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How car models are growing bigger with each new generation

Today's cars are nowhere close to the dimensions of its predecessors from a few generations before.

The dimensions of cars are growing by the generation. Today's cars are nowhere close to the dimensions of their predecessors from a few generations before.

Modern cars, be it sedan, hatchback or SUVs have grown massively in size compared to their older iterations, some even out-sizing their much premium siblings. For example, the 2022 Honda Civic is almost, if not larger than an Accord from the 80s.

However, there is a valid reason for this. Cars today are subjected to more stringent vehicle safety norms, than back in the day. Modern cars need to come standard with thicker pillars, heavy doors with stronger bracing and fatter bumpers to accommodate crumple zones. All this, along with the need to have a spacious cabin, packed with plenty of comfort and convenience features; adds up to the large dimensions seen on cars today.

But, by how much have the models grown? We've listed out the 6 most popular models, comparing the dimensions of their current generation, to some of its predecessors.

1980 vs 2017 Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry like any other model on our list has been on sale for a long time in different markets around the world, including India. The latest-generation Toyota Camry has been on sale since 2017 and is offered as a premium sedan offering.

The first-gen Toyota Camry went on sale in 1980 and measured 4350 mm in length, 1645 mm in width, 1390 mm in height and had a wheelbase of 2500mm. The latest-gen iteration has grown by 476 mm in length, while its wheelbase has also increased by 226 mm.

1980 vs 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser

Another popular Toyota on our list is the Land Cruiser SUV. The extremely popular and highly capable go-anywhere SUV from Toyota has been on sale since the 1950s.

While the Toyota Land Cruiser has always been a big SUV, the 2022 iteration has further grown in size. Compared to the 1980 model (60-series), the SUV has grown by 275 mm, while the wheelbase has increased by 120 mm.

1981 vs 2021 Honda Accord

Honda Accord is yet another premium sedan which has grown massively in its overall dimensions. The second-generation Honda Accord in 1981 measured 4410 mm in length, 1650 mm in width, 1375 mm in height and had a wheelbase of 2450 mm.

These figures might look big even in today's standards, but the latest-gen Accord has out-grown its predecessor by over 472 mm in length and close to 400mm in wheelbase. The Honda Accord is currently in its 10-generation iteration, having been unveiled earlier this year.

1981 vs 2022 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is considered to be the pinnacle of luxury sedans across the world. The S-Class has always debuted the latest features, while also offering the best comfort and luxury quotient among all its rivals. The 2nd-gen W126 iteration was no different. The luxury sedan back in 1981 measured close to 5 metres (4995 mm) in length, with a wheelbase just under 3 metres (2,935 mm).

The latest-generation S-Class, however, surpasses both figures by quite a margin. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (currently in its 7th-gen iteration) has a length of 5246 mm and a wheelbase of over 3,165 mm.

1983 vs 2022 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is a popular executive sedan offering, with its latest 11th-generation iteration being unveiled earlier this year. Similar to its much premium sibling, the Accord, the Civic has also grown quite a bit in size, while also coming packed with features and equipment.

Compared to its 3rd-generation sedan model, the new Honda Civic has grown by almost a metre in length from 3830 mm to 4656 mm. Its wheelbase as well, has increased by 450mm and now measures 2700 mm.

1983 vs 2021 BMW 3 Series

The 1983 BMW 3 series, the E30, is considered to be one of the most iconic models from the Bavarian carmaker. The saloon was on sale between 1983 and 1990 and was offered in a range of variants, powertrain options and with the M package as well.

The latest-iteration of the 3 Series was introduced in late-2020. The range-topping M3 version features a controversially-large front grille. The new model, like all other models in our list has also grown considerably, compared to its iconic predecessor.

 
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