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%.