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Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Coolest Car Storage Feature?

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I once had the opportunity to drive a Honda S2000 up the twists and turns of the Angeles Crest Highway through the rugged San Gabriel Mountains. The experience was a barrel of monkeys but you know what was its most enduring takeaway? It was that the cabin in the little sportster offered about as much room as a Brazilian bikini. I mean, not to trot out a tired old trope, but you seriously need to get out just to change your mind. And forget about bringing along anything bigger than a pair of Wayfarers in the cabin because there’s just no room.

Innovations in automotive storage has been a competitive differentiator ever since the eighties. Maybe it had something to do with the rise of there being a Barista on every other corner, fostering the era of copious cup holders. Or, perhaps automotive engineers just started to have the time about then to focus on the efficiency of transporting both people and packages and not just how they were going to get anything more than 88 horsepower out of a 200-cid six and still make it clean enough to pass EPA muster.

Either way, cars today offer all kinds of eyebrow raising options for packing your stuff in them. As example, my daily driver has not just four cup holders but also room for four additional half-litre water bottles in the doors – storage that I’ve never used, but whose innovation I appreciate. What about you, whether in a car you happen to own or perhaps one you shined your pants on at an auto show, which car or truck do you think has the coolest storage feature? 

Image source: About.com

Currently there are "95 comments" on this Article:

  1. Garland137 says:

    My mother has a Mercedes ML500, and under the passenger seat is a lockbox.

    Here's the best picture I could find:
    <img src="http://www.benzworld.org/forums/attachments/w163-m-class/459042d1343543390-ml-lock-box-ebay-storage-drawer.jpg&quot; width="600">

    • danleym says:

      My folks had a 99 Mercury Villager with a compartment there, too. I don't think it locked. I thought it was a cool idea, but nothing was ever kept in there.

    • Feds_II says:

      Popular on old Mazda's as well, my '89 323 and my '93 MPV both have this storage. And it's awesome.

    • Frere P. says:

      These are a feature on several generations of Caravan/Voyager minivans too as I remember. I've always thought it a clever use of an otherwise wasted space. And apparently, from the way they were being used in the ChrysCo minivans I've seen, a handy place to store a supply of diapers.

      • salguod says:

        In my '88 Caravan that was the glove box, there was no dash compartment. My '99 Odyssey had both, but the underseat drawer was cheap and real difficult to get into. The Caravan's, though more robustly designed, was no picnic either, frankly.

      • FreeMan says:

        um, yeah, that's what I said. 2 hours later… :/

    • Irishzombieman☆ says:

      *cough*that's the driver's seat*cough*

      /wink

      • Frere P. says:

        I've just checked the 2000 owner's manual. U.S. model M-class Mercedes only have that compartment under the front passenger seat. Apparently they didn't bother to swap it for wrong-hand drive models.

    • dculberson says:

      That's where you keep the drugs.

  2. $kaycog says:

    In my 2013 Ford Escape, there is a hidden compartment under the back seat floor mat on the right side. A lid lifts off to reveal this storage space. Not my car or M9 in photo.

    <img src="http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff147/riverkilt/Z%20Kilted%20Concealed%20Carry/008_zps8fd9a5d4.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

  3. muthalovin says:

    I think the RamBox is pretty damn cool.

    <img src="http://image.automobilemag.com/f/29624994+w750+st0/0908_03_z+2009_dodge_ram_1500+ramBox.jpg&quot; width="550/">

    Hopefully I can post pictures of vehicles storing beers for every answer this week.

  4. danleym says:

    I like what some of the manufacturers are doing with newer trucks and integrating small compartments into the bedsides. I've never used any of these, so I don't know how useful they actually are, but I like the idea.
    Titan:
    <img src="http://0.tqn.com/d/trucks/1/0/m/4/13_titan_crew_gal.jpg"&gt;
    Ram:
    <img src="http://accurateshooter.net/Blog/ramtruck02.jpg"&gt;

    • Irishzombieman☆ says:

      My 74 Ford had a storage compartment under the bed, just in front of the passenger rear wheel. Loved that.

      • engineerd says:

        Like this?

        <img width=500 src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4f/73-75_Ford_F-350.jpg"&gt;

        I almost bought a '74 F250 because of that. My dad convinced me that was not a good reason to buy the truck and that it had too many issues to be reliable and a seller that was more than shady.

        • MVEilenstein says:

          Yep, Ford really ought to bring that back.

        • Irishzombieman☆ says:

          YES!

          That was a great truck, and I miss it a ton. Mine had a 460 and really low gearing, so it'd get up and move nearly as fast as a friend's 90s Trans Am up to maybe 30 mph. Then it'd hold with him until 65, where I ran out of gears.

          Dismal gas mileage on account of that. 8-10 mpg. Terrible car from a practical standpoint for a college student.

          But for donuts in a parking lot. . . man, once you get that back end swinging and the engine winding out, it was like being on a roller coaster that'd gone off the rails.

    • Sjalabais says:

      Considering the size of these things, it was probably just a matter of time they borrowed that idea from what the rest of the world calls a "truck"…

      <img src="http://www.scania.co.uk/_system/img/highres/352997_highres_13009-003.jpg&quot; width="600">

    • sporty88au says:

      It's an old idea, brought up to date. It was common on WW2-era utes in Australia (at least on the military versions), and also used on some military-specification Land Rovers (notably the Australian-assembled Perentie (sp?) series). Unfortunately I don't have any pictures to hand, but I'm sure you can find a few with a little Google-fu.

  5. KingElvisPetty says:

    This Rolls has a place to store your loose crap.

    <img src="http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/wysiwyg/image/P1010108.jpg"&gt;

  6. IronBallsMcG says:

    It makes my coal black heart almost twitter to see the emphasis on storage of beer and firearms. Good job Hoons, good job.
    This reminds me of a certain long ago and far away "He Said, He Said" review of a German uber-sedan extolling the virtues of the compartment available for the driver's handgun.

  7. danleym says:

    Seems like this should keep your car pretty cold.
    <img src="http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/imageuploads/1265719409_80.177.117.97.jpg"&gt;

    Wait, I think I misread something.

  8. RobbyDeGraff says:

    Surely the Dodge Dart's underseat storage space and the Ram Boxes on the Ram trucks

  9. dukeisduke says:

    Wish I could find a picture of one open, but the front door armrest pads in my wife's '08 Sienna flip up, revealing storage below. Good for storing earbuds, phone chargers, and stuff like that.

    <img src="http://2-photos2.ebizautos.com/used-2005-toyota-sienna-5drcefwd7passenger-4904-10355766-34-640.jpg"&gt;

  10. FuzzyPlushroom says:

    Random photo from the internet…

    <img src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6098/6341339222_002e245e82_b.jpg&quot; width="600/">

    See the giant panel on the floor? It folds in half, then back out of the way, revealing an optional rear-facing third-row seat, a spare tire, and whatever else you throw back there. Normal enough.

    On the right, there's a toolkit containing a changeable screwdriver, a couple of spanners, a lug wrench, and a pair of gloves. Neato.

    But wait, there's more! See the leather straps and tiny protruding hooks from the floor to either side of the center folding panels? Those lift up, revealing a perfect compartment for a more comprehensive toolkit, or, if you're so inclined, a six-pack or up to a handle of liquor (at least on the right side, as the left side houses, as I recall, the motor for the power antenna).

    Those inclined more toward inhaling than imbibing may take note that the ashtray in these cars is easily removable for access to the fuse panel (740/940, that is; the 760/960 are different), and one could, if one cared to, hide all kinds of interesting things in that cubbyhole. Just sayin'.

    • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq says:

      S90 has neat little cubbyholes in the trunk as well, there is a completely unexpected one on the flat floor part to the side.

  11. OA5599 says:

    1968-72 Corvette coupes had rear windows that could be removed by flipping two latches. Take the T-tops off, too, and the driving experience was similar to being in a convertible.

    When the window was not in place, it could be stored in a special tray that hinged down from the rear deck.

    <img src="http://www.corvettepacifica.com/images/ecomm/products/large/e3778.jpg"&gt;

  12. Fenian says:

    <img src="http://rcdn.carreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/2011_vw_routan_12.jpg&quot; width="600">

    My wife's Routan (which we got a huge discount on) doesn't have the stow n go seating like the Chrysler. However, the floor compartments are still there and are useful for road tripping.

  13. Alff says:

    Say what you will about Chrysler but they understand storage. The middle front seat in my Ram flips up, offering about a 12-pack worth of storage. The folding seatback also opens, revealing a laptop compartment with a 12V jack.

    I've been trying to talk my wife into a new minivan – she will only accept a Chrysler product, due to the availabe Stow-n-Go, which makes it easy to fold down the seats or carry taller items.

    • Craig says:

      I can't believe the Ram's come up several times and nobody's mentioned the storage bins under the rear seat (in the quad cab) with the flip-out leveling load floors that still leave enough room under them for 2L bottles or zip-tie assortments, shop towel rolls etc.

  14. smalleyxb122 says:

    The Powell Motors Sportwagon fishing pole holder.

    <img src="http://images.hemmings.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/Powell_3152_resized.jpg"&gt;

  15. mallthus says:

    I had a Chevy HHR that had a two position load floor in the back. It'd sit down low like this most of the time.
    <img src="http://images.autobytel.com/2006/Chevrolet/HHR/500/2006_Chevrolet_HHR_incargo.jpg&quot; width=600>

    But you could remove it and remount is higher, as is shown here.
    <img src="http://laruetx.com/autos/2006%20Chevrolet%20HHR/LaRue_KodakC330__06ChevyHHR__shelf_100_2952.JPG&quot; width=600>

  16. Irishzombieman☆ says:

    I've a Town & Country with seats that fold into the floor. When the front seats are erected, the storage space below the deck is cavernous.

    <img src="http://asset3.cbsistatic.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim//2010/04/30/34081496_SS06_441x294.jpg&quot; width=500>

  17. vroomsocko says:

    The Aztek portable cooler/center console was pretty neat.
    <img src="http://image.cpsimg.com/sites/carparts/design/assets/roadtests/pontiacaztek/images/icebox.jpg&quot; width="400">

  18. krazykarguy says:

    1988-91 Honda CR-X behind the seats storage compartment:
    <img src="http://benjrc.free.fr/Cargo_crx.jpg"&gt;

  19. JayP2112 says:

    It's been a while since I've been in a 968 engine compartment but I believe the compartment in the lower right of the picture hold the white cotton gloves.
    <img src="http://forums.pelicanparts.com/uploads22/0091365822074.jpg&quot; width="600">

  20. wisc47 says:

    I think this old Top Gear clip fully demonstrates the usefulness of all the compartments of the Citroen Berlingo.
    [youtube 8NyRrLngm9w http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NyRrLngm9w youtube]

  21. XRSevin says:

    The CR-V picnic table.
    <img src="http://www.samarins.com/reviews/img/cr-v_97_picnic_table_large.jpg&quot; width="600">

  22. MVEilenstein says:

    My mother-in-law's 07 Odyssey has a storage bin in the floor in front of the middle seats. I call it the live well.

  23. Devin says:

    The Vibetrix has a compartment in the rear area that is the exact size and shape of a bottle of tide. This is really useful if the washing machine in your apartment building is pretty much in the apartment of the creepy shirtless guy who sits on your step, so you have to go find a laundromat. Now it's slightly less useful, since I have a house with a washing machine.

    Also, for the literal coolest storage compartment, air conditioned glovebox!
    <img src="http://www.autoguide.com/gallery/d/583287-3/2013-Hyundai-Elantra-GT-cooled-glovebox.JPG"&gt;

    • vwminispeedster says:

      My MINI had that. It was mostly useful for keeping my ipod from overheating.

  24. Slow_Joe_Crow says:

    The second row seats in the Mazda5 are clever, the cushions fold forward to reveal storage bins plus the higher spec models have the flipout console with Lego bag, or a extra seat on the Euro models
    <img src="https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQDFtk05D_y6ulDuFca4wwSdG-FNLb5uRm3c5OgOHvaER-219VLRw"&gt;

  25. topdeadcentre says:

    The side-loading golf club bag compartment found on many 1920s/1930s/pre-war coupes and roadsters, located aft of the seats:
    <img src="http://nozama.typepad.com/.a/6a00e54ed05fc28833017744ae5584970d-800wi&quot; width="500/">

  26. Kogashiwa says:

    1st gen RX-7 had nice storage bins behind the seat that were quite discreet and surprisingly roomy. As a bonus, you could pull the liner out to expose the floor and check exactly how much life your RX-7 had left, because that was always where they would start rusting.

    I'd post a pic but google image search doesn't really work at all on mobile anymore and bing couldn't find one.

  27. salguod says:

    My Mzda3 hatch has several nifty storage features.

    First is a ridiculously large glove box. I can fit an unfolded standard spiral notebook folder in there.

    Second is a very deep center storage bin (under another, shallower bin).

    Third is a configurable rear storage floor. The floor is split. Under the larger, rear panel is a tray with a couple of recesses (the spare is under that). It can also be flipped up to divide the trunk in two. Great for bringing groceries home without them sliding all over.

    The smaller, forward floor panel hides another storage well, perfect for your snow brush. There are also tethers in the side well so it can be raised, much like the HHR pic above.

    The cargo cover is hinged in the middle so if the forward panel is raised and the rear panel is up, there's a neat little space created that's accessible from the rear seat by lifting the front of the cargo cover.

    Oh, and it is a hatch, so there's the whole fold the seats down and insert any large item thing.

  28. OA5599 says:

    Seats that store an extra passenger.

    <img src="https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/6040186624/h7D604CF9/"&gt;

  29. Rust-MyEnemy says:

    The Mondeo had an unbelievably excellent pen-holder by the gearstick, exactly the right size for a Cross Century.

    Thanks to de-contenting, the Contour missed out on this wondrous facility. Swivel on that, America!

    • FuzzyPlushroom says:

      The Contour/Mystique still had a little compartment by your left knee, lined with souvenir-ashtray felt and large enough for, oh, some rags, six feet of rope and a buck knife. Give or take.

  30. R.L. Elliott says:

    My '12 Honda Fit Sport has a "secret" under seat storage compartment (no pix, it's a secret!) I have yet to store anything in it…BUT, it also has two glove boxes AND TEN cup holders!!! :-)

  31. Roberto G. says:

    My 2009 Chevrolet is a luxury car and between other incredible features, has this very useful sunglass holder:

    <img src="http://www.cars.com/crp/vp/images/07ChevyAveo/sunglass_2_er.gif"&gt;

  32. faberferrum says:

    Funny this should come up, I was just at the junkyard getting some fenders off a 97 GMC 1500, it had a plastic storage box affixed right behind the left headlight. It was labeled 'max thirty pounds'. Unfortunately it was attached to the fender I wanted, so I removed it with my boot…

  33. '76Mini says:

    [youtube B93ojiPXBUE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B93ojiPXBUE youtube]

    In a car that was 10 ft long (just over 4.5 feet wide) roughly 8 feet was devoted to passengers and storage, unless you include the early models where the rear license late was hinged allowing you to have a bit more space out back (and a bit of CO ..)

    There was even discussion to have the mini as a hatchback while it was in development , but upper management thought that would have been a bit much….

  34. goog1986 says:

    What about the current gen MINI's secret compartment: <img src="http://www.northamericanmotoring.com/gallery/data/500/april_16_mini_008.jpg&quot; width="600">

  35. I have been driving a sedan almost my entire adult life and I have to agree most of their designs are not storage friendly, except the boot space of course. I have seen at most 2 cup holders at the front and 2 at the back (but you would have to sacrifice the space of a middle passenger for this one). The door storage compartments can barely even fit a toddler's milk bottle, thus I really admire that you can actually fit an actual water bottle in yours. I have actually gotten used to this fact and I have set my mentality to drive light every time. There is actually a positive aspect of this entire situation and that is you will not have too much junk in your car.

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