ADAC: ‘Usable cargo space for cars sometimes well below specification’

Manufacturers sometimes specify much more cargo space than can be used in practice. This is the conclusion of the ADAC after an extensive test of cars in all segments.

The ADAC, the German equivalent of the ANWB, investigated the difference between the loading space of cars specified by manufacturers and the space that can be used in practice. What seems; there are sometimes enormous differences between them. The biggest difference was the ADAC with the Volkswagen Sharan. Volkswagen gives a load space of 955 liters, but in the ADAC test, no more than 630 liters could be used. The Volvo XC90 is also remarkably hard. In addition, 721 liters of luggage space would be available, but ADAC did not go further than 475 liters.

The ADAC notices that the biggest differences are found in larger cars, such as SUVs. It is often not too bad with relatively more compact models. As an example, it cites the Dacia Duster, which according to Dacia offers 413 liters of luggage space, but 410 liters according to ADAC. So hardly any difference. Sometimes it is even more positive, such as with the Toyota Aygo, where ADAC could store more than Toyota gives up.

Optimistic measurement

The ADAC itself has an explanation for the sometimes large differences. The ADAC tests the actual usable space, so up to the cover / flap and the window line. In addition, the seats in each car are placed in a uniform position in order to arrive at a good comparison. In some cases, manufacturers seem to get their act together by measuring the space available if you move the seats all the way forward and load the car to the last cubic centimeter of the ceiling. The ADAC also sees that sometimes the space for the spare wheel is even counted as cargo space.


All this added up adds a lot of value and sometimes results in big differences with what is really safe and practical to use as a cargo area. The ADAC therefore states that the consumer must take the loading space specified by the manufacturer with a grain of salt and rather see it as a ‘rough guideline’. However, it must be possible to use more space than the ADAC has measured, only then extra things such as a luggage net are often necessary to keep it safe. The view to the rear is therefore no longer free.

Car manufacturers are advised by the ADAC to come up with more realistic figures. This can be done by measuring the space in the same way as the ADAC. As can be seen in the photo above, this only concerns the usable space under normal circumstances. With the seats in a decent position and without stacking up to the roof.

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