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Storage systems for small vehicles

How to expand your vehicle's capacity

Look for bike carriers that can fold out of the way to allow access to the cargo area.Are you among the thousands of drivers who have traded in their gas guzzling trucks and SUVs for smaller vehicles due to the rising gas prices? If so, congratulations! You've made a money-saving move that will pay off big.

While most larger vehicles average only 13-15 L/100 km (15 to 18 mpg), sedans and CUVs get 7.8-9.4 L/100 km (25-30 mpg) and hybrids deliver up to 4.7 L/100 km (50 mpg). So instead of being able to go only 200 miles on a tank that cost you $50 to fill, you can travel 500 miles or more without any additional expense.

While the numbers are impressive, there is a tradeoff. You lose a lot of cargo room when you downsize. Some people try to get creative when they travel by packing all they can into the trunk then tying the lid down with a rope, or strapping their bags to the roof; but there are better solutions.

Automotive accessory manufacturers offer a number of solutions for people who need to carry more than their smaller cars or CUVs can handle. Whether you're going on vacation, or just planning to have a tailgate party at a football game, here are some affordable accessories you'll want to consider adding to your vehicle:

Hitch-Mounted Cargo Carrier

A 50x150 cm (20x60-in.) steel platform fits into a standard 5 cm (2-in.) hitch receiver on the back of your vehicle. It is available in both folding and stationary styles, and comes with pre-punched holes for attaching accessories and tie-down straps.

This is the perfect accessory for transporting a grill and cooler for a tailgating party. It can also be used to carry gear for a camping trip, suitcases, or just about anything you can imagine that would fit on the platform. If you want to protect your belongings, you can opt for the optional heavy-duty storage bag, cargo netting or side-bar attachment. There's also a bike carrier attachment available.

Roof Top Carrier

This is a cargo basket that attaches to factory or aftermarket roof rack on a minivan, CUV or SUV with no drilling. The large-capacity basket provides plenty of storage space for luggage, cargo bags and more. They are available in two sizes (100x112 cm or 39x44 in., and 100x140 cm or 39x55 in.). Netting to secure your cargo to the rack is also available, as are rooftop bags that provide complete weatherproof protection in an aerodynamic design.

Drop Down Bike Carrier

If you are an avid bike rider, and used to simply throw your bike in the back of the truck or SUV when you travelled, the additional cargo space is probably missed a lot. Lund, for example, offers a hitch-mounted, drop-down bike carrier constructed of 5-cm (2-in.) steel tubing that is powder-coated for durability and rust protection. It installs in seconds, folds down to allow easy access to the trunk or cargo area, and comes with an adjustable clamp plate that fits most bike tube diameters. Rubber padding on the clamp prevents slipping and scratching of bikes.

For more such products, go online to an accessory supplier such as

Posted 1/21/08. Article courtesy of ARAcontent.

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