Automakers once raced to see who could jam the most cupholders into minivans and sport-utilities. Now the hot interior item is storage bins.
The 2001 Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country and Voyager minivans, for example, feature a rear cargo organizer that can hold six paper grocery bags. Plastic bags can be hung on hooks mounted to the seat back.
Want to load a 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood?
No problem. The organizer can be lifted and aligned with the folded seats to create a flat cargo surface.
The 2001 Pontiac Aztek has a sliding rear tray that can carry up to 400 pounds. The tray can be rolled out over the tailgate for loading, or it can be removed. Outside the vehicle, the wheeled tray can be used as a dolly to move the Aztek's removable rear seats.
Oldsmobile added a cargo organizer to the rear of the 2001 Bravada. The tray has dividers and two liquid container holders for gallon jugs.
General Motors' front-wheel-drive minivans, the Chevrolet Venture, Pontiac Montana and Oldsmobile Silhouette, offer a flip-up cargo organizer behind the third row of seats. When the third-row bench seat is folded forward, it meshes with the organizer to create a flat-load floor.
The hot-selling Honda Odyssey added cargo storage with a well behind the third row of seats. The well is not available for gear when you fold the seats into it to create the Odyssey's much-admired flat cargo bed.
Lear Corp. created a concept cargo organizer for the GMC Yukon XL and showed it at the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week show in Las Vegas in November. The organizer contains three slide-out drawers, a top storage area and a hard cover with folding legs that convert it into a table.