What a marvel the modern car is when it comes to carting about people and their cargo.

Nowadays, you could fit more gardening and renovation gear into a diminutive Honda Jazz than in many family sedans of the past.

So if it’s a space star you want, here are five smart buys for under $25,000.

Prices quoted are for a manual model with on-road costs to be added.

To calculate the drive-away price for an auto model, the preference of most buyers, add about $5000.

But shop for deals, especially as we approach end-of-financial-year sales time.

Note the method of measuring non-sedan luggage volumes is to the height of the cargo cover. With sedans, the whole boot area is included.

So hatches and SUVs could actually carry far more cargo than the quoted volumes by loading them higher but consider the reduced visibility for the driver and the possibility of objects striking occupants.

My five nominees are just a sample of the many good-value space stars.

Indeed, most modern cars are light years ahead of their forerunners in making room for our busy and varied lives.

1. Magical seats

The $14,990 Honda Jazz hatch has a 350-litre cargo area that expands to 906 with the rear seats folded and an ingenious second configuration. With the rear seat backs vertical, the squabs can also be folded to vertical. This leaves a high cargo area behind the front seats, which could hold two huge urns or myriad other tall objects. In this configuration, the boot area is also still available. Honda’s $24,990 HR-V, a little SUV in which auto is standard, has a similarly smart cargo set-up.

2. Cavernous carrier

The $23,040 Skoda Octavia station wagon is a mid-sizer at a small-wagon price. As well as a very roomy cabin, the Octavia can stow 588 litres of luggage or 1718 with the 40:20:40 split rear seats folded flat. The $21,690 liftback version of the Octavia is also spacious, providing 568 and 1558 litres respectively. Perhaps check out, too, the brand’s wagon-style Rapid Spaceback. Priced from $18,990, it provides 384 litres with seats up or 1349 litres seats down.

Skoda Octavia Station Wagon. Picture: skoda.com.au

3. Beaut boot

The $22,990 Renault Captur is a baby-sized SUV capable of carting home the fruits of a king-size shopping spree. The boot’s base board is two-sided — carpet for classiness and rubber for soggy stuff — and hides a big space for valuables. It can be lowered to provide one 377-litre space or sat at 45 degrees to provide stable storage of shopping bags. Sliding the rear seats forward expands the boot to 455 litres. Fold those seats flat and, voila, there’s 1235 litres of room.

4. Surprising sedan

The $20,740 Toyota Corolla sedan is priced as a small car but borders on being mid-sized. In the latest model, rear-seat knee room has been extended by a whopping 92mm while the boot holds 470 litres, not far short of the Holden Commodore’s 496. And the Corolla’s boot space is far more flexible, being able to be expanded by folding the 60:40 rear seats flat. The Commodore’s rear bench seat is fixed and has just a ski hatch.

5. Stretchier version

The Hyundai i30 five-door hatch is a firm favourite in Australia but it also comes as an even more practical station wagon, the $24,990 Tourer. Its boot holds 528 litres or up to 1642 with the back pews flattened, beating the hatch by 150 and 326 litres respectively.

 Hyundai i30 Tourer. Picture: hyundai.com.au


© The West Australian

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