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When buying or selling a car, it can be difficult to know how it compares to the average vehicle on the road in terms of size. It’s important to make sure you’re conscious of your car’s dimensions to make sure it’s appropriate for your needs—perhaps fitting into tight roadside parking spots or getting in and out of your garage without a fuss.
Generally speaking, cars are considerably larger nowadays than they have been in the past—take one of America’s favourites, the Ford Mustang, for example. The 1965 Ford Mustang comes in at 4613mm in length, 1732mm in width and 1295mm in height. In comparison, the 2020 model is around 4788mm in length, 1915mm in width and 1379mm in height—meaning an overall increase in total vehicle area of 22.2% for the vehicle in the 55 years since the initial release.
There are a few reasons why cars have gotten bigger over the years. While there isn't a definitive 'main' reason, it's probably fair to say that safety sits near the top of the list, as vehicles have been expanded to include airbags and crumple zones to reduce injury risk for both drivers and passengers in the event of an accident. Manufacturing costs play a part too, as companies can charge more for larger vehicles without a significant increase in costs when compared with smaller versions.
You may be wondering, then, what is the average car size in the UK, and is your car above or below average in terms of size? We’ve got you covered—here’s our guide to the average car size on UK roads.
Average Car Size UK
The dimensions of the average car in the UK is around 4399mm in length, 1821mm in width and 1534mm in height. This is about the same length and width as a BMW 1 Series, and about the same height as a Fiat 500. This might seem a little on the smaller side, but when you consider the UK’s most popular vehicles in 2020 were the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Golf, it shouldn’t be too surprising.
Average Car Length
The average car length in the UK is around 4400mm. This naturally varies depending on your choice of vehicle type—the average estate, saloon or MPV is roughly 4700mm in length, with SUVs a touch longer at around 4790mm. Comparatively, much smaller city cars and hatchbacks are around 3580mm and 4270mm respectively.
Average Car Width
The average car in the UK is roughly 1820mm wide. The category your vehicle falls within will naturally change the average accordingly. On average, saloons and estates are around 1830-1835mm wide, SUV’s and people carriers are in the 1940-1965mm range, with smaller hatchbacks and city cars somewhere in around 1645mm to 1780mm.
Average Car Height
An average UK car is about 1535mm in height. SUV’s and people carriers are, unsurprisingly, the UK’s tallest cars, usually in the range of 1740-1750mm. The UK’s other popular vehicle types, like hatchbacks, saloons and estates, generally sit between 1445mm to 1500mm.
Naturally, the average size of any vehicle depends on the type you’re looking for and the models within that range—even a small 4x4 would be considerably larger than any hatchback, so let’s break things down a little further and look at dimensions by vehicle category.
Average City Car Size
City cars are an excellent choice for anybody looking for a car with excellent fuel efficiency and cheap insurance costs that can easily fit into smaller city car parking spots. They're usually not overly expensive—combine that with their market-leading fuel consumption and it's not too difficult to see why they're a popular choice.
The average city car is about 3580mm in length, 1645mm in width and around 1490mm in height.
Average Length: 3460mm to 3601mm
Average Width: 1615mm to 1670mm
Average Height: 1460mm to 1508mm
Average Estate Car Size
Estate cars are usually very similar to saloons (and are often based on the same models with some slight variations) however offer a slightly larger vehicle (and the accompanying boot space) for anybody who might need a bit of extra capacity at the back.
The average estate car is somewhere around 4710mm in length, 1830mm in width and 1455mm in height.
Average Length: 4670mm to 4737mm
Average Width: 1825mm to 1842mm
Average Height: 1435mm to 1490mm
Average Hatchback Size
Hatchbacks continue to be one of the most popular categories for UK drivers. Their versatility, fuel economy and often surprising speed and acceleration make them a perfect fit for many road users.
The average hatchback is around 4270mm in length, 1780mm in width and 1445mm in height.
Average Length: 4054mm to 4459mm
Average Width: 1735mm to 1805mm
Average Height: 1417mm to 1481mm
Average MPV/People Carrier Size
MPV’s (multi-purpose vehicle) and people carriers are equally as comfortable carrying people, shopping or tools and equipment. They’re a great option for anyone responsible for carting around family members, who may also want the versatility to transport larger items such as bikes or camping equipment.
The average MPV/people carrier is roughly 4700mm in length, 1940mm in width and 1740mm in height.
Average Length: 4527mm to 4854mm
Average Width: 1829mm to 2107mm
Average Height: 1659mm to 1847mm
Average Saloon Size
Saloon cars strike an excellent balance between professional and practical, offering fantastic engines and generous storage space. While the market is dominated by larger (and more expensive) models like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, there are cheaper options for the more cost-conscious buyer, such as the Ford Mondeo or Volkswagen Passat.
The average saloon is about 4700mm in length, 1835mm in width and 1450mm in height.
Average Length: 4495mm to 4867mm
Average Width: 1816mm to 1852mm
Average Height: 1425mm to 1501mm
Average SUV Size
Equally as popular for city-dwelling families as those out in the countryside, SUV’s are capable of offering comfortable and spacious on the road journeys while being able to deal with rugged off-road terrain. Their size and engine efficiency can make them less ideal for city centres than other vehicles, but they are able to make up for it with their impressive ride quality (both on and off-road), sizeable boots and spacious interiors.
The average SUV is about 4790mm in length, 1965mm in width and 1750mm in height.
Average Length: 4411mm to 4956mm
Average Width: 1900mm to 2012mm
Average Height: 1649mm to 1888mm
Car Size Comparison
We compared a wide variety of the UK’s most popular vehicles, from smaller city cars like the Toyota Aygo through to large SUV’s like the Land Rover Discovery. Car length varies from 3600mm to around 4960mm, width from 1615mm to 2110mm and height from 1420mm to 1890mm.
Car Length Comparison
The average length of a car in the UK varies dramatically, from small city cars at 3601mm all the way to huge SUV’s at 4956mm. Given that the average car parking space in the UK is around 4800mm, it isn’t difficult to understand why smaller city cars and hatchbacks have become so popular in congested city centres.
Car Width Comparison
The width of cars in the UK actually remains fairly consistent, limited by restrictions on car parking spot size and road lane width, coming in between 1615mm to 2107mm.
Car Height Comparison
In terms of height, UK cars can be anywhere from 1417mm up to 1888mm. Vehicles aren’t naturally limited in the same way they are with their width, but as long as they’re tall enough to carry even Britain’s tallest citizens, any additional height would reduce aerodynamic efficiency and increase the strain on engines and fuel consumption.
An average car on UK roads is just under 4400mm in length. The UK’s shortest car is the city car, usually around 3580mm long, with SUV’s being Britain’s longest, coming in just under 4800mm.
The average car in the UK is 1820mm in width. This will, of course, depend on the type of vehicle you’re looking at—smaller city cars are around 1645mm in width, with larger SUV’s in the 1965mm range.
In the UK, the average car is around 1535mm in height. Estates, saloons and hatchbacks are a little closer to the ground, usually under 1500mm, whereas SUV’s and people carriers (famed for their spacious interiors) are often well over 1700mm tall.
On average, a standard car parking space in the UK will measure around 4800mm in length and 2400mm in width.
Tyres are measured in three main ways—their width, their aspect ratio and their rim diameter.
Width is fairly simple, just how far is the tyre from one side to the other. Aspect ratio indicates the height of the tyre, from bead to treat, when compared to its width. Rim diameter is simply the diameter of the rim, excluding its tyre, and is generally measured in inches.
According to Halfords, the most popular tyre size for drivers in the UK is 205, 55, 16.
Most F1 cars are around 5700mm in length, 1800mm in width and 950mm in height. Width and height are regulated by the FIA, and can’t exceed 1800mm or 950mm respectively, but teams are free to choose how long their cars are—in recent years, almost all teams have settled on a length of roughly 5700mm, give or take a few mm’s variance.
The average width of a car is around 4400mm. Make sure to consider the length of the car versus similar competitors—there wouldn’t be much value in comparing a shorter city car to a larger SUV.
The average width of a car is around 1820mm. The type of car you’re measuring will impact what the ‘standard’ is—an average SUV is considerably wider than an average city car, as an example.
The average height of a car is around 1535mm. This naturally varies depending on car type—for example, SUV’s are typically much ‘taller’ than estates.
Vehicles were estimated using a carefully selected pool of popular UK cars, across vehicle types (from hatchbacks to 4x4’s) such as the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, BMW 3 Series and Land Rover Discovery. In situations where multiple versions (and dimensions) of a model existed, the measurements were averaged across the model range.