This is not the first time I’ve luggage tested the current-generation RAV4, but there are two reasons why this one was conducted. First, the original was part of a luggage test comparison between the RAV4 and the previous-generation CR-V, making it now defunct. Second, I goofed on that original test. What, me? That’s unpossible!

Sadly, I missed two key elements of the RAV4 cargo area during that original test. First, the cargo cover can fit underneath the floor, thereby testing with it in place is a moot point. Second, that floor itself offers two heights. I only tested with the upper height. The RAV4 still performed very well, and I’ve known over the years the lower floor doesn’t add that much extra space (you’re about to find out how much!), but nevertheless, a do-over was called for. 

At the same time, this is a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (the original was a gas-only TRD Off-Road). Recent competitors, including the new CR-V, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, have all been hybrids. Oh, and it’s the new Woodland Edition trim, so I got to check out its special cargo area accessories. 

On to RAV4 Luggage Test Take 2!

Officially, the RAV4 has 37.5 cubic-feet of cargo space behind its back seat, regardless of whether it is a gas-only or hybrid version. That’s the case with its competitors, too, but with a big caveat I’ll get to in a moment.

Here you can see the difference with the two floor heights. You can see that it’s indeed not that much and that it’s more like a sunken living room given all the space around it that remains at the higher level. That does make a difference.

Here’s the cargo cover stored underneath the floor. Yes, even the lowered floor, unlike other vehicles that offer both features (I suspect the Sportage is like this). As such, I didn’t need to test with the cargo cover in place at all.

Also, you can see the RAV4 cargo floor’s other trick: It’s carpeted on one side and hard textured on the bottom. You can flip it over for an easily cleaned surface. 

And then there’s that aforementioned caveat: Note the spare tire. The CR-V hybrid trim levels and the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid do not have a spare tire. The Sportage Hybrid does. 

OK, on to the bags. As in every luggage test I do, that means two midsize roller suitcases that would need to be checked in at the airport (26 inches long, 16 wide, 11 deep), two roll-aboard suitcases that just barely fit in the overhead (24L x 15W x 10D), and one smaller roll-aboard that fits easily (23L x 15W x 10D). I also include my wife’s fancy overnight bag just to spruce things up a bit (21L x 12W x 12D).

First up, space with the floor in its upper position that sits flush with the fold-flat back seat. Not surprisingly, everything fit with room to spare. And since I didn’t uselessly test with the cargo cover in place this time, I actually have a worthwhile photo of all the bags and leftover space. 

Now, here is the space maxed out with a 38-quart cooler and a small blue duffel bag. This is effectively exactly what I did last time. I literally couldn’t find that blue duffel bag when I tested the Honda CR-V a few weeks ago (below left), so I don’t have an apples-to-apples comparison this time around. 

Now, I did use the exact same items in the Tucson Hybrid, and as you can see above right, there is a lot more room leftover. So, the Tucson has a bigger cargo area. Remember, though, the hybrid doesn’t have a spare tire. 

OK, now let’s lower that floor.

So yeah, it’s not really any better. Sure, there’s room left over, but loading is really awkward because of the raised areas at the sides and at the rear. See below.

Surprisingly, then, it was harder to load with the lower floor. Also, I wasn’t able to put any bags in the remaining space. You’d probably just be looking at shopping bags and such, which isn’t nothing I suppose. 

So as you can see, my original goof wasn’t that big of a deal since the lowered floor itself isn’t that big of a deal. 

OK, now let’s take a look at the Woodland Edition special bits.

All the earlier shots featured a naked Woodland. Here’s all the business you get with it, and frankly, I dig it.

That cargo net rolls up into this zippered burrito thing. 

The rubber cargo mat is appropriately woodlandy.

And that mat continues up onto the 60/40-split seat back where it Velcros onto the carpeted surface. The squares are there to show you where you can cut to reveal the LATCH anchors below. 

So there you have it. The RAV4 is better than the CR-V because of the spare tire and lowered floor situation (and does in fact have an extra cubic foot on paper). I also would rather have that spare tire instead of the Tucson Hybrid’s extra space. Now I just need to retest the Sportage, because all my extra items (cooler, etc) were in storage when I tested that … oh, and I forgot about its lower load floor position, too. Damn it, James. 



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