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What is the average length of a car?
The average length of a car is 4.9 metres.
That figure comes from averaging the length of popular vehicle types spanning the Australian new car market.
The average length of a small/compact SUV is about 3800mm, the average length of a medium SUV is about 4400mm, the average length of a large SUV is about 4600mm, the average length of an upper large SUV is about 5200mm, the average length of a ute is about 5300mm, and the average length of a US pick-up is about 6000mm.
When you’re buying a car there are numerous factors to take into account but perhaps the most important question you have to ask yourself before buying your new or second-hand vehicle is: how long is it?
So, just how long is a car? What is the average length of a car? It’s a crucial query because you have to know that to have peace of mind you’ll be able to park your car in your street, in your driveway, or in your garage.
A city dweller will prefer a short, easy-to-park car, whereas a country resident may not be so concerned about their vehicle fitting into a city car park.
Note: for the purposes of this yarn, we’re focussing on commercially available mainstream passenger cars.
So, what is the length of an average car? Read on.
Well, there’s a fair bit of logic/common sense behind the existence of differing car lengths. Ever tried fitting a soccer team’s worth of kids in a Kia Picanto? No? That’s because it just wouldn’t work, would it?
That’s why carmakers build cars to suit all of the different mobs in the world: single people, couples, families of various sizes, soccer teams… you get the idea.
But generally speaking, cars within the same realm – i.e. hatchbacks, SUVs, utes – will have measurements that are pretty close to each other, although there may be an outlier or two that straddle two categories of car, or at the very least blur the lines between two categories a bit.
The main advantage of having a short car (hatchback, etc) is its ease of parking in urban areas; the main advantage of having a longer car (wagon, van, ute) is that fact that the extra length boosts the vehicle’s capability as a people- or cargo-mover.
How much do vehicles within the same category differ? Glad you asked: Well, I reckon there’s about a school ruler’s length difference between the shortest and the longest in each category.
But I could be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last. Tear strips off me in the comments section.
Unless you haven’t already noticed – in Australia we use the metric system of measurement, as in metres, not feet. So, in this feature, we’ll refer to a car length in metres.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) defines selected vehicle types on their footprint (defined as a vehicle’s length in millimetres x width in millimetres, rounded).
This is a better way of considering how much space a vehicle actually occupies, rather than just taking its length alone into account.
But even the FCAI qualifies its category definition with “Note: These parameters are indicative only; exceptions do occur based on market focus and other subjective criteria. They are largely based on the specifications listed and are reflective of the volume-selling variant where cross over occurs.”
So, let’s take a deep dive.
We’re not taking into consideration micro cars*, such as the 137cm-long Peel P50 – they’re all on the wrong side of silly.
* “Hatch, sedan or wagon with a footprint < 6300mm”, according to FCAI.
The average length of a small SUV (with a length (mm) x width (mm) less than 8100mm) in this part of the vehicular market falls somewhere between 3.5m and 4.0m long.
The average length of a small car (with a length (mm) x width (mm) between 7501-8300mm) in this part of the vehicular market falls somewhere between 3.5m and 4m long. The Kia Picanto is about 3.6m long.
Generally, something that you and I might identify as a compact car would have a length falling somewhere between 4.1m and 4.3m long.
Compact crossovers fall in the 3.7-4.3m range.
You might think you know better. Have your say in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
Next, medium SUVs – (with a FCAI-defined footprint of 8101mm-8800mm) – which includes vehicles such as Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail, Volkswagen Tiguan, etc.
These vehicles are referred to as “medium” or “mid-size” and may have five or seven seats.
The average length of a medium SUV falls somewhere between 4.0m and 4.8m long.
Large and Upper Large SUVs
Upper large SUVs have an FCAI-defined footprint bigger than 9801mm. Think 300 Series LandCruiser (almost 5.0m long), Hyundai Palisade (close to 5.0m long), Nissan Patrol (almost 5.2m long), and Land Rover Defender 130 (almost 5.4m long) etc.
Utes are classified as light trucks, which are “Vehicles designed principally for commercial but may include designs intended for non-commercial applications”. They’re available as two-wheel drive (4x2) or four-wheel drive (4x4) vehicles, and as a cab chassis or with a tub at the rear.
These vehicles can legally carry up to five people in the cabin, depending on the body type, and have a FCAI-defined footprint of between 9001mm and 9501mm.
The average length of a ute available in Australia is about 5300mm.
The prize for the shortest decent ute in Australia should probably go to the Suzuki Mighty Boy from the mid-1980s at 3.2m long – but good luck getting your hands on one nowadays.
The longest ute currently available is probably the stretched VW Amarok XXL at 5904mm. Again, let us know in the comments section below if you think you know better. We’d love to hear from you. We really would…
Ah, yes, 'pick-ups', the invading and grossly polluting US forces of grotesquely gargantuan truck-like monstrosities swamping our fair shores – which is what I’d say if I were an EV-loving left-wing radical. (Which I’m not. Or am I?)
No longer confined to only being available via the grey market, pick-ups have been available via mainstream distributors for years. We’re talking about the likes of the Ram 1500, the Ram 2500, the Chevrolet Silverado, the soon to arrive Ford F-150, and their length is on average about 6000mm.
That’s easy. Simply head directly to the CarsGuide website – carsguide.com.au – oh, you’re already here!
In that case, go straight to the menu bar at the top of the page and tap ‘Pricing and Specs’ and that will take you, yes, to the ‘Pricing and Specs’ section.
Also, feel free to go to the appropriate carmaker’s website and download the specification sheet relevant to your particular choice of vehicle.