Deep Dive

Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra Luggage Test: How big is the trunk?

Spoiler: They're better than the official volume number suggests

The Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra are the same electric vehicle apart from badges and the Toyota coming standard with front-wheel drive. As such, this luggage test will apply to both of them even though I literally tested the Toyota. It also means that I will be calling this vehicle "Solterra" for the rest of this post because bZ4X is a gigantic pain to type. Go ahead, try, then let me know what garbled version your poor fingers came up with instead.

On paper, the Solterra has 27.7 cubic-feet of cargo space behind the raised back seat. That theoretically puts it ahead of the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5, but behind the Mustang Mach-E and VW ID.4. In my tests of those, which you can find by clicking their linked names, I found the hierarchy of luggage-carrying capabilities did not necessarily align with their official numbers. For example, the EV6 was able to hold more bags than the Mach-E. 

Let's see if that trend continues!

Here is the space in question, but there are caveats. 

First, the Solterra has a dual-level cargo floor like oh-so-many SUVish vehicles these days. It's in its lower position here, and as the upper position really only exists to provide a fully flat floor when the back seat is lowered, there's no need to test with that height. (OK, so there's one, sorta, which I'll get to at the end.)

Second, you'll note the cargo cover can be stowed inside. You can put the cargo floor below or on top of it, so I decided to go with Low Floor + Cargo Cover for my first go with the bags. Turns out, that's all I needed.

As with every Luggage Test, I use 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).

So all the bags fit, but then, they also fit in all those other EVs mention above, plus the Kia Niro EV. Whoopty-doo. 

We're going to need to get more granular.

First, this is clearly better then the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which only barely stuffed everything inside. 

To see how the Solterra compares to everything else, let's move those bags around to see how much space is really left over.

This would be my "phantom bag" method of showing extra space. If I had two of that medium-sized black bag shown in two places above, they would both fit. The fancy bag WOULD fit on top of the one on the right. 

That means the Solterra is better than the Mach-E, the EV6 and the Niro EV

For a tighter fit with the fancy bag, I could also jusssst fit a phantom version of the bigger blue bag. 

What about the ID.4, then? I honestly don't know. My photos and the smaller bonus items I used in that test (not phantom bags) mean comparisons are inconclusive. I suspect that it would be similar, if a bit better, but I just can't be sure.

Either way, the real story here is that the Solterra can hold more than its official cargo figure would suggest. It has one of the most useful cargo areas among the growing collection of electric crossovers. A big reason for that, is its comparatively tall, squared-off tail end. It may have a pretty raked rear window relative various ICE compact crossovers, but the space below is nice and boxy. Always good for luggage testing.

Now, two other notes:

There is an underfloor storage bin, but it's useless for luggage and you'll need it for the charge cord. 

Second, this bZ4X came with a cargo area carpet. You can't use it with the lower load floor + stowed cargo cover setup I used for this test. Maybe I therefore should've tested with the upper floor level and carpet in place, much as I would with a cargo cover that can't be stowed inside the vehicle ... but dude, am I really going to start luggage testing for carpet inclusion? I am not. 

Besides, it totally fit inside the car! Such an elegant solution. 

Toyota bZ4X Information

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