Understanding Car Size and Dimensions in the UK

By Emma Williams
Understanding Car Size and Dimensions in the UK

Understanding Car Size and Dimensions in the UK

How do you decide what car is the right size for your needs and how does its dimensions affect what you can do with it when you have leased it. Here we try to help you understand what size of lease cars are available in the UK and what size lease car might work best for you.

First of all let’s look at what Car Sizes are available in the UK:

City Cars

The typical length of a city car is under 3.2 metres. Examples of this category would be the Kia Picanto or the Fiat 500. They are, like their name suggests best for city driving and parking easily. What have they got going for them – they are highly manoeuvrable and offer excellent fuel efficiency. On the down side there is limited passenger and boot space.


Typically they are 3.2 to 4 metres in length. Examples in this category are the Citroen C3 or the Volkswagen Polo. They are good for urban commuting and for meeting the needs of small families. Like the City Cars they offer good fuel efficiency and are a useful compact size. On the down side they are lacking in rear passenger space.

Small Family Cars or Hatchbacks

They measure 4 to 4.5 metres in length. Examples being the Volkswagen Golf or the Honda Civic. Ideal for small families and for daily commuting. Pros would be balanced size and space and good fuel efficiency, Cons would be only suitable for small families – would be a bit of a squeeze for larger families..

Large Family Cars

Generally 4.5 to 4.8 metres in length, examples being the Hyundai Ioniq or the BMW 3 Series. Great cars for families and longer trips. They have spacious interiors and offer good all-round comfort. Down sides however would be larger footprint and higher fuel consumption.

Executive Cars

These are over 4.8 metres in length, typical examples being the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Audi A8. They are luxurious and offer maximum passenger comfort. They have extensive interior space and advanced features. On the downside they are expensive and offer less maneuverability.

SUVs and Crossovers

Length can vary from 4.2 to 5.2 metres. Examples of this category stretch from the Ford Puma (small) Nissan Qashqai (mis-size) to the BMW X5 (large-size) and the Range Rover (full size). Ideal for families, with some also offering off-road capability and a higher driving position. They are versatile and the larger models offer ample boot space and a higher ground clearance. However, they bring with them a larger footprint and typically higher fuel consumption.

MPV’s (Multi-Purpose-Vehicles)

These can be 4.4 to 5 metres in length. Examples of this category would be the Volkswagen Touran and the Dacia Jogger. Perfect for large families and carrying multiple passengers, they bring flexible seating configurations and spacious interiors. On the down side they are bulky and can be less stylish!

Pickup Trucks

Length measures from 5 to 5.8 metres and popular vehicless in this size are the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Hilux. Very good for towing, hauling and off-road work. Pros would be their strong utility and high payload capacity. Cons could be their large size and often lower fuel efficiency.

So what should you consider when thinking about the ideal car size for your needs? 

There are a number of practicalities that will influence your decision:

For instance, consider the size of your parking space. You might fancy a roomy, luxurious car but will it fit in your garage or will it be easy to manoeuvre in the places you typically visit - for example congested urban areas. In this instance a smaller car might be more practical. Are you going to be in very rural areas or occasionally in need of a bit of off-road driving – here your best consideration might be an SUV or Pickup.

Think about your passenger and boot needs. Going to be driving on holiday with the kids, then you might benefit from the extra space offered by an MPV or SUV. However if you are a couple and no kids then a small family car might be perfectly adequate.

Finally smaller cars generally offer better fuel efficiency so this is a consideration but bear in mind now with hybrid and electric vehicle technology, larger cars are becoming more fuel-efficient.

So there’s lots for you to think about. Understanding car sizes and dimensions will help you find a car that not only fits your space but also meets your functional requirements. Whether your priorities are manoeuvrability, comfort, boot space or off-road capability, there’s a category that suits your needs. Speak to one of our account managers if you have any questions about car practicalities that we haven’t addressed here, they are knowledgeable and friendly and always very helpful.