Growing cars cause

parking squeeze

Parking space, 2020

CARS have grown so much in size that it is making life difficult to get in and out on car parks.

Research has found that some of the most popular cars leave as little as eight inches of room for drivers to squeeze in and out of parking bays.

Britain's cars are now up to 55 per cent bigger than their 1970s equivalents but parking spaces have not grown since the 2.4 x 4.8 metre guidelines were introduced.

The latest Range Rover, Honda Civic and the Ford Focus are among those that leave less than a foot of space in which to manoeuvre.

The research, carried out by motoring website CarGurus, found that the current Range Rover takes up to 86 per cent of the standard parking space, leaving just eight inches of room for drivers to get out.

In contrast the 1970s model took up just 69 per cent - the same footprint as today's Ford Focus.

Chris Knapman, editor at, said: "It's understandable why cars have grown so much over the years, and the dramatically improved safety standards of modern cars versus those of years gone by is an obvious benefit. However, as many motorists will no doubt confirm, it's disappointing that parking space guidelines haven't been updated accordingly.

"Many of the latest cars are at least available with technology to help with parking, including parking sensors, reversing cameras, 360-degree view cameras and automatic parallel and bay parking functions.

"Some even equip cars with features to help prevent car park damage, such as door edge protectors and Citroën's Airbump Technology. However, it is of course worth noting that no matter how easy the technology makes it to park, if the space is too small for your car none of it will help you to physically squeeze out of the driver's seat."

The current tenth generation Honda Civic, one of the biggest growers from its first generation, now takes up 71 per cent of a parking space, ballooning from 49 per cent in the first generation and leaving just 12 inches of space for drivers to get out.

The MINI Hatch was the biggest grower on the list, 55 per cent larger and taking up 20 per cent more of the typical parking space than the original that was produced between 1959 and 2000. This means it offers six inches less room for drivers to get out.

The Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, BMW 5 Series, Ford Focus, Ford Mondeo, Mercedes E-class, Peugeot 308, Vauxhall Insignia and VW Passat have also all grown significantly to leave drivers with less than a foot of space to exit the vehicle.

Despite many cars already proving to be a tight fit in standard parking spaces, the growth spurt appears to be unrelenting with CarGurus' research finding cars are continuing to grow by an average of nearly three per cent from generation to generation, meaning squeezing out of parking spaces will continue to become more and more challenging for drivers.

The study shows that the original Mini took up just 37 per cent of an average parking space whereas the current model occupies some 57 per cent of the space.

A Range Rover took up 69 per cent of the space in the 1970s but today the current version takes up 84 per cent of the room available.


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