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Saloons fall out of favour

Time 9 years ago

THE demise of the family saloon, once the bastion of Britain’s family cars, has been driven by the rise of small-car dad and MPV mum, according to research released by the UK’s largest insurer Aviva.

In the 1980s the stereotypical two-car family had a large saloon, like a Ford Cortina (pictured) or Vauxhall Cavalier, and a small ‘runaround’ second car such as a Fiesta or a Datsun Cherry on the driveway. The women in the family almost always drove the smaller car.

Fast forward to today and the shape and size of the cars on our driveways and who is driving them have changed significantly.

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Aviva asked 2,500 UK adults about their family car history stretching back 30 years and found that, while more families than ever own a second car, there has been a significant shift towards a more equal size and value split between the cars driven by mum and dad.

High-spec smaller family cars, such as the Volkswagen Golf, the Mini and the Peugeot 207, driven equally by men and women, now dominate the top 10 most popular cars, replacing traditional family saloons like the Vauxhall Vectra, Volkswagen Passat and Ford Mondeo.

In fact, the traditional family saloon no longer features anywhere in the top 10 list of most popular car models with UK drivers.

Greater demand for fuel efficiency

And the big car/small car gender divide has changed completely. Two thirds of Fiesta drivers are now men. Women are increasingly opting for large, modern alternatives, and are more likely than men to drive big SUV and 4×4 hybrids such as the Citroen Picasso and the Toyota RAV4.

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As motoring costs increase and with greater demand for fuel efficiency, families are increasingly opting for two small cars or a small car and an MPV hybrid.

Heather Smith, director of car insurance at Aviva, said: ‘Thirty years ago the big saloon and the small ‘‘runaround’’ sitting side by side outside Britain’s family homes was a ubiquitous sight. Now you’re more likely to see two VW Golfs or newer SUV/4×4 hybrids like the Nissan Qashqai and the Suzuki Grand Vitara sharing driveway space.

‘As families’ lives become more busy and complex, with two working parents and children to be dropped off at school, it appears multi-tasking mums need a vehicle fit for both work and family life while cost and fuel efficiency are increasingly important to dad.’

Dave Brown's avatar

Dave, production editor on Car Dealer Magazine, is a journalist with more than 30 years' experience in the worlds of newspapers, magazines and public relations.

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