Cargo Covers: Love 'Em or Loathe 'Em?


While recently test-driving the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, I kept getting smacked in the nose by its hard-plastic cargo cover every time I reached into the cargo area.

The cargo cover rose to my nose's height every time I opened the liftgate, so I couldn't get cargo in or out without clocking myself. Eventually I clued in and removed the cover, which is what happens with every test car I get that has one. My husband finds cargo covers even more annoying that I do.

For our purposes, cargo covers are simply in the way. But I've been thinking: What's up with cargo covers? Are there people who like them, or do most people find them troubling like we do?

After copious research — an inquisitive email sent to friends and colleagues — I discovered that the cargo cover is one of our country's most divisive issues. Respondents had strong opinions on them and were split down the middle. That's right; 50% proclaimed a great love of cargo covers, and the others are as troubled by them as I've been.

Based on my detailed analysis of respondents' responses, people with one child tend to like cargo covers more than those with two or more children. Here's what the respondents like about cargo covers:

  • It's useful if you live in a larger city and park on crowded streets. It hides the valuables that you don't want curious eyes to see.
  • If you prefer things tidy, a cargo cover can help hide the mess. Easy-peasy.

Detractors list these reasons as why they dislike the covers:

  • The presence of a cargo cover can make installing the top tether of child-safety seats difficult. It's often hastily removed with a few profane words tossed about during the car-seat installation.
  • A cargo cover's utility can be made quickly obsolete if you have large or tall things to carry. For instance, one respondent finds she can't ever fit hockey bags or ski bags in the cargo area if a cover is in use, so she instantly removes the cover.
  • Cargo covers that lift with the rear liftgate — often found in crossovers like the Evoque and hatchbacks like the Fiat 500 — can be more frustrating. (And give your nose a run for its money.)

The bottom line is that one's love or loathing of cargo covers seems most dependent on location and lifestyle. You might love them, you might not. If you're undecided, a cargo cover is typically an affordable option on many cars. You can add one to a 2014 Kia Sorento for $125. Luxury cars like the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class and the 2013 Lexus RX 450h include cargo covers as standard. So go ahead and find out for yourself; you could be one of the 50%.

Research the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 
2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque: Family Checklist 
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The retractable soft plastic cargo cover in my Lexus RX is a nice touch, I don't have to remove it and try to squeeze it in somewhere when loading tall stuff in the trunk,,,even when the second row is folded down, the cover (once retracted) is so compact that it can sit easily on the floor behind the front seats, or just on top of the load...


My Mazda CX-5 didn't come with a cargo cover, but I bought it as soon as I saw it installed. It's attached to the hatch, and actually stretches up when we open the hatch. It retracts back to its original position when the hatch is closed. I never have to manage it, it's great! If there's a taller item to carry, I simply unclip it from the hatch and it retracts completely out of the way. FABULOUS design, the best I've ever seen.

Keeps cargo noises down in the car too. A must buy in my book!

Jeff Stanley

my comment also was the retractable cargo covers Subaru offers with it's Outback wagons are the way to go

Alexander J. Hamilton

The cargo cover on our Honda Fit Sport models (2009 and 2013) is well integrated with the design features of the rest of the car and forms a separate trunk compartment when the hatchback is closed that can be reconfigured, as needed, if the 73 cubic feet of the Fit is needed for transporting bulkier cargo with the rear seat(s) folded down, for example. In our experience with the cargo covers, they have been used for at least 95% of our use of these vehicles. The Honda Fit’s trunk compartment (with the cargo cover) will store a week’s worth of groceries for a family of four and luggage for an extended vacation, either for a trip on the road or for transport to the airport, for, say, a European trip. Therefore, The cargo cover is a very worthwhile option, if one desires a separate compartment for a true trunk, without giving up the other configuration options for the Honda Fit and its amazing space for hauling large objects, such as sofas or refrigerators. The Honda Fit’s cargo cover design is part of a 25 year evolution of the design of the Honda Fit vehicle platform that other auto manufacturers cannot cite for their own accessory designs. The Honda Fit's cargo cover is an integral accessory option, while other auto manufacturers have inferior pastiche cargo covers, which are afterthoughts to their vehicle's designs. If you want a true trunk compartment, a cargo cover is a good investment. Honda, for example, has had a cargo cover option available since 1988 for its hatchback vehicles. The same cannot be said for newer, but inferior, "knockoffs" of the original Honda cargo cover design. Our experience with the Honda Fit’s cargo cover is an essential accessory for the Fit. I think that it can be said that there is Honda and “all the rest,” so cargo cover accessories probably vary greatly for the less thought out cargo cover designs that other vehicle manufacturers offer as an option for their vehicles. The typical cost of a Honda Fit cargo cover is less than 1% of the total car purchase, depending upon the Honda Fit configuration that one selects, so the cost of this essential accessory is “ down in the noise,” when purchasing a new Honda Fit.


The best cargo cover I've experienced was in my 2006 Scion XA. It was retractable and high quality. All cargo covers should be made like that.

Bonsai - Where did you find your retractable cargo cover for your 2006 Scion XA? I am looking for just that!


@TH -
My mother has a 2010 RX450h, but she hates cargo covers, so she took it out. I, however, find it handy every now and then, and I like how the tailgate itself has a second piece of the cover so that the cargo is completely out of sight, instead of just sort of hidden. What year is your RX?

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