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Derek Shiekhi | Feb 04, 2021


Exterior view of the 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600

One of the most important things to consider about your next new vehicle purchase is also one of the most basic: Is it big enough? It doesn't matter how attractive it is on the outside or how fuel efficient its engine is if you don't have enough space inside. That room is typically divided into two main categories: passenger and cargo. Passenger space covers not only how many people can fit into a vehicle, but also how much head, leg, shoulder and even hip room they have in a given row. Cargo space varies based on how many seats you have folded down.

We've put a list of five vehicles available in AutoNation dealerships with people- and cargo-friendly interior dimensions.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban

Exterior view of the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban

It's probably no surprise that Chevrolet's legendary people mover is on this list. It's always been the bow tie brand's largest SUV and the 2021 model is even bigger than before. Chevy stretched its wheelbase by four inches and, as a result, increased legroom in the second and third rows, cargo room behind the third row and maximum cargo space. Properly configured, the Suburban can seat up to nine people. Passengers in the second row can enjoy up to 38.9 inches of headroom and 42 inches of legroom. Those figures are 38.2 and 36.7 inches, respectively, for the third row.

The 2021 Suburban can hold plenty of gear, too. When all three rows of seats are up, there's 41.5 cubic feet of room behind the back row. With just the first and second row in place, the Suburban can haul 93.8 cubic feet of stuff. When both rear rows of seats are down, that figure jumps to a whopping 144.7 cubic feet.

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2021 Ford Expedition MAX

Exterior view of the 2021 Ford Expedition MAX

The Suburban's closest competitor may not be able to match its outright passenger capacity (only eight people can fit into an Expedition MAX) or cargo room (which tops out at 121.5 cubic feet), but it does have some advantages over the Chevy icon.The big Blue Oval rig has a slight edge when it comes to second-row headroom (40 inches) and legroom (42.6 inches with the seat slid all the way back). It also has a little more space for passengers to stretch their legs in the third row (40.9 inches when the second row is fully forward).

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2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid

Exterior view of the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid

Not everyone needs the cavernous expanses that the Suburban and Expedition MAX offer, so we thought it would be a good idea to focus on the rivalry between Honda and Toyota in a much different segment of the SUV market, one that attracts buyers looking for battery-assisted fuel economy in a relatively small package.

Like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the Honda CR-V Hybrid can seat five people, but it provides a little more comfort for them in most directions. The front row offers a RAV4-beating 38 inches of headroom and 57.9 inches of shoulder room. The CR-V comes out on top when it comes to first (41.3 inches) and second row (40.4 inches) legroom and hip room (55.1 inches and 49.5 inches, respectively), too. Considering the CR-V has a combined fuel economy rating of 38 mpg**, passengers in the second row will appreciate every number after those decimal points on long trips.

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2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Exterior view of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

It's not a total slam dunk for the Honda, though. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has a little more headroom (39.5 inches) and shoulder room (56.4 inches) in the back. But its biggest advantage over the CR-V is its superior cargo space. Going from the gas CR-V to the hybrid model significantly impacts its total cargo volume.

With all of its seats up, the Honda hybrid has 33.2 cubic feet of room for luggage and gear. That increases to 68.7 cubic feet when the back row is folded down. Even when its full of passengers, the RAV4 Hybrid still manages to provide 37.6 cubic feet of room for suitcases. When only the front row is occupied, maximum capacity swells to 69.8 cubic feet - plenty of space to pack for a road trip that takes advantage of the RAV4 Hybrid's combined fuel economy rating of 40 mpg**.

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2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600

Exterior view of the 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600

Last year, we had the pleasure of testing the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63. Aside from being a distinctive 603-horsepower European SUV, it was also a true seven-seater. It had plenty of space for adults in the power sliding and tilting second row and it offered a usable amount of legroom in the third row, which isn't something we can say about every three-row SUV we've driven.

The GLS 63's Maybach GLS 600 sibling takes rear legroom to a luxurious extreme. It's nearly the same size on the outside as the AMG hotrod, but devotes the interior space behind the front seats that normally accommodates two rows of adults to only two (or three, depending on configuration) lucky occupants.

The poshest setup is the standard 2+2 layout, which gives each rear passenger their own heated, ventilated and massaging reclining seat, power calf rest, heated and cooled cup holder and climate zone. The person on the passenger side can even tilt the seat in front of them forward to free up more legroom and engage what Mercedes calls the GLS 600's "limousine setting."

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*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.