Buying Advice

AutomotiveMap Picks: Best Vehicle for a Costco Run

AutomotiveMap's writers chose their favorite vehicles to use to make a large Costco run.

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

It's always the paper towels. They take up more room than you think and then you're left trying to figure out where to put the rotisserie chicken.

When you're ready to upgrade your vehicle, consider these AuotmotiveMap picks, which are perfect for shopping trips to Costco, Sam's Club, and the like. Some have the most amount of cargo space you can get in their segment while others have good cargo area designs that are practical solutions for life's activities.

​2020 Ford Escape

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Sue Mead: The 2020 Ford Escape has been completely redesigned for the new model year. The sportier, more powerful, and more premium Escape comes in front- and all-wheel drive variants. It's also available as a hybrid that has up to 400 miles of range. The value-priced Escape has standard Ford Co-Pilot360 safety and driver assistance technology and a large rear cargo space.

2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Harvey Briggs: Start with 165 cubic feet of passenger volume, the convenience of stow-and-go seating, side doors and a tailgate that open wide and there's no better vehicle for hauling a 65" flatscreen, five pounds of crab legs, and four all-season radials than this. Get a black 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid with the S appearance package for a look that's bad to the bone.

​2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Jesus Garcia: When you absolutely, positively need to buy and carry everything you buy at Costco, accept no substitute than the 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van with its efficient 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel engine and available 4x4. Like any good passenger van, it has gobs of storage space.

2020 Honda Ridgeline

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Perry Stern, AutoNXT: The unique cargo carrying ability of Honda's pickup truck – a lockable trunk below a proper cargo bed – make the Ridgeline an excellent option for the run to Costco.

2020 Chrysler Pacifica

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Nicole Wakelin: Like is hybrid counterpart, the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica offers lots of cargo room without having to fold down the seats so you can head straight to pick up the kids at school without a stop at home.

2020 Honda CR-V

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Eileen Falkenberg-Hull: The Honda CR-V ticks a lot of boxes for the average family and many of them are likely big box retailer shoppers. The compact SUV seats up to five and has cavernous cargo space which means you can easily fit a stroller alongside your load of toilet paper, roasted chicken, wine, and fruit snacks.

2020 Ford Expedition Max

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Chad Kirchner: The 2020 Ford Expedition Max is the way to go because the extra 12-inches of cargo space is needed for the bulk buys when you're toting along your whole family for an excursion.

The Escalade has been redesigned for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

In advance of Oscar Week, Cadillac unveiled an all-new 2021 Escalade in Los Angeles, an appropriate location given the vehicle's long-standing relationship with Hollywood elite and self-made American success stories.

"There is something special about driving an Escalade," said Cadillac president Steve Carlisle. "It has the bold presence and exclusive technology to elevate the extraordinary and make every drive feel like an occasion."

Here's what you need to know about the new model.

2021 Cadillac Escalade The Cadillac Escalade features a clean dashboard design.Photo courtesy of Cadillac

The exterior is sleek and stylish.

The new full-size premium Escalade SUV's exterior is understated and elegant, with a classic, large grill and on-trend distinctive slim horizontal and vertical light treatments throughout. The large, square windows provide excellent visibility. The slab-sided doors have stationary handles with a hidden release latch for a clean, sleek look. Upper trims offer soft-close for a premium feel.

There are two powertrain options.

The new Escalade comes with a powerful 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 with 460 pound-feet of torque. For the first time ever, the Escalade will offer a 277-horsepower 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline six cylinder, with the same 460 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and available inn either a rear-wheel or four-wheel configuration.

The diesel is ideal for trailering and towing, as well as longer trips. While fuel economy and range are not yet available, count on the diesel offering better numbers than the gas engine but at a higher price point.

2021 Cadillac Escalade The OLED screen curves in such a way that a hood is not required to cut down on glare.Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Escalade's most impressive updates are in its cabin.

While the exterior received a modern and appealing redesign, the interior is the real showstopper, with a car-like experience contrasting the masculinity of the truck.

The curved OLED screen is (literally) a big deal.

The eight-passenger, three-row Escalade features a trio of huge, paper-thin, first-to-market curved screens covering a total of 38 inches of total diagonal display area. The first screen is a 7.2-inch diagonal touch control panel on the driver's left side. The second screen is a 14.2-inch-diagonal instrument panel cluster display centered on the steering wheel. The third screen supports the infotainment features and measures 16.9-inch-diagonal area.

The screens are sourced from consumer electronics giant LG and include Organic Light Emitting Diode, more commonly known as OLED. OLED technology provides stunning, vivid light and true black with no light bleed often seen with LED. The center screen is touch but can also be manipulated via knobs and dials, a dual-operational mode designed to appeal to a wide audience of users. A discreet row of buttons control climate.

A full suite of vehicle functions, tasks, and apps including Android Auto and Apple Car Play are supported via the screens and can be customized and arranged according to preference. Monitoring fuel economy, tire pressure, trailering, navigation, and audio are just a few choices.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Rear seat passengers can be entertained via seat-back screens.Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac has given the Escalade a long list of desirable standard features.

Key standard features include a full suite of enhanced driver assist systems such as hands-free Super Cruise with over-the-air update capability and on-demand lane change. The Escalade offers five different trim levels, eight exterior colors and at least eight interior color and trim choices. Cadillac is rolling out a new 360 visualizer for full customization of the Escalade available on the brand's website.

A rear camera mirror is available, particularly useful when trailering or when the cargo area is packed and visibility is compromised. The mirror uses a rear-facing camera to provide real-time rear-view visibility.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Cadillac's Super Cruise technology is the only hands-free system in the U.S.Photo courtesy of Cadillac

The navigation system uses augmented reality.

Cadillac's infotainment system features an all-new augmented reality-enabled navigation, with live street views with directional overviews to aid in driving directions. Surround Vision, standard in all Escalades, provides a birds-eye view of the area around the vehicle, providing additional visual assistance especially when parking.

Rear passengers can be entertained and easily heard throughout the cabin without having to shout.

The second-row entertainment package offers a pair of 12.6-inch-diagonal independent touch display screens featuring navigation, streaming games, music, and videos via USB or HDMI inputs. Strategically placed microphones, part of the available 36-speaker industry-first AKG audio technology, provide easy front and rear-passenger communication.

2021 Cadillac Escalade The Escalade features spacious, comfortable seats.Photo courtesy of Cadillac

The 2021 Escalade is longer than the 2021 model.

The 2021 Escalade has a longer wheelbase and overall longer vehicle, providing 40 percent more third-row legroom (34.9 inches) and a 68 percent increase in maximum cargo capacity behind the third row (25.5 cubic feet) in the standard length vehicle.

The Escalade ESV adds another nearly 14 inches to the wheelbase and nearly 16 inches to the overall length. In both models, the new independent rear suspension not only improves overall ride comfort, but also allows for a lower interior floor, increasing leg room in the last row by 10 inches.

2021 Cadillac Escalade The Escalade will once again be offered in an extended wheelbase variant.Photo courtesy of Cadillac

The Escalade is made in America.

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade will be manufactured at GM's Arlington, Texas assembly plant and will be in dealer showrooms in late 2020.

The Hyundai Venue is new to the U.S. for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

If you thought it didn't get any smaller than the subcompact Hyundai Kona, you were wrong. Hyundai's new, smaller SUV, the 2020 Hyundai Venue, has made its way to the U.S. market. Here's a quick look at everything you need to know.

Hyundai developed the model to be budget-friendly.

Research indicated that people often pass up buying new cars because they are too expensive, but then they miss out on the latest safety and infotainment tech. Hyundai wanted to create a vehicle that would cost as much as a used car but have all new equipment.

2020 Hyundai Venue The backside of the Venue reveals a wide opening trunk.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Venue comes in three trim levels.

Buyers get to choose between the base SE, SEL, or top-tier Denim model. All the models come with the same engine but the base model has a six-speed manual transmission as opposed to the Venue SEL and Denim's intelligent variable transmission. SEL and Denim models of the front-wheel drive SUV have three drive modes: normal, sport, and snow.

The Nissan Kicks isn't very quick. What is the engine like in the Venue?

The Venue is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder. It's peppier than the Kicks but nothing too exciting. Still, you'll feel like you have plenty of power at speed.

2020 Hyundai Venue The interior of the Venue features a standard 8-inch infotainment screen.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai has loaded the Venue with a solid list of safety features.

Standard and available safety features include:

  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) uses the car's front-facing camera to help detect an imminent collision and avoid impact or minimize damage by braking
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) helps prevent accidental lane departure by sensing road markings automatically steering the car if necessary.
  • Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) helps detect approaching vehicles that may be obscured from view during highway
  • Driver Attention Warning (DAW) system monitors a spectrum of driver-related characteristics to help detect driver fatigue or careless
  • Rear Collision Cross-Traffic Warning (RCCW) helps detect when a vehicle may have entered a car's rearward path providing a driver

It's supposed to cost as much as a used car. What's the MSRP?

Hyundai sells the Venue SE for $17,350. The SEL is $19,250 and the Venue Denim is $22,050. That MSRP does not include the destination charge. Remember, most dealers are willing to negotiate on prices.

So it's a cheap car. Does it look cheap inside?

The short answer is no. The Venue Denim has nicer appointments than many mid-grade trucks on the market that cost a fair amount more. The designer of the HVAC system controls should be proud that they're both easy to use and attractive while looking like little else currently on the market.

The seats are comfortable.

Most low-cost SUVs and cars have seats that aren't comfortable for any length of time. The Venue is the exception to this rule.

When does it go on sale.

The Hyundai Venue is currently for sale at dealerships nationwide.