I can’t be the only person in the world to notice that cars are getting bigger. These days it’s often difficult to squeeze out of our vehicles parked in the marked bays offered in many supermarket and public car parks, even for those with the slimmest bodies!
It’s not our imagination working overtime either – it’s a fact! Over the past couple of decades each successive model has grown. You only have to compare the old MINI against the BMW-built version to see how tiny the original looks today! Compare the size of the Peugeot 208 against its 1980’s 205 predecessor; the original Ford Fiesta from the ‘70’s against the latest version, and even the latest Focus against the first generation model. Of course, there are umpteen other comparisons where today’s superminis are now the size of what would have been family-sized models.
So just why cars are getting bigger? I remember the days of my mother squeezing my sister and I into an original Mini along with the weekly shop way back when. These days car buyers and their passengers expect to find plenty of space and comfort. They’re simply not prepared to be put up with the inconvenience and discomfort encountered decades ago. So manufacturers have reacted by increasing the amount of interior space in their cars and therefore have had to increase the footprint of their vehicles.
Today’s pampered motorists require more equipment such as air conditioning and in-car entertainment to be incorporated into their cars which also takes up space. EU and global safety regulations also demand the fitting of equipment such as traction control and ABS brakes, airbags and crumple zones which, of course means an increase in the amount of space needed between the interior and exterior of vehicles.
The good news is that many cars are much lighter in weight than their predecessors and so there’s been no penalty to pay as far as fuel economy is concerned. What’s more, many supermarket have been realising that fitting modern vehicles into yesterday’s tight spaces is a hassle, and so have been increasing the width of their bays.