Modern cars too big for outdated parking spaces

  • Many councils still using outdated parking bay measurement 
  • Small cars are getting larger and SUVs are more popular
  • The result is a 35% increase in parking prangs since 2014

If you've ever returned from a shopping trip to find your car sandwiched between two enormous SUVs, the news that many models are now simply too large to park will be no surprise.

We're not just buying bigger cars - traditionally small models are also getting larger – the current Vauxhall Viva city car has similar proportions to the original Corsa, the latter having grown some 16% in 15 years.

With less room to manoeuvre there are a reported 1,859 parking dings and scrapes every single day, costing a total of £1.4 billion a year – that’s despite the rise in availability of parking sensors and cameras.

What’s causing these crashes?

According to Accident Exchange, an accident management service, it’s a combination of cars getting bigger and parking spaces remaining the same.

Research claims 87% of councils are using an outdated government template of 4.8 by 2.4 metres, dimensions that are tight even for family hatchbacks like the Ford Mondeo.

It’s not just model-bloat causing this problem though - SUV and crossover-type vehicles are proving more and more popular with family buyers who would normally drive a smaller hatchback.

Will my car fit in a standard bay?

If it’s one of the models listed below, chances are you might find it a bit of a squeeze getting parked:

Average parking space: 4.8 x 2.4 metres

Mercedes GLS: 5.05 x 1.98 metres

Audi Q7: 5.05 x 1.96 metres

Volvo XC90: 4.95 x 2 metres

BMW X5: 4.88 x 1.93 metres

Ford Mondeo: 4.86 x 1.85 metres

Volkswagen Touareg: 4.8 x 1.94 metres

Ford Edge: 4.8 x 1.92 metres

Hyundai Santa Fe: 4.70 x 1.88 metres

Vauxhall Astra4.70 x 1.80 metres

Watch below as we try to fit a new Vauxhall Corsa in a parking space left by a 1982 Peugeot 104 owned by Parkers Editor Keith Adams.