Will My Fat Bike Fit? | 25 Compact SUVs Tested

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Not everyone can exit their back door, hop on their fattie and ride . . . but we all wish we could.  Most of us throw our bike on a rack or inside our vehicle and drive to the trailhead.

For the last number of years my Jeep Patriot has faithfully carried me and my fat bike to the local trails and on other fatbiking adventures.


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During the non-winter season I carry my bike on a hitch mounted rack and during the winter I carry it inside the vehicle to protect it from nasty road salt.  Carrying it inside also offers a measure of security against unsavory characters.


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When I decide it's time to retire my Patriot, one of the main criteria for a new vehicle will be the actual size of the interior – will a fat bike fit inside with the back seat down and front tire removed.  Other vehicle considerations will include:

- Sub $30,000 (CAD) compact SUV
- Automatic transmission
- Four-cylinder engine for fuel economy
- Ability to mount a trailer hitch for bike rack

An on-line search revealed many vehicles that met the above criteria, however an actual hands-on approach was needed to see if a fat bike would actually fit. The fat specimen used for this test was a size large Garneau Gros Louis 0 sporting 26 x 80 rims with 4.5" tires.

I also tested a few non-SUVs and was rather surprised with the results.

Buick

I did not actually look at Buick on-line, but driving by the dealership one day I decided to swing in to see if anything fit the bill.  On the showroom floor was a tiny 2018 Buick Encore.  With the back seat down the fattie would not fit, but folding the passenger seat flat the bike squeezed inside and allowed me to close the rear hatch.  Not a heck of a lot of room for anything else though - including passengers.


Encore
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Chevrolet

Hitting the on-line criteria for Chevrolet was the Trax – which is the almost identical cousin to the Buick Encore.  I dropped into the local dealer after speaking to a salesperson and they had a 2019 Trax ready for fitting. Opening up the rear hatch the interior looked the same size as the Encore.  Dropping the rear and front passenger seats the bike did fit with the front wheel removed.


Trax
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Upon closer inspection I noticed that the rear wheel was actually touching the edge of the driver’s seat - which may be problematic with studded tires.


Trax Interior
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Ford

Heading over to the Blue Oval dealership I had my eye on the compact EcoSport and the infamous Escape.  One look at the interior of the 2019 EcoSport and I determined that the bike would not fit – it’s really tiny.


EcoSport
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Dropping the rear seat of a 2019 Escape, the cargo area looked surprisingly large.  I was advised by the salesperson that the 2018 Escape actually had a flat folding rear deck while the 2019 has a slight rise.  However, it still fit with a little extra room lengthwise and plenty of space laterally.


Escape
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GMC

The Terrain is the entry level SUV for General Motors, is pretty much identical to the Chevrolet Equinox and is a much larger than the Trax/Encore. With the rear seat folded down there was no problem to fit a fat bike and associated gear.  The bars even lay flat on the floor.


Terrain
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Honda

I visited the Honda dealership to take a peek at the HR-V and the larger CR-V. While the 2019 HR-V is the baby of the Honda line-up, it surprised me with having an overabundance of interior space with the back seat folded down.  There was almost 6” of space between the bar end and the hatch.

HR-V
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With the bike fitting inside the HR-V it was obvious that the larger 2019 CR-V would have no problem either.  There was almost 10” between the bar end and the hatch with a little extra wiggle room on each side.


CR-V
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Hyundai

The 2019 Kona looked pretty sweet on-line and the interior dimensions seemed to be promising.  Visiting the dealership I took peek at the actual interior space and it looked a little smaller than I anticipated.  The bike did not fit in my preferred orientation with the rear wheel against the back of the front seats.


Kona
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However, it did fit with the empty fork against the back of the front seat . . . but in the real world (not on the showroom floor) loading the bike in this orientation would probably be a challenge.


Kona Bars In
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Not fully convinced, I revisited the dealer and tried the bike in the Kona with a little more perseverance.  With the passenger seat pushed fully forward and tilted ahead . . . it fit with very little wiggle room to spare.


Kona Tight Fit
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The 2018 Tuson has a much larger interior than the Kona as it’s a much larger vehicle.  Dropping the rear seat there were no issues in loading up a fat bike in my preferred orientation.  There was a considerable amount of extra space between the bar and the hatch, with the smaller wheel wells providing a little more lateral movement.


Tuson
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Jeep

Unfortunately, Jeep discontinued my beloved Patriot after 2017, but I found three possible contenders on-line: Renegade, Cherokee and Compass. Visiting the dealer, my fat bike fit in all three vehicles with surprisingly little difference in interior space given the vastly different exteriors.


Renegade
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Cherokee
  
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Compass
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One interesting thing about the 2019 Compass is that it has a hole in the floor, just aft of the wheel on the passenger side, that comfortably holds the bar end. I have no idea of its true purpose, but it works well for a fat bike.


Compass Inside
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Kia

I popped into the Kia dealership to take a look at a 2019 Sportage.  This vehicle securely held my fatbike with the bar end tucked just inside the rear hatch, with a significant amount of space available from side to side.


Sportage
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While waiting for the salesperson to return I spied a 2018 Soul on the floor.  Eyeballing the exterior dimensions and considering the perfectly vertical rear hatch, I was convinced that my bike would fit.  While the bike did fit inside the vehicle, the hatch would not close as it touched the front fork.


Soul
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Mazda

Mazda did not really jump to mind until watching TV one evening when I saw a commercial with a Mazda SUV carrying a mountain bike on a hitch mounted rack.  I headed to the dealer and discovered the CX-5 and CX-3.

The larger CX-5 had tonnes of usable space inside the vehicle - on each side of the bike and between the fork and the lift gate.


CX-5
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Try as I might, my fat bike would not sit inside of the smaller super cute CX-3.  The bars and fork stuck outside the vehicle no matter what angle I placed the bike.  I actually made a second trip back to the dealership to confirm my initial testing.  Nope.

 CX-3
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Mitsubishi

My trip to the Mitsubishi dealer involved taking a look at the Outlander and the smaller RVR.

The Outlander easily fit the fat bike with the rear seat folded down.  There were several inches between the back of the front seat and the tire, and generous spacing between the bars and the hatch. And there was enough room on the sides to carry extra gear.  

Outlander

Like the Jeep Compass, the Outlander had the in-floor storage compartment that securely held the bar end.

Outlander Inside

I was not super optimistic with successfully fitting the fat bike inside the smaller RVR.  However, with the passenger seat moved forward the steeply sloped rear hatch cleared the bars.

RVR

Nissan

My Nissan short list consisted of the Qashqai and Rogue.  Visiting the dealer I found that both vehicles allowed the fat bike to fit, with a little more height inside the 2018 Rogue that allowed the bars to stay upright.  


Rogue
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Due to the shape of the rear hatch on the 2018 Quasqai the bars had to lay flat. Lateral room was about the same on both.


Qashqai
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Subaru

I think Subaru has the most interesting SUV line-up in the market today.  When I dropped into the dealership my primary focus was on the Crosstrek and Forester.  I was delighted to discover that the bike fit inside the 2019 Crosstrek with the end of the bar tucked just inside the lower edge of the lift gate.


Crosstrek
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The Forester being a slightly larger vehicle had a little more room both side to side and between the bars and the lift gate.


Forester Exterior

Toyota

My trip to the Toyota dealership involved looking at one vehicle – the RAV 4 – but two model years.  As the 2019 was completely redesigned I also tested the long standing 2018 version.  With the rear seats folded flat the interior cargo capacity is HUGE in the 2019 and practically swallowed the fat bike.


2019 RAV4
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Not to be outdone, the 2018 version seemed to be a little larger on the inside.

2018 RAV4
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Volkswagen

Swinging by the Volkswagen dealership I wanted to take a look at the Tiguan.  Apparently the Tiguan was completely redesigned in 2018, with all prior years being quite similar.  Popping the liftgate on a 2017 Tiguan I did get the bike to fit, although the interior was not overly spacious.


2017 Tiguan
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While there was a redesigned 2019 Tiguan on the showroom floor, getting to the lift gate would have been challenging. But being 11” longer that the 2017 version it should have zero issues with fitting a fat bike.


2019 Tiguan

Bonus Testing - Surprising Results

While milling about the Honda and Nissan dealerships I also had the opportunity to test fit a few non-SUVs . . . and the results are surprising.

The Honda FIT is one strange little car . . . its almost like a mini-minivan. While not an SUV the interior space in this car is amazing.  



In addition to the bike fitting laying down – being mindful when closing the hatch – it also fit standing up.  Crazy.


While at the Nissan dealership I decided to test the Frontier pickup and tried both a standard bed (59.9”) and long bed (73.3”). I discovered that the bike would fit inside the long bed with both tires on . . . and surprisingly would only fit in the short box with the front tire off and the bike placed on the wheel well.


Frontier LB


In order to get secure storage in a pickup bed, a hard tonneau cover or truck cap would be required.  A quick in-person schooling by the super helpful people at Action Trucks revealed that either option is not that cheap.


Frontier SB

Final Thoughts

While your results may vary . . . I can group the vehicles tested into four main categories:

Will not fit - Not going to work
EcoSport, Soul, CX-3

Will just fit - A tight squeeze
Encore, Trax, FIT, Kona, Frontier SB, RVR

Will fit - With room to spare
Escape, Renegade, Compass, Cherokee, Sportage, CX-5, Qashqai, Rogue, Frontier LB, Crosstrek, Tiguan, Outlander, HR-V, Forester

Fit Plus - No worries about bike, gear and other stuff
CR-V, Tuson, RAV4, Terrain



RIDE FAT !


Comments

  1. I really like that you tested such a vast array of vehicles. I bought a 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and my Fat Bike fits without adjusting the front seats and without removing the front wheel.

    I get about 750+ km per tank of regular gas in a 56 liter tank. This thing sips fuel (and it's not gutless)!

    As you mentioned, the 2019s are out so most dealerships are blowing out the few remaining 2018s with 0% financing/leasing incentives.

    To each his/her own, but given my love of Fat Biking 365 days/year and the evils of gas price manipulation, this is the vehicle for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The RAV does indeed have oodles of interior space.

      Delete
  2. Did the Tiguan and CX-5 really meet your sub 30k criteria or were you just testing for the hell of it at that point?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I looked at MSRP. Your dealer may sell for less. :-)

      Delete
  3. I have a saab 9-3 sport combi and the cargo space is huge. It can hold a fat bike easily

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would probably hold a fleet of fat bikes. :-)

      Delete
  4. You sir are a hero! Thanks for this guide, it's been super helpful! Really makes it easy to pick what cars I need to test drive. If only I could spend the money on bikes instead ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow what a great blog, i really enjoyed reading this, good luck in your work. Fixie Singlespeed Fahrrad

    ReplyDelete

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