The roads of Britain are changing radically as sales of the traditional and once aspirational family sedans plummet and buyers instead pick SUVs.

New figures reveal that sales of family cars are down by 250,000 compared with a decade ago.

Drivers are now abandoning medium-sized cars in favour of SUVs and people carriers which boast higher driving positions and flexible seating.

Sales of compact and fuel-efficient city cars such as the Volkswagen Up are also rising according to the analysis by British motoring magazine Auto Express.


A decade ago, nearly one in five new cars bought in Britain was a family sedan -- compared with just one in 10 last year.

Sales of traditional four-door family cars fell by 55 per cent between 2004 and 2013 -- from 459,041 to 208,462. Sales of the smallest city cars are up 122 per cent since 2004 -- from 36,171 to to 80,377.

And 248,003 SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai rolled out of dealerships -- up 38 per cent on a decade ago when the figure was 179,439. Sales of larger multi-purpose vehicles are up 20 per cent to 150,766.

In New Zealand, the SUV market is the fastest growing with sales up 27 per cent this year. Last month seven SUVs were in the top 15 for new-vehicle sales with the Nissan X-Trail in the number two spot.

Auto Express editor Steve Fowler said: "The rise of the sports utility vehicle has marked the demise of the traditional family sedan. The SUV is killing them off.

"The new SUVs are sports cars for people who can't have a sports car -- and everybody wants one.

"People like sitting up high in a commanding position -- especially if stuck behind a truck. You can't do that in a sedan. And they like the feeling of space."

Sales of compact family cars such as the VW Golf fell by 19 per cent from 729,690 in 2004 to 588,402 in 2013.

Sales of luxury cars such as bigger Mercedes models are down by 39 per cent in a decade, from 13,620 in 2004 to 8346 in 2013.

Demand for high-powered sports cars such as Lotus is also tailing off as petrol prices rocket. And executive cars were up 9 per cent from 109,667 to 119,745. Sales of sports cars fell by 36 per cent from 73,940 in 2004 to 47,544.

Even sales of super-minis such as the Toyota Yaris were down by 3 per cent since 2004, from 839,604 to 813,092.

The Auto Express research also reveals marques such as Korea's Hyundai and Kia and the Czech Skoda are enjoying bumper growth.

Sales of Kia models were up 115 per cent compared with 10 years ago, while Hyundai has seen growth of 104 per cent in the same period.

Skoda, part of VW, has seen demand for its cars boom by 88 per cent, while Audi is selling 84 per cent more cars in the UK than it did in 2004.

-Daily Mail