I struggle with the idea that it is all about safety and kit.Agreed, I parked my Bertone Coupe once next to a BMW X5 which was twice as big in every plane, yet still had essentially the same accommodation. And my 1980's car, considered quite a porker in its day is now smaller than a current model 911.
The tradeoff is of course safety and equipment levels.
Good observation. I've been in a few new (well, modern era) cars of late that were big outside but a tad pokey inside. I know there's air con gubbins and an airbag behind it, but why does a dash need to be so big? Same with seats. Apologies, I don't remember what car is was, but I thought 'why are the seats so large/thick?' Ok there was probably a side airbag there, and maybe a bigger seat frame is stronger in a shunt (esp a rear impact), but the seats were so big they needed their own seats. Obviously there are reasons for this, so this an observation rather than a criticism.Cars are just massive today, and yet they seem more cramped on the inside!
i expect the creature comforts add some weight, but most of it was available back in the 80s as well it's just you only got all electrics, air con etc on a top of the range Mercedes or Jaguar were as nowadays these features are available on any car along with quite a few extra things like sat nav and even a degree of self driving autonomy like adaptive cruise or in tesla's case auto pilot (experiencing that really was like looking into the future)fair point, but are they getting more room? (I only ask because I don't know. Maybe they are.) From recent experience, it seems like the interior exists to accommodate its overstuffed gubbins first, and people second.
I personally think that the negative factor point has already been reached with respect to your last point. There are, albeit a small minority, of drivers who seem to think that the size of their car will save then from injury, particularly in lower speed incidents, and push on regardless of who has the true right of way. Amber/red gamblers come to mind and mothers on the school run who are running late and of course those who cannot abide being out of (audio) contact with their friends and drive with their attention on the mobile phone.I haven't done any research or analysis, which is always the bedrock of a good interweb argument.....
So here's the pitch?
Does the risk justify the cost, effort, aesthetic? How far would we go to further reduce the impact of accidents? Is there a point at which the sheer size of the solution becomes a negative factor overall (poor manoeuvrability, visibility reduced, over-confidence encouraged etc.)?