Americans really, really like large cars. Year after year, the top sellers continue to be SUVs and trucks, and it’s understandable. After all, you spend a lot of time in your car. If you feel like a sardine every time you get behind the wheel, your quality of life might suffer — and that’s not even getting into all the space a growing family requires of their vehicle. Fortunately, in this day and age, advancements in auto tech have helped make even the biggest vehicles significantly more fuel-efficient and provided budget-conscious parents more options for an affordable car that they can still pick up the kids in.
But if you’re set on getting the absolute most room for your dollar, GOBankingRates is here to help. This study looked at just how many cubic feet of space you get for every dollar spent at the dealership, focusing on five categories of cars — coupes, sedans, SUVs, hybrids and electric vehicles and trucks and vans — and found the total interior space for several of the top models in each category. For the sedans, coupes and hybrids, that meant combining the total passenger space and cargo space — i.e., the trunk; for SUVs and vans, interior space was measured by the total cargo space with all seats folded down; and for trucks, interior space was represented by the truck bed itself. From there, the total amount of space was divided by the vehicle’s manufacturer suggested retail price to get a clear sense of which cars offer more size for their price. The top 10 best vehicles in each category were then selected — save for coupes, for which there are only five entrants.
So, if you’re thinking of getting a new car in the near future and don’t want to end up in something small, browse the 45 cars in this gallery and see which ones offer the most room for what they cost.
Last updated: Feb. 27, 2020
Coupes are two-door cars with a sloping rear, and they typically fall into the category of a sporty option, like the Chevrolet Camaro, or a decidedly not sporty option, like the Honda Civic. While space is clearly not the main selling point for coupes, getting a little extra room for your interior can help you stretch some extra utility out of your smaller vehicle — and you’ll often enjoy solid gas mileage while you’re at it.
2020 Subaru BRZ
- MSRP: $28,845
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00289
While its combined fuel economy of 24 mpg might not be what you hope from a coupe, the car is highly rated by Kelley Blue Book — scoring a 4.6 rating from the experts and 4.8 from consumers. That said, with just under seven cubic feet of cargo volume, you probably won’t do a lot of antiquing in this car.
2020 Toyota 86
- MSRP: $27,060
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00308
Another car where the size of the trunk is clearly not a major selling point, the Toyota 86 has a total of 83.4 cubic feet of interior space available to its owners. That said, customers appear to be enjoying the 205-horsepower ride. So far, it’s scored a perfect five-star rating from Kelley Blue Book’s consumers.
2020 Chevrolet Camaro
- MSRP: $25,995
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00393
OK, so clearly no one is buying a new Camaro just for the interior room. It’s more likely going to be for the opportunity to peel out with that 275-plus horsepower engine. But, just in case your drag race devolves into an organized debate over the relative practicality of the vehicles present, you can point out that its 9.1-cubic-foot trunk is bigger than that on the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ.
2020 Honda Civic
- MSRP: $21,050
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00490
From the Camaro to the… well, not a Camaro anyway. For those who buy cars because they want a cheap, fuel-efficient, reliable way to get from point A to point B day after day, the Honda Civic is a car that’s been a go-to for decades. While the two-door version doesn’t have as much space as the sedan — more on that later — you’re still paying just over $200 per cubic foot after you factor in that very reasonable MSRP of just over $21,000. And all that while getting 33 mpg — the best of any of the coupes listed here.
Pictured: 2020 Honda Civic Sedan Touring
2020 Hyundai Veloster
- MSRP: $18,800
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00584
The Veloster has both the most space and the lowest price in the coupe category, so it’s essentially coasting to victory here. It beats the Civic coupe by over 6.5 cubic feet while coming in $2,250 under its price.
For most of the existence of the auto industry, there was a pretty simple trade-off between size and fuel economy. The larger your car, the more gas you needed to get around, and there was only so much that could be done about it. However, with the introduction of electric and hybrid cars, you can expect to get much better gas mileage than a car with a traditional combustion engine — even when you’ve decided to go with something much larger. As such, springing for something larger than you might have 20 years ago makes plenty of sense, but you still want to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SUV
- MSRP: $36,295
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00365
The Mitsubishi Outlander gets a very un-hybrid-like 25 mpg, but that’s when you’re running it on gas. As a plug-in hybrid, you’ll only need to rely on the engine when the electric charge runs short. And while the range for a full electric charge is just 22 miles, that’s still enough for many Americans to be able to cover their daily commute. When necessary, the gas engine extends the full range to 310 miles on a single tank.
Pictured: 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SUV
2021 Toyota Prius Prime
- MSRP: $27,750
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00401
So, four-thousandths of a cubic foot per dollar doesn’t compare too well with the other cars here, but the Prius Prime still made the top 10 for the category. What’s more, it appears to make up for that elsewhere, like with the second-best combined fuel economy of any car in this study at 54 mpg.
Pictured: 2020 Toyota Prius Prime
2020 Kia Optima Hybrid Sedan
- MSRP: $29,310
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00403
The Optima Hybrid “only” gets a combined 42 mpg and got a middling mark in consumer rating from Kelley Blue Book. However, its five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should keep it in contention to potentially replace that aging family sedan in the driveway.
2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid Sedan
- MSRP: $28,430
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00405
The Toyota Camry might only be rivaled by the Honda Civic as America’s favorite car. It’s a car built around reliability, fuel economy and a reasonable price. The hybrid edition of this classic model gets a solid 52 mpg and scored five stars on the NHTSA safety ratings, but its 3.9-star consumer rating at Kelley Blue Book is something to be wary of.
2020 Ford Fusion Plug-in Hybrid Sedan
- MSRP: $28,000
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00410
Another plug-in hybrid, the Fusion can go 26 miles on a full electric charge, which takes about seven hours to reach — so once again, probably enough to cover to and from the office without needing gas on most days. And given the solid 4.7 rating from Kelley Blue Book consumers, there appears to be a lot to like about this option aside from its relatively roomy interior.
Pictured: 2020 Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Sedan
- MSRP: $23,100
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00440
At 52 mpg, the combined fuel economy on the Corolla Hybrid sedan is going to minimize the number of trips to the pump you take in a given month. And the MSRP of just over $23,000 makes it one of the more affordable options in the hybrid/electric category.
2020 Honda Accord Hybrid Sedan
- MSRP: $25,620
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00477
The Accord Hybrid sedan offers the most passenger space of any vehicle in the hybrid/electric category, beating out the lone SUV included here by a full three cubic feet. So if you’re thinking more of ferrying around friends and family than you are cargo, the Accord might be one of the smartest options.
2020 Honda Insight Sedan
- MSRP: $22,930
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00491
If you want some insight into why people would buy this car, the ample interior space is one possibility. However, the fact that it also comes with a combined fuel economy of 52 mpg and a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA should make it clear.
2020 Toyota Prius Hatchback
- MSRP: $24,325
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00495
While the space for passengers is lower than all but two of the 10 cars in this category, the Prius Hatchback surges to second-best of the rankings by way of its ample cargo space. With 27.4 cubic feet, only the Mitsubishi SUV has more among the hybrid and electric vehicles.
2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Hatchback
- MSRP: $23,200
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00529
The winner for the hybrid/electric category is the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Hatchback. This car offers almost as much cargo space as the Prius Hatchback with more passenger space and a lower price. And if that weren’t enough, it’s also the most fuel-efficient ride in the entire study at a combined fuel economy of 58 mpg.
Ah the sedan, the chariot of the working class. These four-door cars offer a considerable degree greater utility than a coupe, but don’t have the cavernous (and gasoline-burning) size of an SUV or truck. For the most part, if you’re looking for a reasonably priced vehicle with low operating costs, you’re likely going to be looking at sedans.
2020 Honda Civic
- MSRP: $20,650
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00547
If you’re stuck between the Civic coupe and the Civic sedan, there are plenty of reasons why you might opt for the four-door version. For starters, the sedan is actually slightly cheaper than the coupe. Not to mention, you’re only getting one more mpg in fuel economy and considerably less space per dollar with the coupe. Knowing that, the Civic sedan — which had the most total interior space of the entrants in the sedan category — appears to be the better car for your money.
2020 Hyundai Elantra
- MSRP: $19,150
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00575
At 35 mpg, the Hyundai Elantra is one of the more efficient sedans here. Combine that with the purchase price of less than $20,000 and it’s a great way to save some cash — at the dealership and the pump.
2020 Volkswagen Jetta
- MSRP: $18,745
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00580
The Jetta has been a popular model for quite some time, and the 2020 edition has a lot going for it. In addition to giving you some of the most space per dollar spent, it also scored a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. However, at 28 mpg, it has one of the worst fuel economies of the 10 sedans in this study.
Pictured: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta
2020 Subaru Impreza
- MSRP: $18,695
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00600
If you like a car with plenty of space and a solid safety rating, you might be Impreza-ed with this option. The Subaru offering scored five out of five with the NHTSA, and its 112.1 total cubic feet of interior space is the second-most for a sedan in this study.
2020 Kia Forte
- MSRP: $17,890
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00622
One “forte” for this Kia sedan would be its fuel economy, which is solid at 31 mpg combined. However, while it offers some of the most space for its price and won’t break your budget on gas, it does score only four stars for safety from the NHTSA.
2020 Toyota Yaris
- MSRP: $15,650
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00635
While the Yaris has under 100 cubic feet of total interior space — less than all of the other sedans, hybrid/electric cars and three of the five coupes — its 0.00635 cubic feet per dollar is better than any vehicle in this study, save for the top four sedan options.
2020 Kia Rio
- MSRP: $15,850
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00654
You’ve got to love a car where the make and model total just six letters. The Rio might also save you a veritable river of gasoline with its combined 36 mpg fuel economy — the best outside the hybrid/electric category.
2020 Hyundai Accent
- MSRP: $15,295
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00678
For anyone buying an Accent, the low price means you’re getting a ton of interior space for your money. However, if you’re looking for something that will really punctuate the purchase, try telling everyone about the combined 33 mpg you can expect to get with the sedan.
2020 Nissan Versa
- MSRP: $14,730
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00703
The Versa is one of just two vehicles included in this study with a sticker price under $15,000, so working families looking to get space on a budget might want to take a long look at this one. Throw in the five-star consumer rating on Kelley Blue Book and this just might be the car for someone with a small budget that still wants to get most for their dollar.
2020 Mitsubishi Mirage
- MSRP: $13,995
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00738
The out-and-out winner in terms of cubic feet per dollar spent in the entire study is the 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage. And while the 103.3 cubic feet of interior space isn’t impressive in its own right, the fact that the car’s suggested retail price comes in under $14,000 helps make it an incredible value.
The rise of the SUV helped reshape the car industry in the 1990s. These vehicles offer a lot of the family-friendly convenience of a car but are built on a truck chassis so it still rides high and offers additional power and towing capacity. More to the point, it can offer minivan levels of space and utility while, well, not being a minivan. And given that anyone shopping for an SUV is likely putting a premium on interior space, they should be worth a good long look.
2020 Hyundai Palisade
- MSRP: $31,775
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00272
Getting just 22 mpg combined fuel economy, the Palisade will lead to more return trips to the pump than you would like. However, that doesn’t appear to bother drivers all that much: The Palisade scored an almost-perfect 4.9 stars from Kelley Blue Book consumers.
2020 Kia Telluride
- MSRP: $31,890
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00273
While several SUVs offer more space per dollar, the Telluride provides seating for eight — more than any vehicle in this study outside the truck and van segment.
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
- MSRP: $26,125
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00273
With just 71.3 cubic feet of interior cargo space, the Santa Fe is actually one of the smaller SUVs listed here. However, it has a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA and scored a 4.6 and 4.9 rating in reviews from Kelley Blue Book experts and consumers, respectively.
2020 Nissan Rogue
- MSRP: $25,300
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00277
The Rogue seats five and offers more space per dollar spent than most SUVs, but it’s also among the smaller options for SUVs in this study. At 29 mpg combined, it’s near the top of the heap for SUV fuel efficiency.
2020 Dodge Durango
- MSRP: $30,495
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00277
There’s a curious divide between the expert and consumer reviews for the 2020 Durango on Kelley Blue Book. The expert reviews average out to just 3.2 stars, while the consumer reviews combine to a much stronger 4.7.
Pictured: 2020 Dodge Durango SRT
2020 Honda HR-V
- MSRP: $20,820
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00282
The HR-V is the smallest SUV in this study in two different ways. The first is for how little space it does have — at just under 60 cubic feet of cargo space, it lags well behind the other SUVs listed. However, it also has a downright microscopic price at the sedan-like $20,820 — a price that ultimately means more space for your money.
Pictured: 2020 Honda HR-V Sport
2020 Subaru Outback
- MSRP: $26,645
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00284
If you’re looking for a vehicle that won’t break the bank but can still make you feel like you’re in the vast Australian bush, the Outback could be your best bet. And it has a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA, something the actual outback likely won’t be able to manage anytime soon.
2020 Honda CR-V
- MSRP: $25,050
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00303
The Honda CR-V scored one of the highest average ratings from experts on Kelley Blue Book at 4.8. It also scored five out of five from the NHTSA, which might end up mattering to you a lot more in the end.
2020 Subaru Forester
- MSRP: $24,495
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00311
The 76.1 cubic feet of interior cargo volume might not be enough to fit a felled tree, but it’s likely more than enough to handle a family of five — especially when you consider its sticker price comes in under $25,000. And with a five-star rating from the NHTSA, it appears to be as safe as it is roomy.
2020 Chevrolet Traverse
- MSRP: $29,800
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00330
Even if your brand loyalty lies elsewhere, you may feel compelled to cross over to Chevrolet if getting a lot of cargo room is what you really care about. At 98.2 cubic feet of cargo space, the Traverse is the biggest option among the SUVs in this study.
Trucks and Vans
Clearly, the buyers for trucks and vans are looking for something a little different, but in both cases having enough room is going to be important. Because whether you’re a contractor who relies on a spacious truck bed to carry equipment to jobs or a father of four who’s ferrying the kids between soccer practices, you’ll still want to know you’re getting the most for what you spend.
2020 Toyota Tundra
- MSRP: $33,575
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00200
The combined 15 mpg for the 2020 Tundra is the worst of any car in this study. But, with seating for six, 67.1 cubic feet of cargo space and a 4.7 out of five rating from consumer reviews on Kelley Blue Book, many drivers might feel sacrificing the fuel economy is worth it. Though, with a four-star safety rating and a 3.7-star critic rating, experts obviously don’t agree.
2020 Ford Ranger
- MSRP: $24,410
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00212
The only vehicle in this category with an MSRP under $25,000, the Ranger has a smaller truck bed — just 51.8 cubic feet — but still ranks highly because of its low price. It also has the best fuel efficiency of its category at 23 mpg.
2020 GMC Sierra
- MSRP: $31,195
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00286
With seating for just three people, the Sierra isn’t going to be the most convenient car for driving around friends and family — though you can opt for double- and crew-cab models that will seat five or six, respectively. However, what it sacrifices from the cab it’s clearly getting back in the cargo space with some 89.1 cubic feet.
2020 Chevrolet Silverado
- MSRP: $29,895
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00298
The Silverado offers nearly 90 cubic feet of cargo space for under $30,000, putting it among the best trucks in terms of space for your dollar. However, the 3.7 average consumer rating on Kelley Blue Book might be worth looking into before you consider taking one home.
2020 Chrysler Pacifica
- MSRP: $33,745
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00416
Given that the minivan is widely acknowledged to be a favorite for growing families, the fact that the Pacifica seats seven is one that should matter to prospective buyers. But perhaps even more important? All seven potential passengers will be riding in a five-star NHTSA safety rated vehicle.
2020 Honda Odyssey
- MSRP: $30,790
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00471
For those nights when you keep running into obstacles on the long journey home, the roomy Honda Odyssey will at least provide you comfort. It seats seven, has a five-star safety rating and got an average score of 4.6 out of five from expert reviews on Kelley Blue Book.
2020 Toyota Sienna
- MSRP: $31,640
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00474
With 150 cubic feet of cargo space and seating for eight, the Sienna comes in second on this list for total space and available seating. And, in addition, it got five stars from the NHTSA for its safety rating. So, you’re much less likely to end up with a burnt Sienna.
2020 Kia Sedona
- MSRP: $27,600
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00514
The Kia Sedona is clearly a smaller option than the Toyota Sienna, with seating for seven and 142 cubic feet of cargo space. But it also features a sticker price that comes in about $4,000 less than said Sienna.
2020 Chrysler Voyager
- MSRP: $26,985
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00521
Not only does the Voyager provide more interior space per dollar spent than any other minivan or truck, save one, it also scored five stars in the NHTSA safety review, got an average rating of 4.5 out of five from experts on Kelley Blue Book and costs under $27,000. All of that might make you feel cozy and satisfied even if your road trip goes all the way to Jupiter.
2020 Nissan NV Passenger
- MSRP: $36,110
- Cubic feet per dollar: 0.00606
The Passenger’s name isn’t hard to figure out: this behemoth seats 12. Not a typo. And with 218.9 cubic feet of cargo space, it’s the largest van listed here by a wide margin. As such, even though it’s nearly $10,000 more than the Voyager, you’re still getting more space per dollar here.
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Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the cars in the following categories that provide the most interior space per dollar: 1) sedans (top 10); 2) SUVs (top 10); 3) vans/minivans and trucks (top 10); 4) hybrids and electric vehicles (top 10); and 5) coupes (top five). GOBankingRates selected measurements of “interior space” to best suit each type of vehicle and the data available. For sedans, hatchbacks, coupes, hybrids and electric vehicles, interior space was measured as the total passenger volume plus the total cargo volume (i.e., trunk space). For SUVs and vans, interior space was measured as the total maximum cargo space possible (i.e., all possible seats folded). For trucks, interior space was measured as the cargo space available in the truck bed. All measurements are in cubic feet. Data from manufacturers’ sites on interior space was then compiled for the most basic (inexpensive) model of all of Kelley Blue Book’s top expert-rated and top consumer-rated 2020 vehicle search results in each category. After determining the interior space, each vehicle’s MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) was compiled and the interior space (in cubic feet) per dollar for a unit sold at MSRP was calculated. To be included in the final ranking, vehicles had to have relevant specifications data available on their manufacturer’s official site. The cars in the final rankings for each category are those that offer the most interior space per dollar. The safety rating, expert rating, consumer rating and combined fuel efficiency for each vehicle (all from Kelley Blue Book) were provided as supplemental data. All data was compiled from Feb. 5, 2020, through Feb. 10, 2020.
About the Author
Joel Anderson is a business and finance writer with over a decade of experience writing about the wide world of finance. Based in Los Angeles, he specializes in writing about the financial markets, stocks, macroeconomic concepts and focuses on helping make complex financial concepts digestible for the retail investor.