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

Dart3

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

95 Comments

    1. 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.

        1. We had a '99 Caravan and that's where we kept the diapers and changes of clothes.
          /for the kids, you pervs!

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

    3. 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.

      1. 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.

      1. 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.

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

        1. 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.

    2. 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.

    1. Always wondered–what person who could afford a Rolls would crap in their car?

    2. FFS! it's an ice bucket for Champagne not a chamber pot, this is becoming a tiresome meme.

      1. Now that doesn't make any sense at all. Why would anyone take a dump in an ice bucket?

  1. 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.

    1. Damn, it's nostalgia week in the auto-blogging world (see TTAC's EAT'N/SHIT'N post and Davey G's Ska'ed logos post at AW)

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

    1. Those would be 100% full of tissues, baby wipes, Trader Joe's brand O's, and empty "Crushers" after 1 week if our car had them.

  3. 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'.

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

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

        1. Because that sorta sounds like it'd make a really great article here.

        2. I remember seeing that you had a Powell on Jalopnik on Drive. I didn’t recall what color yours was, but considering the rarity, the odds were pretty good that whatever one I grabbed from Google images would be of yours. I just grabbed the first image that I could find with the storage bin partially open.

    1. I want an HHR SS with the qtr windows as the panel option but my wife doesn't approve. 🙁

      1. Plus it doubled are a picnic table. I couldn't find a good pic- so use your imagination.

          1. Yeah, I wasn't clear. What I meant was that the PT Cruiser's (pictured) isn't as useful as the CR-V's (see below).

  5. 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.

  6. 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;

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

    1. 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.

  10. 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!!! 🙂

  11. 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…

  12. [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….

  13. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here