By on September 26, 2012


The 1st generation Honda Insight seems tiny compared to anything short of a Fiat 500.

Yet I do a lot of driving with it. Commuting. Shopping. A whole lot of errands and an occasional light haul are all par for the daily course.

As for the hatch… I only use it for the really big stuff.

The proverbial pecking order goes like this.

I use the passenger seat for paperwork and other small items.

The floor is used for the big, heavier bulky items.

If someone needs to ride with me, which is rare, I just put the paperwork on the far left side of the floor or wedge it between the seat and the center panel.

So I’m not much for the ‘junk in the trunk’ club. But what about you? How often do you use your trunk? Or hatch? Or whatever you call that large elongated rear end of yours?

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51 Comments on “Question Of The Day: How Often Do You Use… Your Trunk?...”

  • avatar

    Wife: ALWAYS as she keeps the kids stroller & boxes of toys in the car:

    me: Almost never. motorcycle trunk (underseat) space is approximately 1-2″ high by 2-3″ wide by 4-5″ long. Unless you count the backpack I wear with my work clothes in it. The only thing I keep in the “trunk” is registration/insurance card, the factory toolkit, a mini flashlight and a chain alignment tool for long trips. I could easily probably fit those in my jacket pockets if I wanted to.

    Car trunk (my winter commuter) almost never uses the trunk except to carry the factory-stock spare (does that count?)

    • 0 avatar

      I always keep my briefcase/computer bag (and pretty much any other bag or box) in my trunk and out of sight. No reason to advertise what may or may not be in the bag. A friend of mine recently stopped at a coffee shop for five minutes, came back to his car to find the rear window broken and his bag if dirty gym clothes stolen. Out of sight, out of mind is my motto. I use the rear seat to lay my suit jacket or sport coat flat while driving.

  • avatar

    Before I had a kid, rarely. Now, constantly.

  • avatar

    All it took was one wreck with a lot of stuff in the car cabin. Now it all goes in the trunk unless it’s soft enough to not matter (like a sweatshirt or a roll of paper towels).

  • avatar

    Due to safety concerns, everything I carry with me is securely locked in the trunk. If you have a bad accident, your briefcase may kill you.

    I especially like using the trunk in my two-seater (SLK350) — it is more convenient than putting items behind the seats. Sometimes bulkier items don’t fit with the top down, so I put them on the passenger side floor.

  • avatar

    I almost always have a box of tools back there.

    I do often put my laptop back and lunch bag on the front seat though. But as other posters have said, for safety purposes, everything should probably go in the trunk (which is fine for my 240, but a mute point for the 1800ES).

  • avatar

    Damn dude I can’t believe you would admit to using your car in such a way..haha. Pretty low class – sure I see other slobs doing that but you are writing an article for a car site. A back seat is for passengers. Trunk is for stuff. So I use the trunk for stuff in cars that have them.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I often use my two seat MB 450SL as a grocery getter on weekends. It has a relatively large trunk and easily holds eight full paper grocery bags without crushing anything together.
    I use the trunk of my commuter car for my shoulder computer bag and misc items I carry to work. I like to keep the inside of the cars clutter free.

  • avatar
    Toy Maker

    groceries , music gears, skateboard , take out orders , emergency kits.. I try to use the trunk as much as possible.
    Out of sight from prying eyes, less chance of spills on top upholstery, less dirty than putting things on the floor, and easier on the back when loading / unloading. (my car has a near flat loading trunk).

  • avatar

    The trunk in my ’12 Jetta is used daily, and its usefulness is helped by the CarGo system (plastic divider blocks held to the trunk mat with Velcro backing). Gym bag, groceries, misc stuff…always in transit and locked out of sight.

  • avatar

    We own two hatchbacks and a pickup so no real trunk to speak of… but before with our Passat the trunk was were the amp and subwoofer went, plus some Prestone since the car had slow coolant leak. Really the only time the trunk gets stuff in it was: shopping or trips (suitcases). I don’t carry much of stuff in my vehicles, just my laptop or some fishing gear every now and then. I’ve got a small tool kit under the seat in my truck along with some heavy duty rope just in case I have to drag someone (or myself) off a slippery boat ramp.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    My pecking order for the 2007 Accent hatchback is pretty much the same: lighter stuff in the passenger seat, bigger stuff in the front floor, tools under the front seats, and longer/bulkier stuff in the back. I’m idly thinking about taking the rear seats out completely and building a flat load floor. First thing I did after I bought the car was to remove that silly vanity cover under the hatch.

  • avatar

    I always use the trunk. My rule is that nothing should be visible inside the interior of my car when it is parked that didn’t come with the car. I’ve lived lots of places where cars get broken into in a matter of minutes when left unattended, but I haven’t had one of my cars broken into in about 25 years.

  • avatar

    I park in inner city Detroit, often on the street, so using the trunk is kinda a necessity for me. Before I leave the car I conduct a sweep making sure there is nothing visible in the car, for example loose change-a guaranteed window breaker, any type of charger, when I used to smoke cigarettes-another guaranteed window breaker, or any clothing. By keeping nothing visible in my car and securing it all in the trunk it has been nearly two years since my car has been broken into.

  • avatar

    I use my trunk at least weekly, and the trunk size is critical to me. At a minimum I need to pack a baritone sax, a tenor sax, a clarinet, two sax stands and a music stand. Sometimes an alto sax is added to the load. This are things that are best hidden from view if the car is parked. My Camry SE takes it all and unless they see me loading, no one knows what’s there.

  • avatar


    My car: ’04 Ion sedan – trunk always has tire chains, blankets, a hammock (emergency nap!), jumper cables and a shovel. Anything ‘spensive gets put there too (out of sight, out of mind) and any long purchases start out there to shove the rear seatbacks down. Dirty stuff stays there to keep the “leather” clean.

    My wife’s car: ’12 Outback – Groceries, shopping bags, ski boots (yay for deep rubber trunk liners) and soon enough strollers and assorted baby junk. Much easier to get things in and out of the trunk than the back seat and keeps the upholstery clean.

    My motorcycle: ’06 Yamaha FJR1300 – tail bag usually has an assortment of bike-specific tools (allen wrenches, ungodly-big socket for the rear axle, 17mm “allen-wrench” for the front axle made out of a big bolt and high-grade nuts..) and rain gear; saddle bags carry groceries, my lunch box, rain/wind/cold-weather liner, a Buff or two, whichever pair of gloves I’m not wearing and a fleece neck gaiter in the winter. Glove compartment in the main fairing carries a steel cable and lock for my jacket & helmet if I have to leave them on the bike.

  • avatar

    The xB1 trunk is great for hauling a case of beer or a folding lawn chair.

  • avatar

    My trunk is where I put my luggage on long trips, and my haul from mall/other retail shopping. Groceries take up the back seat, and beer is always in the trunk. Oh and my light roadside tool kit and jumper leads stay in the trunk too, almost forgot.

  • avatar

    I always have the back seats folded up in the Jeep so that I actually have a trunk and in that trunk you will always find a box with bungee cords, tie down straps, and tow straps (useful in the winter). During the summer, you can often find some folding chairs in there as well.

    Anything more than just some paperwork (or leftovers that I am bringing for lunch) gets put in the trunk.

  • avatar

    We use the waybacks (a minivan and a Prius) pretty often but nothing is stored there except first aid kits (each car has a cubby for such things).

    It’s a nice feature of the minivan that the windows past the B pillars are privacy windows and there’s a pretty nifty cargo cover for the Prius that I leave in place pretty much all the time. When all I have is the computer bag, it goes behind the driver’s seat. When the minivan is left unattended, the privacy glass is good enough but when the Prius is left unattended, the computer bag and anything that seems remotely tempting goes into the wayback, under the cover.

  • avatar

    A better question might be other than Steve, who doesn’t use their trunk?

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Pretty much everything goes into the trunk for safety and security reasons. Occasionally, if I’m only going a few blocks, my briefcase will go on the floor behind the driver’s seat.

  • avatar

    I keep a small emergency kit, window washer / squeegee, a snow brush in winter and some shopping bags all out of site in the hatch / trunk. I have some often used charging do-dats in the door side pockets but as a rule the inside of the car is kept clean. Mostly the laptop bag goes in the trunk but sometimes it goes on the front seat.
    The Hatch cover comes off and back seats (one side or both – depending) come down for Costco / Ikea runs.
    I definitely use the trunk as often as needed. The hatch cover keeps things out of site.

  • avatar

    I remember a long time ago my uncle visited us from Southern California in his 1965 Malibu 6 3-speed. We all took a trip to Mount Rainier in it, and when dirivng it I found out that third gear was too high and second was too low a ratio. The car really had its work cut out for it hauling the four of us up the mountain. Finally Uncle Pete said, “Well, I suppose I could have left my carpenter’s tools at home…..” That 200-pound toolbox hadn’t helped matters any.

  • avatar

    My trunk has had the extreme pleasure of storing a CISCO Metro E based Router that AT&T has yet to pick up in over 6 months from my site.

    Anyone wan’t a router…real cheap. LOL

    • 0 avatar

      LOL – I’ve had over $500K worth of SAN equipment in the back of my BMW station wagon at times. Got to love Enterprise class SSDs at $10K+ a pop. Obviously did not leave the car unattended, and work has umbrella coverage for this sort of thing.

      But in general, I am of the “it goes in the back” school. Both of my wagons have cargo blinds that hide the contents of the “trunk”. The BMW has cargo hooks, a tray liner, and bungie netting back there too. Wouldn’t want the cargo sliding around under high G forces now would we! The Jeep can’t pull enough Gs to matter.

  • avatar

    After having been in a couple of accidents where loose items in the passenger area have struck me or someone else in the car, I learned my lesson and if it’s not essential, it goes in the trunk.

    I park in a not so great part of downtown GR, so nothing is left out to be seen. Outside of my normal stuff in the car, cheapo sunglasses and packs of gum and a $99 AM/FM/CD player from Mickey Shorr’s, anything of any value goes in the trunk.

    On weekends, I am a special-needs soccer coach, I have weekly games that I need to transfer everything from my house to the fields. Since I have a two door sport coupe, everything goes in the trunk, and the ball bags take up the back seat. I have enough room for one passenger on Saturday mornings.

    Depending upon my schedule that month, I find myself cramming my touring 5-piece Ludwig drum kit into the trunk and backseat of my car at least a couple of times. And I do mean cram…

    I think maybe I should look at a minivan next time around. All this cramming stuff into my trunk and backseat is killing my back!

    • 0 avatar

      “I find myself cramming my touring 5-piece Ludwig drum kit”

      Is it vintage? A buddy owned a mid-60’s set of Trixons since new.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey Zackman! Your friend with the Trixons has really got something! Those things are super cool. They bear hanging onto.

        My first kit was an early 60’s Ludwig, I was in several bands with it, beat the living crap out of it. Then, I sold it to make rent… To replace it today, it would cost a few grand…

        The kit I have now is a 3 year old Ludwig Accent. No longer made in Chicago, but sturdy and I don’t feel bad if beat them up during transit.

  • avatar

    The joke was always, “You know someone’s a true New Englander when you look in their trunk and find an ice scraper – even in July”. And, indeed, there is an ice scraper in the 9-5’s trunk 365 days a year.

  • avatar

    I like big trunks and I cannot lie :)

    From laptops, to travel luggage, shopping to a toolkit and tire repair stuff – my trunk is never empty.

  • avatar

    Death to goose-neck trunk hinges! In Vancouver you learn to keep everything out-of-sight lest they be boosted. So, if it doesn`t fit in the glove box or the armrest it goes in the trunk.

  • avatar

    Does a hatchback count in the context of the question?

    I keep a stroller in the back of my Fit at all times. Reusable shopping bags. My bass rig goes back there.
    So I use it a lot. Maybe not every day, but it’s where stuff is stored, or stuff is hauled, or stuff is shoved to get it out of the way.

    I will only ever drive hatches.

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    Short Answer: ALWAYS.

    Long Answer:
    The cabin is for passengers only. My gym bag, laptop bag and anything else that is considered cargo goes in the cargo area. It makes the car less of a target for thieves. I only carry stuff in the cabin if it’s maybe one or two bags (groceries) that I know I will be taking out the minute I reach my destination.

    Secondly, it keeps the interior looking neat and presentable. I’m always appalled at how many people I know drive in their car while it is literally a rolling dumpster with garbage (drink cups, used napkins, and I fear what other stuff is buried beneath the rubbish) strewn about the floor and on the seats.

  • avatar
    dash riprock

    My Clubs! Judging from the previous 31 replies I am the only person who reads TTAC and plays golf.

  • avatar

    My ’08 RAV4 came with all the cargo goodies in the back, and it’d be a waste to not utilize that cargo area concealed by the retractable soft cover. Golf clubs fit just barely, and the “subfloor” storage cubby contains my roadside gear, electric tire inflator, surprisingly useful tarp, even more surprisingly useful folding stool, and other junk (it’s a good-sized storage area).

    The flatly contoured seats and floor in the rest of the vehicle are not good places for anything of importance, and I’ve learned over the years that anything that can be seen is subject to theft, regardless of value, so everything goes in the back or in a covered compartment, which thankfully the RAV4 has no shortage of.

  • avatar

    A blanket, battery cables, tow strap, flares, extra coat & ski cap in the winter, at least two ice scrapers and a shovel. One of those reusable shopping bags I always forget to take in the store when I do go, thereby winding up with extra small can liners from those plastic bags when I get home.

    I leave nothing visible in the car that doesn’t belong there, but on gym days, my gym bag goes behind the driver’s seat. A thief has to be pretty desperate to take my sweaty clothes, and he’ll get what he deserves if he does…

  • avatar

    backpack on the floor behind teh drivers seat. dog in the back seat (not teathered – i know a real danger but that is how it is. permanent in the way back: jumper cables and tow strap (hey it’s minnesota). when traveling all the clothes go back there and the boots.

    how often do i use the wagon for hauling. let’s just say a lot. i dont have a pickup but i routinely bring home building materials for house and farm projects, haul instruments (cello, bass) and occasionally neighborhood kids with their assorted backpacks. it gets a workout.

    i cannot fathom a sedan and as a former caddy i have neither the inclination or time for golf

  • avatar

    Everydamnday. I hate having stuff in the cabin not because I frequent sketchy neighborhoods but because I have OCD, so my trunk gets used everyday. Work bag, gym bag, groceries, shopping bags, guitars, bike gear … all regularly gets thrown in there. I’ve come to a conclusion that a wagon/CUV isn’t a necessity if you have a big enough trunk and don’t need to haul large objects.

  • avatar

    Caravan is my daily driver, so technically never. How often do I pop the rear hatch and load stuff in from there? Probably every other day. I’ve removed the 3rd row because it’s more a cargo hauler than people mover.
    When I did have a car with a trunk I rarely used it until I moved. After two break ins and God knows how many attempts, I used it religiously.

  • avatar

    I use my trunk to take mailbags from where I work to the post office. It also hauls parts so I don’t have to hear them clatter around in the back seat. When I’m doing car photo shoots (purely for hobby) I store my camera bag in the passenger footwell, tripod and sandbag in the trunk, and a ladder diagonally from back to front seats. I actually would have a solid reason for owning a wagon if I did either of those things more than once a week/month.

  • avatar

    I use my trunk everyday.

    My dad has a ’99 A4 (bought new) and that thing has the trunk of a Crown Vic. It can fit two giant overstuffed Ski Boot Duffle Bags (like an xxl suitcase) and 4 pairs of skis in the passthrough.

  • avatar

    Recently traded in my civic coupe for a more convenient hatch style Golf MK4. I like to haul my bike inside the car so that is why I went hatch style. Love the car but now that I have the convenience of a hatch (and the easy of a shorter car), I want to go smaller with some think like a Yaris, Fiat 500 or better yet, a Smart ForTwo — and put a hitch mount bike rack on the back. Other than the bike, the back hatch is used for a few articles. Any car can haul groceries and general items. Next time I’m car shopping I will ask: Exactly, how much car do I need to do what I do? And if I need more, I can always rent a minivan.

  • avatar

    Have an SUV… In the cargo area I carry a small tote with a quart of oil, a gallon of antifreeze, a mini air compressor,some gloves and other miscellaneous items. Carry a small tool box with basic hand tools. I also carry a small (<2ft long) quick lift floor jack. That thing has saved my butt several times. Much, much easier, safer, and quicker to change a flat tire with than the rickety factory jack.

  • avatar

    When I have my laptop with me, and I’m taking it with me when I leave the car, it rides in the back seat(328 coupe). If I have it with me and I’m leaving it in the car, everything goes into the trunk but the sunglasses, which go into the LH map pocket, unseen until you’re in the seat. About once a month, I have to fold the rear seatbacks down to carry oversize things. This is Boston, so I have a factory trunk tray to take wet boots and other winter stuff I don’t want staining the cockpit.

    I never lock the glove box. I only keep the owner handbooks, a small Maglite, and wine bottle opener, and camping knife in it. A friend with a similar car locked his, came back from a restaurant to find one window busted, and the glove box pried open. He had to replace a big part of the instrument panel, as a result. $500 deductible, plus the insurance company’s share. And, rattles he didn’t have before the new portion of the panel was replaced.

  • avatar

    A lot. I hate having stuff cluttering up the interior, so I pop the trunk and stick it in there, out of sight, out of mind. Lately, I’ve even been sticking my briefcase in there. One less bit of clutter in the passenger cabin.

  • avatar

    All I can say is…….WOW! I’ll stick to the junkyard finds.

  • avatar

    I’d say our Element spends about half its time as a people-mover. But the other half, with the seats flipped up it’s hauling bikes, building supplies, gymnastic equipment, luggage, etc.

  • avatar

    The insight trunk is HUGE (at least in terms of usability, possibly in terms of cubic feet) compared to my Miata. :D

  • avatar
    George B

    I use my trunk frequently, but rarely use the entire available volume. I carry my computer home from work and putting the laptop bag someplace hidden is essential if I plan to stop somewhere after work. Same issue if I plan to combine several stops in one shopping trip.

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