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Sonata Hybrid Trunk Test

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

If you read as many car reviews as we do here at U.S. News, you’ll see it a lot: hybrid sedans getting knocked by reviewers for lack of cargo space. Hybrids carry their battery packs in their trunks, which eats into the available space, and the battery packs prevent the rear seats from folding down. Hybrid owners have less trunk space than people who bought the gas-only model, and they can’t even extend the space they have.

That’s a valid point about hybrid sedans, but I’m not sure it’s as big of a black eye as some reviewers make it out to be. On my test Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, the 10.7 cubic feet of cargo space doesn’t sound like much, but a Saturday’s worth of errands, including a trip to Sam’s Club, proved that it was plenty of space for my family’s needs.

Here’s what’s in the trunk: a 50-pound bag of chicken feed, a 42-pound bag of dog food, a two-gallon chicken water dish, a 40-pound bag of kitty litter (we’re a pretty animal intensive household), a bag of charcoal, a box containing two new pillows, six plastic bags of groceries and one container of laundry detergent. Yes, some families probably buy more stuff on their errands, but my guess is, those families are shopping for SUVs and crossovers instead of sedans.

A Saturday's worth of errands was no problem.

A hybrid sedan isn’t going to fit everyone’s stuff, but I think one could fit most people’s stuff while cutting emissions and saving money on gas. Sure, it would be nice if the seats in the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid folded down, but the fact that they don’t wouldn’t stop me from buying one.

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