The Hyundai Sonata has a 16.3-cubic-foot trunk. Up until recently, going beyond the 16-cube threshold pretty much meant you were talking about a full-size sedan, and maybe we still are considering how big the midsizers have become. Nevertheless, that number puts the Sonata ahead of last week's VW Passat, far afield of the sneaky-big Subaru Legacy and just a bit shy of the best-in-class Honda Accord's 16.7 cubic-feet.
Well, let's put that number to the test to see just how much the new Sonata can carry.
To start, though, let's at least note that it has a fairly narrow opening due to the Audi A7-esque roofline. This is the biggest bag I have, and it just barely made it through. The Passat had maybe an inch more clearance.
OK, now here's the space when empty.
Yup, it's a trunk. Let's tilt the camera down a bit, though.
On the left photo, you can see there's a speaker hanging down from the parcel shelf along with a black box (the Passat had one of those, too). Then, there are those curious thin metal rods that connect the two egg-crusher trunk hinges. I don't recall seeing that before. It seems they play a part in damping the trunk lid's opening as there are usually springs within the egg crushers that do that — and they definitely aren't connected like that.
Nevertheless, they hang down just enough that they can easily snag a bag or something else that you're trying to shove inside.
OK, now let's get to those bags. As always, I use two midsize roller suitcases that would need to be checked in at the airport (26 inches long, 16 wide, 11 deep), two roll-aboard suitcases that just barely fit in the overhead (24L x 15W x 10D), and one smaller roll-aboard that fits easily (23L x 15W x 10D). I also include my wife's fancy overnight bag just to spruce things up a bit (21L x 12W x 12D).
The four biggest bags fit in between the wheel wells. The Sonata is just a bit wider than the Passat as they all fit a bit better. Judging by my photographic evidence below, the Sonata looks awfully similar to the Toyota Camry (below left). I tried to stack the bags as I did in the Accord (below right), but the Sonata's trunk isn't close to being as tall -- even if the speaker, black box and hinge rods weren't there.
To get the other bags in, I rearranged all the big ones throughout the bottom, putting the two smaller ones on top toward the back. The above picture with the egg crusher hinge demonstrates their lowest point, and as you can see, it didn't pose a problem (unlike in the Passat).
There was noticeably more space left over than there was in the Passat last week, and indeed, I could actually fit the Graco Pac 'n Play box that's usually the domain of larger SUVs. There was also some room to spare on the left side.
Sadly, I never did a max test of the Accord, so I can't confirm if it could indeed do better, as the numbers say. Given its extra height and just how wide it is, however, I'm guessing it would. Nevertheless, despite the Sonata's trunk ceiling oddities, its trunk does seem to be one of the biggest on paper and in practice.