WE all know that cars are growing in size and weight at an alarming rate – and although there are one or two exceptions to the weight rule (MINI and Audi TT, for instance are lighter than the cars they replaced) – it’s the size issue that really is an eye-opener. This picture, taken at work, is a beautiful illustration of the difference between old and new – the car on the right is a 1.4-litre Peugeot 308, registered this year – while on the left is a 1995 Peugeot 306 1.9D.
There’s only a generation-and-a-bit (in car terms) between them, and yet, the difference in stature is amazing. There’s no foul play in taking this picture – the rear wheels on both cars are kissing the kerb at the edge of this car park, so the 308 is effectively no nearer to the camera, despite appearances.
Driving both cars reveals that the 308 is obviously a far more civilised machine, and from the front, there appears to be acres more room. But in reality, that’s down to elbow space, and that massive cab-forward windscreen. I’m reckoning that the next one (will they dare call it 309, I wonder?) will be pretty much a one-box effort, and you can see that’s the direction Peugeot’s going through its evolution. And it’ll probably be bigger. And uglier.
And that’s why the 308 feels so refined… it’s effectively the same size as a 1990s executive car.
But do cars really need to be as big as they’re becoming? Especially as roads are becoming more crowded. Imagine how fewer jams there would be, if the average family car was no bigger than an Austin 1100…
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.