Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

New cars have gained nearly 400 kg in seven years

Data analysis shows that between 2016 and 2023, the average unladen weight of new cars rose from 1,553 kg to 1,947 kg.

Published: Jul 5, 2024 04:25:24 PM IST
Updated: Jul 5, 2024 04:26:29 PM IST

Over time, cars have become wider and heavier. Over time, cars have become wider and heavier. Image: ShutterstockOver time, cars have become wider and heavier. Over time, cars have become wider and heavier. Image: Shutterstock

The average weight of new cars has increased by almost 400 kg in just seven years, according to British website Autocar. The widespread popularity of SUVs and the rise of electric models featuring large batteries are two factors driving this trend.

Data analysis shows that between 2016 and 2023, the average unladen weight of new cars rose from 1,553 kg to 1,947 kg. The trend has continued this year, since in the first quarter of 2024, the average weight of the cars tested by Autocar now exceeds two metric tonnes (2,087 kg). The record in this respect is set by the Mercedes-Benz EQS, an electric SUV weighing in at 2,899 kg.

This increase is partly due to the rising popularity of SUVs, which have continued to grow in size. In 2016, they weighed an average of 1,722 kg. Seven years later, their average weight is 1,985 kg.

Electrification, too, has played a major role in increasing the weight of new cars. In 2023, the electric models tested by Autocar had an average weight of 1,991 kg, compared to 1,897 kg for combustion-engine models. Excluding hybrids, this figure falls to 1,841 kg, or 150 kg less than the average electric car.

Also read: How Mercedes Benz's strategic patience made it India's largest luxury carmaker

Last but not least, this spectacular rise in the average weight of new cars is also due to the increasingly limited range of small city cars and no-license vehicles. In other words, there are fewer and fewer models weighing less than 1,000 kg to offset the weight of the heaviest cars on the market. In 2023, Autocar tested just one car weighing less than a tonne.

Meanwhile, cars are becoming ever wider—another trend accentuated by the growing popularity of SUVs, particularly in the city. And this poses safety problems for other road users, starting with pedestrians and cyclists.