers are consistent across all vehicle segments. This method measures the depth, width, and height of the usable cargo area and adds other small areas – or “corners” – outside that area. This measurement does not include maximum space with all seats folded because experts say there are many variables to accurately measure the size.
In general, this means that cars with trunks such as the Tesla Model S often run higher than the manufacturer suggests. The measurements that cars use for anything with a tailgate do not include the area above the back of the rear seat. It is scaled in this way to maintain rear view and prevent cargo from flying around the cabin in the event of an accident. With this said, tailgate cars like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid will have lower road cars numbers than the manufactured ones.
2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Cargo Space
According to Autos Way, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has 20.7 cubic feet of space behind the back seat. The website used the top – limited – to scale. Its calculations show that only five small SUVs have more space than the RAV4 Hybrid: the standard Hyundai Tucson Hybrid and Tucson, the Honda CR-V, and the Tesla Model Y.
This payload space number is better than some midsize SUVs. The RAV4 Hybrid beats the Honda Passport (20.6 cubic feet), Audi Q8 (20.2), Subaru Outback (20.2), and Jeep Grand Cherokee (20.3).
Although it has less cargo space than the Tesla Model S, the Toyota RAV4 is a well-rated crossover. All 2022 models come with at least a 7-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa integration. Each model also comes with Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 driver aids. Systems include adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, lane tracking assist, road sign recognition and forward collision mitigation as standard. TrueCar ranked the RAV4 at number nine on its list of the best compact SUVs, with the RAV4 Prime plug-in a little higher in fifth.
Cargo space for 2022 Tesla Model S.
Cars’ website measurements give the Tesla Model S 20.9 cubic feet of space behind the back seat. The embossed performance trim was used for benchmarking. This is the second largest cargo space of any midsize car, with only the Mercedes-Benz E-Class ranking highest at 21.1 cubic feet. Only the E-Class, Model S, and Kia K5 (20.3 cubic feet) have 20 cubic feet.
By these measurements, the Tesla Model S has as much space as the Model Y and more than 40 SUVs on the auto site’s listings. It is one of the best vehicles for cargo space on the market.
The Model S is Tesla’s flagship and debuted with the 2012 model year. For every car and driver, the Model S ranks second in the market for electric vehicles at 405 miles for the base model. The scaled-down Plaid has a lower range — 348 miles — but makes up for it with 1,020 horsepower.
Effect of car payload space measurements
Many crossovers and SUVs are recommended over sedans because they have more storage space while offering similar seat layouts. However, with more realistic cargo space measurements from the Cars website, this is not necessarily true. Having a mid-size car like the Tesla Model S instead of an SUV like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid can provide the same convenience in terms of cargo space.
Related: 4 Reasons to Buy a 2022 Tesla Model S Not a 2022 Porsche Taycan