We get fatter, cars get bigger

We get fatter, cars get bigger

Sitting in the Car and SUV fleet at the moment is a Ford Focus stationwagon. The Focus sits below the Mondeo in the range, but I swear that if you took a Mondeo stationwagon from 10 years ago, this new Focus is as big. Take the new Mini – it’s gargantuan compared to the original Mini, which you could park easily in any space longer in centimetres than a Labour politician’s IQ. Every time a new car comes out it has more shoulder room, more leg room, more height (and usually more weight). Even rally cars like the Subaru Impreza WRX STI aren’t immune. And the Mark V VW Golf GTI is now a bloated mass of automotive flab compared to Mark I.

Why is this? Well, part of it is to do with crumple zones, safety, and so on. But, I genuinely believe (though manufacturers will probably never admit it), that it’s because insanely large amounts of our population are volumetrically inefficient (that’s a technical term for overweight). Because car manufacturers have to cater to the average size (which is increasing), they don’t want their vehicles to be perceived as cramped.

The only car that seems to have downsized is the Hummer – the original H1 was so wide it straddled time zones; the H3 fits in my garage (even the Land Rover Defender couldn’t manage that, which I found out the hard way…oops!)

Sitting in the Car and SUV fleet at the moment is a Ford Focus stationwagon. The Focus sits below the Mondeo in the range, but I swear that if you took a Mondeo stationwagon from 10 years ago, this new Focus is as big. Take the new Mini – it’s gargantuan compared to the original Mini, which you could park easily in any space longer in centimetres than a Labour politician’s IQ. Every time a new car comes out it has more shoulder room, more leg room, more height (and usually more weight). Even rally cars like the Subaru Impreza WRX STI aren’t immune. And the Mark V VW Golf GTI is now a bloated mass of automotive flab compared to Mark I.

Why is this? Well, part of it is to do with crumple zones, safety, and so on. But, I genuinely believe (though manufacturers will probably never admit it), that it’s because insanely large amounts of our population are volumetrically inefficient (that’s a technical term for overweight). Because car manufacturers have to cater to the average size (which is increasing), they don’t want their vehicles to be perceived as cramped.

The only car that seems to have downsized is the Hummer – the original H1 was so wide it straddled time zones; the H3 fits in my garage (even the Land Rover Defender couldn’t manage that, which I found out the hard way…oops!)

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