But it’s too big for me!

They say bigger is better but size, in cars, doesn’t matter as much as you think.

TIME AND TIME again I’ve heard people say they like a car, but don’t want one that big. The car they’re referring to is always a bit larger than their current car, and they’re worried about parking and maneuvering.

In reality, these fears are unfounded.

If you’re used to driving a certain size of car the moment you step into a larger one it will feel big, clumsy and difficult. But you quickly adjust, and after a while stepping back into a smaller car feels like you’ve jumped into a go-kart.

This even happens to us experienced journalists. I’ve just spent a week driving a Ram 2500…


…which weighs around 3500kg and is over 6 metres long. Then I jumped into a Hilux…


…which is about 2000kg and 5.5m long, nowhere near as tall and much narrower.

Let me tell you, the Hilux felt like my own Toyota 86 in comparison, so nimble and quick. Yet of course it’s not, and had I moved from say a Swift Sport to the Hilux it’d have felt like a barge.

The point is; if you’re thinking of a bigger car, give it a long test drive. Even over a weekend, even if you have to rent it. You’ll be surprised how quickly you manage to deal with the extra size. And a lot comes down to the type of car too. My little Toyota 86 has low clearance, small mirrors, poor visibility out to the rear and a large turning circle for its size. In many ways, a Discovery is easier to manouve as it has what the Toyota lacks. And these days technology helps a great deal; reversing cameras plus front and rear park sensors, even 360 degree surround cameras.

Just give that larger car a proper try. You will surprise yourself.

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6 years ago

I had to drive a LandCruiser Wagon a while back. While it was quite awful to drive, when I came to park the thing, it was horrendous – rear visibility was zilch, the front had a massive bull-bar making it many inches longer than it needed to be. Driving in busy traffic wasn’t confidence inspiring either. Yes, I was sitting up high and could see over all the other cars, but in reality I didn’t know what was happening down at real car level – everything was too high, mirrors didn’t help either, as they’re high too.

Stephen Harrison
Stephen Harrison
6 years ago

I agree with Robert about putting in the extra effort to evaluate what any particular car is like to drive and live with. Also the same argument works in reverse, that smaller car may be ‘big enough’ if you investigate and plan appropriately. Where I don’t agree is in the feel when swapping around, my regular driving shuffle is across 4 vehicles from 2 to 7 seats and 600-2400kg, the biggest is under many conditions the easiest to manoeuvre, but actually harder to pack for a trip away than the next one down in size and weight. Among the regular fleet I really don’t notice much when swapping as they are all very familar to me.

6 years ago

That’s why cars are bigger and bigger now. Bigger is better? LOL.
Whatever technology you have two too big cars parking next to each other will cause problem opening doors. It’s just physics.

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper