There's no question that crossovers are hot. From subcompact crossovers all the way up to the big 7-8 passenger versions that can cram just about everything inside. But with the subcompact, compact, and even the mid-size crossovers, there's still some compromise when it comes to 2nd-row seats. It's as if automakers think everyone is only going to bring kids, dogs, or short adults along for the ride. 

A Tale of Two Vehicles

bmw x2 2nd row
We loved our time in the BMW X2, largely because we weren't in the back seat. It's small.

Many car shoppers just assume crossovers are bigger, but that's only true as a general rule. But let's take a closer look at sedans, for instance. Though they were once the sales leaders after pickup trucks, sedans are now painfully on the wane, to the point where automakers like Ford are killing them off to make room for more trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. We'll do a quick side-by-side here of the second-row dimensions, and we'll keep the comparison within the same automaker. 

2019 Toyota Camry (sedan)

  • Rear head room 38"
  • Rear shoulder room 56"
  • Rear hip room 55"
  • Rear leg room 38'"

Find Local Discounts on the Toyota Camry

2018 Toyota RAV4 (crossover)

  • Rear head room 39"
  • Rear shoulder room 55"
  • Rear hip room 49"
  • Rear leg room 37.2"

Find Local Discounts on the Toyota RAV4

Both vehicles are considered 5-passenger vehicles. The Camry's rear seat dimensions are better than the RAV4's in every category except for head room, where it loses to the RAV4 by only an inch. And the RAV4 is supposed to be taller since it's a crossover. 

Now, there are limitations with what you can do with a specific segment. You can't, after all, make a small crossover that much larger, since then it starts to enter the realm of midsize, and then so on. But it begs the question of why get a crossover if you have to compromise on room

More Cargo Space May Lead to Less Passenger Space

cx-3 second row
The Mazda CX-3 is a great crossover that's fun to drive. Just don't bring tall friends.

Crossovers generally have better cargo space due to the larger opening behind the rear seats (especially true for two-row crossovers), but something has to give when it comes to rear passenger space. Now, if your primary goals are cargo space, all-wheel drive, and a higher ride height, you can put rear passenger space on the backburner, but the problem is that the smaller crossover segments come with a distinct disadvantage if you want a solid amount of rear space. 

The RAV4 mentioned above has 38.4 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in place and a rather spacious 73.4 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. The Camry has just 15.1 cubic feet in the trunk. But if you ask a 6-foot tall adult to sit in the RAV4, things might get a little tight. That being said, the RAV4 does outsell the Camry, but we wish there was a bit more space back there. We'll miss sedans as they start to dwindle in the industry, so why can't automakers work on adding a bit more second-row space? 

Find Local Discounts on the Mazda CX-3