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Cars and SUVs That Are Bigger Outside Than Inside

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2015-05-01 Jason Udy

2016 Ford Explorer © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Ford Explorer

Some cars feature dimensions smaller than their competitive set — and sometimes even a smaller class — while others feel snug because of the interior layout. Fact is, some of the biggest cars don’t seem very roomy on the inside. Here are 10 of those. What cars do you think feel smaller on the inside than their exteriors would suggest?

Ford Taurus

2015 Ford Taurus © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Ford Taurus

Although the Ford Taurus is classified as a full-size sedan, the midsize Fusion is roomier inside. In fact, the Ford Fusion has more front headroom (0.2 inch more) and more front legroom (2.4 inches more) than the Taurus. Although both cars have identical rear headroom, the Fusion has 0.2 inch of additional rear legroom. In our last comparison we said: “The Taurus was also low on features, and many found the front seating area cramped, as well, with an oversized center console and protruding dash. … You’d get better bang for the buck in the midsize segment.”

2015 Ford Taurus © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Ford Taurus

Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon/Cadillac Escalade

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD LTZ © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD LTZ

Despite their road presence, GM’s full-size body-on-frame SUVs aren’t as roomy inside as the automaker’s unit-body three-row crossovers. The Chevrolet Tahoe’s first- and second-row legroom is unmatched, but the Chevrolet Traverse has 8.4 inches more third-row legroom and 8.9 cubic feet more cargo space behind the third row. Although the Tahoe’s body-on-frame construction and V-8 make it a good choice for those who put a priority on towing over passenger space, the Traverse makes more sense for those who often carry lots of people but don’t need the towing capacity. For those who need both, there is always the Suburban, a vehicle with a large exterior and larger interior .

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD LTZ © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD LTZ

Ford Expedition/Lincoln Navigator

2015 Ford Expedition © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Ford Expedition

The Ford Expedition offers more third-row legroom than the Chevrolet Tahoe (37.7 inches versus 24.8 inches) but loses 3.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the third row. The Expedition also rides on a 1.9-inch longer wheelbase and is 2.0 inches longer overall. Although the Expedition has more third-row legroom than its Ford Flex stablemate, better packaging in the Flex makes the third row much more comfortable for adults. The Flex also has more second-row legroom (44.3 inches versus 39.1 inches) and 1.4 cubic feet more cargo area.

2015 Ford Expedition © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Ford Expedition

Ford Explorer

2015 Ford Explorer © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Ford Explorer

Although the Ford Explorer has slightly more front legroom (0.1 inch) and second-row legroom (0.7 inch) than the larger Expedition and its third-row legroom narrowly misses that of the Flex (minus 0.1 inch), it doesn’t feel as roomy inside as the Flex or many other third-row crossovers. In fact, the Explorer suffers from the same oversized center console as the Taurus. Not surprising, as the Explorer is loosely based on the same architecture as Ford’s flagship sedan. In a previous test we said: “The Explorer is one-tenth of an inch wider than even the full-size body-on-frame Expedition. But all that wideness doesn't exactly translate inside. The cabin, while comfortable, does feel a bit cozy. The width also results in an annoyingly prominent doorsill that forces drivers and passengers to step over the sill to get out.”

2015 Ford Explorer © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Ford Explorer

Lamborghini Aventador

2014 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700 4 Roadster © Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700 4 Roadster

No one expects a mid-engine two-seat sports to be roomy. The Lamborghini Aventador makes our list because of its sheer girth. The Aventador measures 79.9 inches wide. That is the same width as a Ford F-Series Super Duty pickup with single rear wheels. Try fitting three people across in your Aventador.

2014 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700 4 Roadster © Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700 4 Roadster

Ford Focus

2015 Ford Focus Sedan Side View © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Ford Focus Sedan Side View

Although the Ford Focus is one of our favorite cars in the segment (especially in ST form), the compact sedan and hatch don’t offer as much interior space as some of its rivals. Despite having a wheelbase and overall length within 1.0 inch of the Honda Civic, the Focus has 3.0 inches less rear seat legroom. The Toyota Corolla with a 2.0-inch longer wheelbase has 8.2 inches more rear legroom than the Focus.

2015 Ford Focus Sedan Interior 2 © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Ford Focus Sedan Interior 2

Chevrolet Cruze

2015 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ

The Chevrolet Cruze is another compact sedan that feels even smaller inside than its exterior would suggest. At 181 inches long, the Cruze is among the longest cars in the segment; it has a 0.6-inch longer wheelbase than the Honda Civic, yet the Cruze has nearly an inch less legroom. While that doesn’t sound like much, the Civic’s nearly flat floor accommodates three adults much better than the larger Cruze.

2015 Chevrolet Cruze © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Chevrolet Cruze

Hyundai Sonata/Kia Optima

2015 Hyundai Sonata © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Hyundai Sonata

With a 110.4- and 110.0-inch wheelbase, respectively, the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima are classified as midsize cars, but despite their interior volume, both cars have less rear seat legroom than compact Civic and Corolla sedans. The rear seats also feel snugger than the Civic and Corolla’s. The Kia twins do have more front seat interior room and rear seat hip- and shoulder room than the compact cars.

2015 Hyundai Sonata © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Hyundai Sonata

Mazda6

2016 Mazda6 © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Mazda6

Despite having a 2.1-inch longer wheelbase than the Honda Accord and slightly more rear seat legroom (0.2 inch), the Mazda6 feels much cozier inside. With a small center hump, the Accord’s center rear seat is more comfortable for adults than the Mazda6’s center seat, which is best reserved for a child seat. In our last comparison test we said, “The back seat, too, was judged tops in comfort and support, though there’s no denying it trails the Camry and Accord in overall roominess.”

2015 Mazda6 Rear Seat © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Mazda6 Rear Seat

Buick Verano

2015 Buick Verano © Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Buick Verano

After spending nine months with one, the Buick Verano is a car we love to hate. With a 105.7-inch wheelbase and at 183.9 inches overall, the Verano is larger than most mainstream compacts but smaller than a midsize car. With 34.7 inches of rear legroom, the Verano trails the Civic (36.2 inches) and the Corolla (41.4 inches). Some average-size adults also complain about rear seat ingress and egress. Up front, the Verano’s dashboard and center console give it a snug feeling.

2014 buick verano © Provided by MotorTrend 2014 buick verano

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