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The last time I hired a small car in the US (I think I was meant to get a Ford Fiesta or similar, but got a Ford Focus), there was no parcel shelf to cover the trunk. This meant that I could never leave anything in the car while parked safely. I've never had a hire car in Europe where the trunk was visible through the windows!

  • Is it common for hatchbacks in the US to come with nothing to cover the trunk?

  • Is it possible to ensure I get a car with something to cover the trunk, short of getting a more expensive car (which can be hard when travelling for work)?

  • I don't know if what I'd call a parcel shelf is called something else in the US; I couldn't find anything suggesting it has another name there? I guess I should s/boot/trunk/ though. – gsnedders Dec 15 '16 at 22:28
  • Some cars have a screen you can pull over the things in the trunk, if that is what you mean by parcel shelf, but you can't really put stuff on top of it (like you could a shelf). I don't know how to ensure that cars have this. I know most Prius's do. – Lucy Clara Dec 15 '16 at 22:41
  • @LucyClara See the photo in Karlson's answer, for example. And yes, while you can put stuff on it I wouldn't expect it to hold that much (more often than not the only thing I see on them are road atlases!). – gsnedders Dec 15 '16 at 23:25
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    I think that thing is sometimes called a tonneau cover... – Nate Eldredge Dec 16 '16 at 2:02
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Not sure what you expect to leave in the parked car's trunk that this feature would be necessary and where.

But the answer is yes it is common for hatchbacks in the US not to have one because a lot of people find it annoying and may have removed it themselves. Having said that. The 2017 Ford Focus the shelf like that may be an optional equipment but it is definitely available:

enter image description here (from inhabitat.com)

  • I've always been told to not leave anything on display in a car, as to avoid theft. It'd be really nice to be able to comfortably leave a suitcase (admittedly just full of dirty clothes) before coming home if I go somewhere before a typically evening flight home without having to circle back to hotel to pick it up. – gsnedders Dec 15 '16 at 23:22
  • wrt the Focus: given the hatchback was originally a European car, and that it's definitely base equipment even on the very entry-level model here, it surprised me to come across one without one at all. – gsnedders Dec 15 '16 at 23:24
  • @gsnedders The models while mostly similar differ quite a bit. – Karlson Dec 16 '16 at 2:48
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This happened to me too, in California. I had a lot of luggage, so I was rather annoyed -- stuff does get stolen from car boots, and two large suitcases can look very tempting to a thief. The car was pre-paid too, so I couldn't go elsewhere.

I complained, they said they had nothing else in my bracket, I said I can't drive around displaying my assets like that! In the end they offered me a decent discount on the next bracket up, which I accepted gratefully.

In short: I don't know if it's common, but it does happen. Those shelves are often ridiculously weak, and I expect they just throw them away if they get broken.

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