Tesla Model Y vs Subaru Outback: Cargo

TL;DR:, It’s a tie (with cheating on the MY side). All the suitcases in the picture fit in either car.

Upgrading from a Subaru Outback to a Tesla Model Y one of the concerns was that the Y has a smaller cargo space. Do the frunk and the trunk wells make up for the tapered roof and the narrower trunk? When we go camping, I do fill up the Subaru. 5 people, tent, sleeping bags, pads, coolers, dry food, water, kitchen, fuel, maybe chairs, some toys, day packs, fire wood. For easier handling, I brought out my suitcases instead of all the camping gear and tried with 3 carry on sized, 4 medium, and 2 large (max checkable size). All suitcases were empty and not expanded. Rear seats are up in both cars (despite what the image above may imply)

Suitcases in front of Subaru Outback and Tesla Model Y
Will they fit? Tesla Model Y (2020) vs Subaru Outback (2011) The seats are down on this picture in the Subaru, but I loaded both cars with rear seats up (steepest angle possible)

Loading the Subaru Outback is straightforward. You just pile them in, starting with the big ones. And there is still a spare wheel hidden in the trunk well.

Loading the Tesla is tricky. Neither the frunk nor the trunk wells fit a medium suitcase, so there is a bit of wasted space there. They each take a small one. If you just pile the rest into the trunk, you can’t get them all in. I tried many ways. Two of the mediums will have to stay home. However, there is some wasted space below the trunk floor boards. If I remove those, I can fit the suitcases (The Tesla unfortunately doesn’t have a spare wheel there)

The Tesla shines when going skiing with 4 people. The Subaru has a 40/60 split, and two people on the 60 are very tight. The MY can lower the middle, so you can put a ski bag there, and still comfortably fit 2 adults in the back. My ski bag is 190cm long, and I only had one pair of skis inside, but I think it could handle 4 pairs. You can still add 4 medium and 3 carry on sized bags in addition (with the trunk floor boards in). Of course with the Subaru mounting a ski rack is trivial and keeps the wet skis out of the inside of the car. Probably still the preferred solution.

For good measure, I dumped my street bike into the back, too. Two bikes on top of each other will work no problem (but require some strength and/or teamwork to get them out).

Your mileage will vary depending on your exact luggage formats, but I put in about the same number of cubic feet in each car. The Subaru has a better shape (more like a cube) vs the Tesla with nooks and crannies.

The Subaru has a trunk well, too. Take the spare wheel out (MY has none), and you gain more space, if you need it. Probably better to keep the wheel, though.

The Subaru comes with cross bars and mounting a box, ski rack, or just a large suitcase is trivial. If you buy a carved wooden life size mountain lion on your road trip, just tie it to the roof. The roof rack for the MY looks like it will break the glass)

It is amazing how many suitcases we do have, though.

The 2 big ones are from when we had strollers (buggies) and packed everything for 2 adults 3 kids for winter vacation into two suitcases that one parent can pull, with the other handling the kids and stroller. Haven’t used them since.

The four medium are for heavy gear (winter) vacation. One per person, plus a small one for the youngest. This is not a lot of luggage when you go skiing for two weeks with 4 people. The boots and helmet alone fill a small suitcase.

Last Updated on May 4, 2021.