“I need my space.” Have you ever heard those words? They’re usually the antecedent to a breakup, but they could also be the precursor to an SUV purchase. One of the several reasons light trucks and SUVs are so popular right now with 70-percent market share is because they can carry more stuff than sedans.
But higher-riding vehicles are often more expensive and less fun to drive than their lower-slung sedan counterparts. Furthermore, it seems everyone and their mother, stepmother, foster mom and doula is driving an SUV these days. So how does the space-conscious consumer stand out amid the light truck and SUV deluge? Well, the good news is that there are still plenty of roomy sedans on sale today. Here are 10 worth checking out by Manuel Carrillo III
2020 Toyota Camry
Have you sat inside of a Camry lately? It’s palatial in there. I feel like I could kick a 100-yard field goal from the left-rear seat, and still not reach the front-passenger footwell. To quantify that hyperbole, we’re talking up to 100.4 cubic feet of passenger volume. That’s almost a tenth the volume of a typical bedroom, but it’s still enough space to carry up to five occupants in comfort. More specifically, Camry passengers are treated to up to 38.3 and 38 inches of front and rear headroom, respectively, and 42.1 and 38 inches of front and rear legroom, respectively.
If your passengers have stuff they need to carry with them, there’s plenty of room for that, too. The Camry boasts a 15.1 cubic-foot trunk, which is respectable, but actually on the smaller end of the midsize sedan segment. If you need more trunk space, you’ll have to spend more for the full-size Toyota Avalon. But with the Camry starting at $25,250*, the midsize Toyota remains compelling with its strong space-to-cost ratio. Shop TOYOTA Deals By Zip Code.
2020 Toyota Avalon
The Avalon features most everything the Camry offers, but more of it, including space. Interior volume totals out to 104.3 cubic feet, while trunk space comes in at 16.1 cubic feet. Front and rear headroom at 37.4 and 37.5 inches, respectively, is actually a little less than the Camry’s, while the Avalon’s front and rear legroom measures out to 42.1 and 40.3 inches, respectively.
If you’re buying the Avalon over the Camry just for the extra space, that extra room is going to cost you. Toyota’s largest sedan starts at $36,755*. Keep in mind, though, that the Avalon also offers more comfort and refinement than the Camry. When you consider those improvements, the Avalon turns out to be a pretty good value. Shop TOYOTA Deals By Zip Code.
2020 Lexus ES
The Toyota Avalon is more luxurious than its slightly smaller Camry sibling, but what if you subscribe to the time-honored adage “you’re worth it?” Then the Lexus ES is your answer. It’s based on the Avalon, but because the ES is a Lexus, it’s just a little plusher (and better-looking, to my eyes.) Moreover, the ES is one of the most impressive vehicles I’ve tested in recent years, offering ride quality rivaling sedans costing six times more.
One possible deal-breaker is that the ES does not offer a folding rear seat. This is because the Lexus features structural bracing behind the rear seat for more chassis rigidity. The Toyota Avalon does without the bracing, and thus comes standard with a folding rear seat. Still, I’ve been able to load plenty into the back of the ES, so I didn’t miss the folding back seat as much as I thought I would.
Indeed, the Lexus ES is a bit of a splurge, but you needn’t feel guilty for going all out. Lexus’ entry-luxury sedan starts at $40,925*, and even offers a little more space than the Avalon in some measurements. The ES serves up 16.7 cubic feet of trunk space — 0.6 cubic feet more than the Avalon. Interior volume is a little less generous, though, at 99.9 cubic feet versus the Avalon’s 104.3. Meanwhile, front and rear headroom measures out to 37.6 and 37.8 inches, respectively, while front and rear legroom is 42.4 and 39.2 inches, respectively. Shop LEXUS Deals By Zip Code.
2020 Lincoln MKZ
Lincoln’s Ford Fusion-based luxury sedan doesn’t get enough attention in the media, and that’s a darn shame because the MKZ is a strong counter to the Lexus ES, but with a folding rear seat. Also, the MKZ offers up to 400 horsepower from its optional twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6. That’s 98 more ponies than the Lexus can muster.
But in exchange for the livelier acceleration and folding back seat, the MKZ is a little less spacious than the ES. That said, the Lincoln is still roomy enough inside with 96.6 cubic feet of passenger volume and 15.4 cubic feet of luggage space. Front and rear headroom measurements are 37.9 and 36.6 inches, respectively, while legroom comes in at 44.3 and 37 inches front/rear.
So, yes, the MKZ is smaller than the ES, but with its $38,390* starting price, the Lincoln is less expensive than the Lexus by $2,535. Shop LINCOLN Deals By Zip Code.
2020 Honda Accord
The Toyota Camry is a fine automobile, but, as with anything, it’s not for everyone. If the Camry’s bold new styling is too bold for you, that’s perfectly OK. Instead, check out the Toyota midsizer’s archrival: the Honda Accord.
In terms of spaciousness, the Accord beats the Camry hands-down with significantly more interior volume (105.6 versus 100.4 cubic feet) and trunk space (16.7 versus 15.1 cubic feet). Headroom totals out to 39.5 and 37.3 inches front and rear, while legroom amounts to 42.3 and 40.4 inches front to back.
Not only is the Accord more spacious than the Camry, but at $24,975* to start, the Honda is also $275 less than the Toyota. If you’re a numbers person, it’s indisputable the Accord delivers a knock-out blow to the Camry. Shop HONDA Deals By Zip Code.
2020 Hyundai Sonata
Among the three midsizers in this roundup of spacious sedans, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata is the one I’d most recommend. Starting at $24,330*, the Sonata is the least expensive car on this list. Despite its low price, Hyundai’s midsize sedan is incredibly spacious, arguably the best-looking car here, and even offers standard adaptive cruise control with lane-centering.
With 104.4 cubic feet of passenger volume, the Sonata’s interior is a smidge smaller than the Honda Accord’s, but you won’t notice it. The Sonata’s 16 cubic feet of trunk space is also a negligible 0.7 cubic feet shy of the Accord’s figure. Headroom measures out to 40 and 38.4 inches front and rear, while front legroom comes in at 46.1 inches (first place on this list). Rear legroom measures out to 34.8 inches.
Don’t let the Sonata fly under your radar. Shop HYUNDAI Deals By Zip Code.
2020 Nissan Maxima
The Maxima is the largest sedan Nissan sells in the US, but despite being a full-size car, its interior measurements are more midsize. At 98.5 and 14.3 cubic feet of passenger volume and trunk volume, respectively, all the midsize sedans on this list offer more space than the Maxima. Whip out the measuring tape, and the Maxima registers 39.4 and 36.7 inches of front and rear headroom. Front and rear legroom come in at 45 and 34.2 inches, respectively.
But since it starts at just $35,175, the Maxima is $1,580 less expensive than the Avalon, so it has a relatively low bottom line going for it. Shop NISSAN Deals By Zip Code.
2020 Chrysler 300
The Chrysler 300 has been around in its current generation since 2011, and is built off a Mercedes-Benz platform that dates back to the 1990s. Despite all that, Chrysler’s full-sizer is one of the more compelling sedans on this list.
Unlike the Maxima, the 300 is big both outside and in, with 106 cubic feet of passenger volume — number one among all cars here — and 16.3 cubic feet of trunk space. However, when you pull the wrapper off headroom (38.6 and 37.9 inches front/rear) and legroom (41.8 and 40.1 inches front/rear), the 300 isn’t as much of a standout. Still, the Chrysler 300 is priced well at $31,085* to start, which is $5,670 less than the Avalon. To put those numbers into words, this big Chrysler is definitely worth a look. Shop CHRYSLER Deals By Zip Code.
2020 Chevrolet Impala
Starting at $32,495*, the Chevrolet Impala is another lower-priced alternative to the Toyota Avalon, but if you want one, you’d better hurry. This is the final model year for Chevy’s full-size sedan.
The big Chevy puts out some impressive numbers, too. Passenger volume comes in at 105 cubic feet, while trunk capacity registers a whopping 18.8 cubic feet! Take that, Chrysler. Front and rear headroom totals out to 39.9 and 37.4 inches, respectively. Legroom amounts to 45.8 and 39.8 inches, front and rear. Shop CHEVY Deals By Zip Code.
Tesla Model 3
It’s the only compact sedan on this list. Heck, it’s the only electric vehicle on this list, but the Tesla Model 3’s all-electric drivetrain is a major reason why this compact is still one of the roomiest, sub-$50,000 sedans you can buy today. Electric drivetrains take up less space than internal-combustion engines. As a result, electric vehicles often boast interiors that are a size class larger than their exteriors suggest.
Dig into the numbers, and the Model 3 indeed posts measurements that fall into the heart of the midsize sedan segment. Overall passenger volume comes out to 97 cubic feet, beating the Lincoln MKZ by 0.4 cubic feet. Trunk space is also impressive at 15 cubic feet, beating the full-size Maxima by 0.7 cubic feet.
Headroom comes in at 40.3 and 37.7 inches front/rear, while legroom registers 42.7 and 35.2 inches front/rear. One caveat about the Model 3 is that your knees will sit pretty high in the back seat due to the battery taking up space below the floor. The battery also impacts rear toe room if you try to slide your feet underneath one of the front seats. Still, the Model 3 remains a reasonably comfortable way to get around no matter where you’re sitting.
The Tesla Model 3 starts at $41,190* in Standard Range Plus spec, and offers up to 250 miles of all-electric driving range.