While it may be great to get a car with all the bells and whistles, it’s easy to forget about the simple things that really make a difference – such as the size of the boot.

With boots coming in all shapes and sizes these days, it’s a good idea to do your research to make sure a car is going to suit your lifestyle. Here’s everything you need to know.

How is a boot measured?

Boot sizes are usually measured in litres. A 300-litre boot is average for a small car, so you could think of that as a starting point.

This can sometimes seem a little abstract and the litre figure includes all the nooks and crannies which may be hard to make use of. Car-review site What Car? prefers to measure boots in terms of how many suitcases they’ll fit. An Audi A6 with a 520-litre boot can fit nine suitcases, for instance.

As most car specs don’t use this standard, a good rule of thumb if you need a spacious and practical boot is to combine a generous amount of litres with a straightforward shape.

What’s the best boot shape?

Ideally, you’re after something nice and square. A box shape is the easiest to work with. So, for example, look to see if the wheel arches take up boot space when taking a look at the car.

Also, when you open the boot fully, you want the load bay to be nice and flat: if you need to slide heavy or bulky items that are difficult to lift, it’s safer to be able to do it on a smooth surface, so watch for any awkward lips or steps. This also applies for when you put down the seats, so it’s worth giving that a go when viewing a car.

Which cars have the biggest boots?

As a rule of thumb, the bigger the car, the greater the boot space. Here’s a run-down of the size of boot space you can expect for each type of car:

  • City cars, such as the Fiat 500 or Volkswagen Up!, and small cars like the Ford Fiesta and Toyota Yaris, are unlikely to have the most spacious boots. That said, if you’re looking for a small vehicle that is roomy too, you can read about the most spacious small cars here.
  • With family cars, the boot size begins at roughly 300 litres – the same as the average for a standard small car. Among the largest boot sizes in this category is the Skoda Octavia, which has a generous 600 litres of space. Another family car with an impressive boot is the Kia ProCeed, with a 594-litre load bay.
  • Executive cars, such as the Ford Mondeo, tend to have a boot space of 400 litres and up. The Tesla S is really showing off in this category, with a vast 804-litre boot. However, this is above average for executive cars, with the usual maximum being little over 600 litres.
  • If you’re looking at estate cars, the majority of boots are 500+ litres. At the top end, the Skoda Superb Estate’s boot has a whopping 660 litres. The Volkswagen Passat Variant comes close with a 650-litreboot.
  • If you’re after a compact sports utility vehicle (SUV), the boot space might be less generous than you’d expect, with many vehicles having less than 400 litres. The Honda CR-V, on the other hand, has a spacious 589-litre boot, which balloons to 1,669 litres with the seats down.
  • Large SUVs usually have much more storage space than their compact counterparts. Most large SUV boots are greater than 500 litres, with the 5-seat Kia Sorento sporting 821 litres. Also, the Volkswagen Touareg has a roomy 810-litre boot. The boot space is usually more limited in 7-door SUVs.
  • Multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) tend to have the most boot space before you get into van territory. Also known as ‘people carriers’, these have on average 700 to 1,300 litres of capacity. The 4-seater SsangYong Rodius, for example, has a vast 1,975-litre boot. And the Fiat Doblo’s boot space expands to an impressive 3,200 litres when the seats are put down. In fact, the Doblo is recommended by Motability due to the relative ease of fitting in wheelchairs and other mobility vehicles.

How can I maximise my boot space?

It can take a bit of ingenuity and patience to organise your boot and make the most of the space you have. It can really help if you keep your boot contents tidy, so, it’s worth considering getting a boot organiser. It can make it easier to find things in a hurry, too. You can check out the Auto Express best boot organiser picks here.

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