Parking chaos likely as massive SUVs are too long and wide for UK car parks

A Ford Ranger Raptor

Around 161 cars were found to be too long for UK parking spaces

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 25/08/2023

- 09:57

Updated: 25/08/2023

- 16:05

Some vehicles are more than half a metre longer than an average UK parking space

A staggering 161 cars on the market are too long for a standard parking space in the UK, according to a new study.

Average parking bays in the UK measure to around 16ft long and 8ft wide (4.8m x 2.4m), with only 129 vehicles exceeding this limit in 2018.

The research, from Which?, found that 12 vehicles exceed the limit by more than 11.8 inches or 30cm.

Many car manufacturers are producing more vehicles which are larger than in previous years due to very strong consumer demand.

A large vehicle parked

A number of vehicles are also too wide for parking spaces, leaving little space to exit the vehicle


The study also found that 27 cars are so wide that drivers may struggle to open the doors when parked in a bay.

The BMW i7 has been named as the longest vehicle in the study, exceeding the standard parking space size by almost 60cm or two feet.

The luxury saloon measures in at almost 5.4 metres long and is part of the new BMW series which could also exceed the limits of a UK parking space.

Similarly, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid and Audi 8 were more than 37cm too long for a parking bay.

Although many drivers may prefer to drive in larger, more comfortable vehicles, they do run the risk of potentially being scratched or even crashed into, especially in narrow car parks.

Earlier this month, Swedish manufacturer Volvo announced plans to end sales of estate and saloon cars in its UK range, insisting on producing larger SUVs and electric cars.

A statement from the brand said: “Appetite for our saloon and estate models has fallen to very low levels in the UK, which has led to our decision to remove these models from sale in the UK.”

Research from the National Energy Foundation found that SUVs generated more carbon emissions than the aviation industry from 2010 to 2018.

The Which? report also found that a number of cars would leave motorists with less than 22cm of space on either side of the doors.

It added: “The Land Rover Discovery's body width measures a remarkable 2.073 metres, which provides a slim 16.35cm space each side to open doors. That's little more than the height of an iPhone 14 Plus.

“Better suited for off-roading, carrying a swathe of passengers comfortably and towing larger loads, the Discovery isn't quite the thing for tight urban car parks.”

Commenting on the findings, the British Parking Association said multistorey car parks would provide particular issues for motorists with larger vehicles because they are not easily adaptable.


A car parking

The BPA said it was difficult for parking structures to adapt to larger vehicles


The BPA continued, saying: “A good car park will have the right balance of capacity and efficiency, as cramming in lots of small bays is obviously counter-productive.”

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