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Are Cars Getting Bigger and Heavier?

911s side by side

Porsche 911 Gets Bigger

When you have a look at the cars on the road, most of them are typically roomy and comfortable to drive.  The bulk of the cars seem to be medium-to-large vehicles, with a few small cars thrown in for good measure.  With our ever increasing desire to buy a new SUV, perceiving that driving such a vehicle will make the drive a safer one, it seems that cars on our roads are increasing in size.  Trends like the increasing SUV market suggests that consumers are really wanting that bigger vehicle with space and style to boot.  So what are the factors making the cars bigger on our roads?

The Safety Element

New cars have to be designed and built with the best safety features available.  If manufacturers fail to take the safety side of things seriously, then people just don’t buy them.  Crash testing informs the potential buyers of how safe a new vehicle will be and, if the crash test results don’t get anywhere near five stars, then the consumers are getting switched off, going to another model or even another car manufacturer to buy their new car.  With safety playing such an important part in new car sales, car manufacturers ensure that their new models going into production are equipped with all the important safety features; and this often adds to the car’s weight and, sometimes, size.  Side impact rails take up space; increased crumple zones front and rear take up space; six or more airbags take up space; strengthened A pillars takes up space, so it’s easy to see how models have had to increase in size.  What about all the extra active safety features like active cruise control, rear parking aids, lane change assist, collision avoidance systems, ABS, TSC, ESC, Limited Slip Diff, rollover detection, driver alerts, launch control, hill descent control… and the list goes on; increased weight and size being the natural result.

Luxury and Comfort Features.

We all like a bit of entertainment, and with more than six speakers, a CD stack in the boot, MP3 compatibility, multiple USB and auxiliary ports, multiple auxiliary jacks, glovebox coolers, cup-holders, back seat DVD entertainment, heated seats, rear-seat recline, electric windows, AWD, a touch screen, infotainment system, satellite navigation, zoned climate control, Smartphone connection, a panoramic sunroof and more, it all adds to the weight of the car – not to mention the ability to hold all these extra gadgets with extra compartments needing to be made to house the features.  Other accessories like larger alloy wheels, boot spoilers and fog lamps all make the car heavier and look larger, too.

People Are Larger So Cars Need To Be Larger

You could argue that with people generally getting larger (fatter would be more accurate but less PC) the general public need to buy a car that fits their bigger frames.

A Positive With Increasing Car Size

One of the amazing trends that runs alongside the cars’ bigger framework, however, is the fact that the modern bigger cars are getting better fuel economy – now that’s a great thing.  Automotive design teams are doing incredibly well at making cars more fuel efficient and more powerful, even as the car’s weight, size, comfort and safety ratings are all increasing.

What’s your thoughts; and do you have any interesting photos to back this trend up with?

Peugeots Side-by-Side

Peugeots Side-by-Side

6 comments

  1. David Pearn says:

    I find it laughable that the current Corolla and Civic still use the same name but are not in any sense related to their original iteration.

    May 25th, 2016 at 3:25 pm

  2. René Boissevain says:

    I am a Jeep man.Gand Cherokee,2010,V8
    Done close to 100.000 Km,
    What’s new?

    René

    May 25th, 2016 at 3:27 pm

  3. Matt says:

    A quick comment on the article regarding the increasing size of cars. One of the reasons given was the Limited Slip Diff, my understanding is that LSD is a thing of the past due to Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control etc. Is this correct? Also I undersatand the 6 stacker CD players are now a thing of the past due to MP3 and USB connections on stereos.

    May 25th, 2016 at 3:34 pm

  4. Ian Taylor says:

    It is a shame that Shopping Centres and other retail outlets are not increasing the width of their parking spaces.
    Jeep Grand Cherokee owner.

    May 25th, 2016 at 3:40 pm

  5. stephen Sandilands says:

    Intererstingly the trend in SUV’s has also seen more and more buyere even in family segment going for the mid size or smaller (CX 3, CX 5 Outlander, Jeep Patriot, Ford Kuga, new Citroen and Renault, Hyundi IX 35, et., rather than the mid to big ones (Land cruisers, Prado, Kluger, Pathfinder, Grand Cherokee, Ford Everest Isuzu, etc.,and with more people becoming weight conscious and understanding risks like diabetes, maybe they are not all getting bigger and of course dont want the poor economies of the mid to big size SUV’s / four wheel drive which all the bigger ones seem to have and a lot dont get used much at all. Surprisingly in that mid to big sector there has really not been much of a change in poor economy which is quite disappointing. Most reasons I hear from people is getting up that bit higher for better road visibility. Well if that equates to safer, so be it!

    May 25th, 2016 at 6:10 pm

  6. Bill says:

    SUV’s are a blight on the roads. Cannot think of a worse choice of vehicle. And they are not safer than sedans or wagons. When will people realize that size and weight alone do not make a car safer?

    May 25th, 2016 at 10:52 pm