Five Smallest Luggage Compartments In New Cars Available In The USA In 2016

The luggage compartment, often called a trunk, is a part of a vehicle that is overlooked in most cars.
2016 smart fortwo cabriolet trunk 6 photos
Photo: smart
smart fortwoFiat 500 and 500C (Abarth versions pictured)Mazda MX-52017 Audi R8 V10 SpyderAlfa Romeo 4C Spider
People take the space for granted, but some customers have to make due with less. A lot less than most, that is. Unlike SUVs, crossovers, and wagons, some cars do not offer a generous storage space for the luggage of the owner. Evidently, some coupes, sedans, and hatchbacks beg to differ, but convertibles do not provide the same level of space.

For some, the volume of the trunk is an important aspect of a new car purchase, while other prefer to enjoy the package of an automobile without carrying too much of their stuff with them. When most people think of cars with small trunks, the smart fortwo is the first model that comes to mind. We must admit that this story was started with a discussion that involved that automobile.

As we have discovered after spending a few hours looking for the smallest vehicle trunk available in a new car sold in 2016 in the USA, we unearthed a surprising fact. The smart fortwo’s trunk is not as small as we imagined. On the contrary, the numbers behind it showed that is was more spacious than expected.

With that being said, there’s nothing wrong with getting a car with a small trunk, as long as you are acutely aware of the limitations it may bring to some areas of your life. You can view this list as an opportunity to get more freedom in your life, away from the clutter that usually fills the trunks of other automobiles.

 smart fortwo - 260 liters (9.2 Cu. ft)

smart fortwo
Photo: smart
smart’s signature model, the fortwo, has taken much flak over the course of its existence. It was first launched in the late 90s, and people complained about it without ever getting close to one. The public deemed it too small, impractical, too expensive, and many other unflattering things. Somehow, smart sold enough of them to justify the expansion of its lineup, and to build a new generation.

Without regard for its critics, the fortwo has reached its third generation per se, and it is almost as small as it used to be. Just like any other car, it is better than its predecessors, and smart even offers a manual transmission in the range in some markets, if the automatic unit does not cater to your needs.

While it may take some time to get accustomed to a car being “snug” around your body without being a sporty model, the smart fortwo makes sense for many people around the world. Surprisingly, its trunk is the largest on our list, with 260 liters of space. It is more than enough for a couple to make a weekend escape, if you ask us.

 Fiat 500 - 185 liters (6.5 Cu. ft)

Fiat 500 and 500C \(Abarth versions pictured\)
Photo: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
The Italians at Fiat were regarded as the specialists in small cars before smart came along. In some respects, Fiat can still wear that crown, because it makes small cars that are more practical than their homologs at smart. Furthermore, the Fiat models are cheaper than their rivals, so they also have that bragging right.

The reborn Fiat 500 was first launched in 2007, a full five decades after the original model last left the factory. It came with retro styling, which was matched with modern engines, along with technology suitable for that year. Last year, Fiat facelifted the 500, and it is even better.

Americans were even offered an electric version of the Fiat 500, and customers around the world can buy a performance model designed by Abarth. While it may seem funny to some, that car can be incredibly quick in the right hands, while also being extremely enjoyable. Its trunk is smaller than the smart fortwo’s, with 185 liters, but it comes with seats for four people.

 Mazda MX-5 - 130 liters (4.6 Cu. ft)

Mazda MX\-5
Photo: Mazda
Mazda has managed to trim some unwanted fat that many years of service have put on the MX-5. The all-new model was lighter, faster, and more efficient than its predecessor. It also has an Italian cousin, the Fiat 124. However, is it practical? Well, that depends on what you want from an automobile.

The MX-5’s convertible top does not “steal” any space in the trunk of this model, but the latter is not that generous. It is rated with a volume of 130 liters, which is not that much, but it might get the job done for a couple, just like the smart fortwo does with a bit more space.

Curiously, its cousins from Fiat and Abarth promise ten extra liters in trunk capacity. Those 10 liters do not mean that much, even in a car with such a small luggage compartment, but we have to point out that the numbers are different in the case of the two platform siblings.

 Audi R8 Spyder - 112 liters (3.9 Cu. ft)

2017 Audi R8 V10 Spyder
Photo: Audi
This was a no-brainer, but Audi’s R8 is not that practical when the luggage compartment is being compared to other cars. While the Coupe prides itself with two luggage spaces, the Spyder does not benefit from the same level of practicality. The German drop-top has a trunk volume of 112 liters. That is not a lot, mind you.

Because the Audi R8 and the Mazda MX-5, for example, are sports cars, the volume offered by their luggage compartments does not matter to the same extent as that of a conventional automobile. It is natural for that to happen, and we do not believe that people have ditched the purchase process of one of these two cars because of this reason.

Just like we mentioned above, you can still do many things with a trunk that is small, but you have to get creative with this volume. We thing that you may fit two or three small travel bags inside the front luggage compartment of the R8 Spyder, and that a clever packing scheme will help you arrange everything you need for a road trip without forcing the trunk lid to close.

 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider - 105 liters (3.7 Cu. ft)

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
Photo: Alfa Romeo
Some say that less is more, and this is often true (think about the serving size at a French restaurant). The Alfa Romeo 4C is a minimalist vehicle from many points of view, as it does not even come with power-assisted steering. It is a car for purists, but it comes with a dual-clutch automated gearbox, which has been accepted because it is faster than the average driver with a manual at hand.

This sports car comes with a carbon-fiber unibody that has been optimized to bring the smallest possible weight without affecting rigidity, and still manages to be compliant with safety regulations. It would be a shame to ruin its weight and balance with heavy luggage, right?

It appears that that is what Alfa Romeo’s engineers were thinking, so this car comes with the smallest trunk on our list. The Coupe offers 110 liters of space, while the Spider is even more frugal, with just 105 liters. Just like we noted above, you can still stuff two backpacks or travel bags in there, but that is about it.

It might also be enough for your weekly trip to the supermarket, but only if you do not go crazy with the shopping. On the other hand, what did you expect from a sports car? The trunk is behind the engine, and both have to sit in the back of this small vehicle.

We must note that the Toyota/Scion iQ might have been the “leader” here, with just 31 liters (1.1 cubic feet) of space in the trunk, but it is no longer available for purchase.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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