Parking spots make no sense for today's cars

Cars are getting bigger, spots smaller. Who's in charge here?

Brian Cooley Editor at Large
Brian Cooley is CNET's Editor at large and has been with the brand since 1995. He currently focuses on electrification of vehicles but also follows the big trends in smart home, digital healthcare, 5G, the future of food, and augmented & virtual realities. Cooley is a sought after presenter by brands and their agencies when they want to understand how consumers react to new technologies. He has been a regular featured speaker at CES, Cannes Lions, Advertising Week and The PHM HealthFront™. He was born and raised in Silicon Valley when Apple's campus was mostly apricots.
Expertise Automotive technology, Smart home, Digital health Credentials
  • 5G Technician, ETA International
Brian Cooley
2 min read
Watch this: Parking spots: Bigger is better these days

Cars are getting bigger. Every model of car is bulkier than it used to be, and we're buying bulkier models of cars (read: trucks, SUVs and crossovers). That's all fine, except cars spend 95 percent of their time on this Earth parked.


Not quite sure why Porsche published this image. It's not exactly flattering to see how bulky its flagship sports car has become.


Parking spots have long been going the opposite way of cars: getting smaller. Been to the mall lately? Remember driving past all those "compact" spots that seem sized for something other than what you drive?

Average parking spots in the US are 7.5 to 8 feet wide, down from 9 to 10 feet a few decades ago when we drove supposed "land yachts." Here's the problem: We're driving land yachts again. A 2017 Range Rover is 78 inches wide, just 0.6 inches narrower than the 1965 Lincoln Continental that a well-heeled person might have driven in a previous life. 

Parking space dimensions are typically governed by local codes, but that may only apply to spaces on public lots and streets. Mall and garage owners can often cram as many spots into a given paved space as a straight face will allow them and let you worry about the dings and keyings.

You have a few ways to fight back:

  • Look for angled spaces; they create a little less door panel battle. 
  • Find an end slice, even if it's in the south 40. 
  • Look for a wall you can snug your passenger side up to, creating space along your driver's side. 
  • Get those magnetic door bumpers, which prevent dings.
  • Do a Lambo door conversion.