With fuel prices ever creeping northwards you'd think the automakers would start slowing down on upping the size of their new models. Unfortunately, the notion of 'less is more' isn't the case when it comes to building and selling new cars. The belief in the auto industry is that consumers view bigger as better, a problem that's increasingly being associated with vehicles not normally regarded as being large.

According to data compiled by Edmunds, SUVs have grown on average ten inches in length and gained 474 pounds over the past decade, a trend that's reflected in almost all other segments. The Honda Accord and Civic models are a prime example of the practice that's occurring right across the industry. For example, the current '07 Civic sedan (pictured) has nearly the same legroom as a 1990 Accord and they're only around 100 pounds apart.

The major problem lies in fact that more weight requires more horsepower, which usually requires higher fuel consumption, a vicious cycle that automakers are now being forced to change.

There are still some carmakers using innovative packaging and better technology to make new models lighter. Mazda lopped off a massive 100kg from its already super-small Mazda2 model, and the new Audi TT is lighter than the outgoing car thanks to an aluminum spaceframe construction.

[Source: USA Today]