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Summary
  • The length of the average car in the US is 14.7 feet, with individual vehicles measuring between 10 and 18 feet.
  • Mini cars are the shortest since they have an average length of 10.5 feet.
  • Car length affects things like handling, safety, and car insurance costs.

You’ve probably heard other people comment about how cars have grown longer in recent years. The popularity of bigger SUVs and trucks prompted manufacturers to extend the length of their machines.

But how long is the average car in the US? What is the length of your vehicle, and where can you get accurate information? How can you use the knowledge of your car or truck’s length in everyday driving?

What’s the Length of the Average Car?

The length of the average car seen on US roads is 14.7 feet long. Individual models can range between 10 and 18 feet.

Vehicle models can vary in length even if they belong to the same car size class. The manufacturer’s design philosophy might evolve, leading to some year models becoming longer or shorter. There are also practical considerations, such as the dimensions of the passenger compartment and cargo area.

Here are the car size classes and their respective average length:

Mini Cars

Mini cars are some of the shortest production automobiles available. Examples include the Kia Picanto, Hyundai i10, and Toyota Aygo. If you don’t recognize these names, they’re models in foreign markets that you won’t easily find in the US.

The average mini car measures 10.5 feet in length.

Contrary to expectations, the Mini Cooper doesn’t count as a mini car. Instead, the Mini is a slightly larger compact car, which we’ll cover shortly.

Compact Cars

Next up are compact cars. Also called small cars, they’re the budget-conscious commuter’s choice. This class includes some of the most popular models on the market. Think of the Honda Civic, Chevrolet Bolt, and Mazda 3. Oh, and don’t forget the Mini Cooper, which isn’t as miniaturized as its name indicates.

With an average length of 13.8 feet, compact cars are longer than mini cars but shorter than other size classes.

Compact SUVs

If you want a relatively small vehicle with more leg space, a larger cargo area, and at least some ability to go off-roading, go for a compact SUV. This car size class boasts popular names like the fun Mazda CX-5, comfy Hyundai Tucson, mighty Ford Bronco, and legendary Jeep Wrangler.

A compact SUV model is 14.4 feet long on average.

Midsize Cars

Midsize cars earned immense popularity with drivers and passengers by striking a good balance between comfort, fuel efficiency, interior space, and road performance. The Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Chevrolet Malibu are some models that define this car size class.

The average length of a typical midsize car is 14.8 feet.

Full-size Cars

Alternatively called large cars, full-size cars go all out in engine power, luxury, and roominess. Some of the best-known models of full-size cars are the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Nissan Maxima.

Full-size cars have an average length of 15.7 feet.

Compact Trucks

Compact trucks refer to small and midsize pickups. We’re talking about models like the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, and Honda Ridgeline. While they’re relatively small for trucks, they’re longer than any car class.

The average length of a small truck is 16.3 feet.

Large SUVs

When you think of an SUV that can comfortably carry an entire family and their gear, it’s a large SUV. The Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition, GMC Yukon, and Jeep Wagoneer are the best examples of this car size class.

The length of an average large SUV is 16.7 feet.

Large Trucks

Large trucks are big, powerful machines that can go anywhere and do heavy-duty hauling and loading jobs as easily as daily driving. We’re talking about vehicles like the Ram 1500, Ford F-150, and Chevrolet Silverado.

The length of an average large truck is 18.4 feet.

How Does Knowing the Average Length of a Car Help You?

There are several ways by which the length of your vehicle can affect your driving experience.

Handling

It’s more challenging to steer and control longer vehicles. They take up more space on the road and in a parking area, and you need more room to maneuver. Narrow streets and sharp corners pose challenges, especially if you’re in a hurry.

Safety

Longer vehicles give the feeling of being safer. There’s more space between you and the car ahead or behind you. That space often has more crush zones that help protect you.

However, size isn’t the only factor in a vehicle’s safety. Construction, engineering, and materials play much more significant roles in determining how safe your car or truck is during a collision.

Fuel Efficiency

The vehicle’s length also affects its fuel efficiency and mileage. Longer vehicles are usually heavier, which require more power and burn more fuel. Thankfully, engine and fuel technologies can compensate for some of the increased consumption.

Insurance

Some long cars have reduced insurance costs. These models usually have excellent safety records, which is a big plus for car insurance companies.

How to Find Out the Length of Your Car

You have several ways to find out how long your car is. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages.

Online VIN Decoder

The easiest way is using a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) decoder. The decoder can bring up information provided by the manufacturer, including the length of your car or truck. 

You can find free VIN decoders online. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides decoding services on its website. Plug your vehicle’s VIN into the decoder and find the length of your car or truck.

Consult a Car Shop

If you have an online automobile shop you trust, you can ask them for the length of your vehicle. You will need to give them your license plate number. The shop should get back to you with the relevant measurements.

Manual Measurement

Do you lack access to online sources? You can figure out the length of your car or truck with a tape measure or yardstick. Measure the bottom of your vehicle to get the most accurate results.

Some aftermarket parts can alter the length of your car. For example, the dimensions of aftermarket bumpers can differ from the factory-issue parts. So, it’s always a good idea to take a manual measurement.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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