Do you struggle to squeeze your car into parking spaces? Dread driving down country lanes? Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one.
We analysed 14 popular car models, from when they were first launched, to present day to determine just how much they have evolved in size and style.
Looking at everything from weight, length and height to wheelbase and luggage capacity, nine out of the 14 models have either stayed the same or increased in size, whilst just five have seen minor decreases.
In fact, the top eight cars which have seen the biggest increase in total area size have expanded by up to 63%.
Use the slider below or click through the years to see how popular models have changed in size and design.
From the top eight models we analysed, we discovered that the Ford Mustang has increased the most overall, now a whopping 63% larger than the original model launched in 1964.
The not-so Mini Cooper has also evolved since the 1950’s when lorry drivers struggled to see the motor in their side view mirrors. Thanks to safety regulations it’s now 61% bigger than the original.
Weighing in at 865kg, the Fiat 500 has seen the biggest weight increase, up 73% on the 1957 model.
The only vehicle to see a decrease in size is the Land Rover Range Rover, which is 3% shorter and 2% lighter than the original.
To see how much each model has increased in size since it was first launched, click the arrows below and filter by category.
|Brand and Model||Weight %||Length %||Width %||Area %||Height %||Wheelbase %||Luggage Capacity %|
|Land Rover Range Rover||-2%||16%||23%||43%||-3%||8%||70%|
|BMW 3 Series||5%||9%||27%||39%||1%||5%||9%|
|Porsche 911 Coupe||4%||5%||14%||20%||1%||-2%||194%|
Now we know how much cars are increasing in size, we wanted to find out exactly why is this happening and what it means for future design. We spoke to Automotive Design expert, Sam Livingstone, who revealed the key factors triggering expansion.
He said: “Originally, cars on UK roads were designed, engineered and produced in the UK — but today they come from all around the world. Notably in China and America, the largest cars markets, the roads and freeways are much wider, meaning cars can afford to be quite a bit bigger. As they aren’t designed for UK roads, it’s a tight squeeze when they’re imported.”
“Safety is another reason why cars are expanding in size. Crash beams, airbags, and the crumple zones need space, so cars have grown in width and length over the decades to accommodate these features — we end up with larger cars as a result, but they are far safer than they were twenty years ago.”
“Cars are also growing in size partly because manufacturers can charge more for a larger car, whilst the cost to produce today’s sophisticated small cars is not much less than for a larger car. Car finance deals make it much easier for us to own large, luxury models as it’s affordable. This wasn’t the case 30 or 40 years ago, when most people had to buy a car with cash up front, and when a smaller car would be a lot more basic that a large luxury car.”
So, how much more are cars going to expand? Will they keep growing?
Our expert says: “Rather than cars getting wider, we’re going to see them getting slightly taller. The rise of electric vehicles will impact on how cars change in size in the next 10 years. The battery in an EV sits under the seats in the car, meaning cars will grow in height by around 5-10 cm.”
Now you know the specifications for each of the most popular car models, you’re well on your way to finding the motor that’s made for you.