Hauling water in the trunk of the Honda City

How much liquid can your car carry?
by Niky Tamayo | Dec 23, 2015
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Honda City trunk

A lot of readers have asked if we received sponsorship from a certain soft-drink company for the last Inside Job challenge. The answer is no, we didn't receive any royalty checks or free cases of diet soda. So this time, we're using a generic, unbranded liquid instead.

More specifically, water.

Let's pretend, for the moment, that water suppliers don't deliver, or perhaps they've run dry, and you have to drive out to, say, Laguna, to buy deep-well-sourced water there. How much of it will fit in the back of your car?

No cheating. You're not putting water bottles in the cabin or on the seats. You don't want those to get wet. Everything must go in the trunk!

For this challenge, we picked the Honda City, a car with a cavernous trunk. While more has been said about its touchscreen audio and climate controls, what matters most to practical people like us is the 536L trunk. That's 485L of flat-floored cargo space, plus a 51L hidden bin underneath. How many liters of water can it hold?

For this test, we're using the standard five-gallon “slim” container, which should be easier to pack in than the bulky round containers. These have to be packed standing up, however, to prevent spillage. So we can't use the underfloor bin, and we don't expect to use anywhere near the whole 485L of regular trunk space.

Thankfully, the City's trunk is not only tall, it's also wide and deep. Wedging the first row in between the wheel arches, we manage to fit five containers up against the back seat. Two more fit at the sides, behind the wheels. We add another five, making for 12 containers in all.

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But wait...there's still a little more space. Two more containers fit, but it's a tight squeeze, and you'll have some water sloshing out the top when you press the last two containers in, but they fit.

That's 14 five-gallon containers, or 265L of water. Not bad. Most subcompacts can only hold 10 or so. And there's a lot of space on top of the containers for miscellaneous purchases like original buko pie. Best of all, we're not getting the carpet or seats wet. Mission accomplished, right? Not quite.

Each liter of water weighs one kilogram. Our total load is 265kg of water. That's as heavy as five average women, four average guys, or three “healthy” motoring journalists. The City, like all mass-market sedans, uses a particle board floor panel in the trunk to cover the spare tire well. While these floor panels support regular luggage or groceries with no problem, they won't take that much weight. This is why we used empty containers for this test. The last time I carried a trunk-full of water in my car, which could only take 10 containers, I cracked the floor-liner, and I bent a wheel on a pothole to boot.

While you can always pump up your tires and reinforce your trunk floor with a sturdy piece of plywood, the simpler solution might be to simply avail of free water-delivery services. Still, it's nice to know the Honda City will hold that much water in a pinch. How much will fit in the trunk of your car?

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Photos by Niky Tamayo

 

Honda City trunk

Honda City trunk

Honda City trunk

Honda City trunk

Honda City trunk

Honda City trunk

Honda City trunk

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