Discount-Club Challenge: Compact SUVs

By David Thomas  on March 1, 2009

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Every few weeks, I get to shop at the local discount club and load up on 20-packs of paper towels, a few dozen chicken breasts and all those other essentials that cost less when you buy them in bulk. Chances are many of you also share in this routine, shopping regularly at Costco or Sam’s Club, but then have issues getting all your purchases — along with family members — into your car. Besides testing the fit of child-safety seats, this is one of those “you have to do it yourself” requirements in new-car shopping. Unfortunately, while dealers will usually let you install a seat into a prospective new car, they won’t let you run errands.

So we’ve done that for you in four compact SUVs: the 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander, 2009 Ford Escape, 2009 Nissan Rogue and 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan. We didn’t fold the second-row seats down, as any compact SUV would be able to handle the load doing that. We also wanted to show how capable these vehicles are as family cars. When you have to tow children with you to the store, you can’t fold down seats filled with booster, convertible or infant-safety seats buckled in. Even a family of four with teenagers still needs somewhere to sit.

Check out the video below and see how the four contenders managed.

Nissan Volkswagen Volkswagen Tiguan Ford Mitsubishi


Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David