So you want to buy a car, and you already have the ideal dream machine locked away in the memory vault waiting for the perfect time to tell your old lady one afternoon. But the minute you open your mouth, she’s talking about how this “isn’t a practical purchase,” and how it costs more than a modest mortgage. All you wanted was a gently used Bentley Continental GTC with all the trimmings. Right?
Not to throw a wet towel on your dreams of owning an ultra-luxury car or anything, but a new study from the automotive research company iSeeCars.com reveals that when women shop for a fresh set of wheels, they typically have affordable and Korean in mind. Based on data gathered from over 54 million car sales and more than 500,000 consumer inquiries regarding car sales over a 2.75-year period, the report ultimately landed on my desk, and being a fan of Korean cars and ridiculously expensive vehicles, I felt that it was my civic duty to broach this topic.
After much research, iSeeCars.com discovered that out of all the cars on the used market, the 10 above appealed to more than 60% of prospective female buyers. While all of the vehicles that made the cut were either utilitarian and/or compact in nature, we were blown away to discover that half of them came from Korean brands. With the Hyundai Tucson taking top honors on the list, and four Kia models—Forte, Sorento, Rio, and Soul— snagging spots, it became pretty obvious as to what ladies look for in a vehicle when shopping around online.
There also were two Japanese contenders, as both the the Nissan Versa and Mitsubishi Outlander were cited, and while the two domestics were the Ford Fiesta and Jeep Patriot, only one European offering made the list — the Volkswagen Beetle. National ties aside, the bottomline for women revolved primarily around affordability and fuel economy, rather than getting hung up on things like luxury and performance.
“The qualities women really want in a car are affordability and practicality, in contrast to the kinds of cars men are most interested in buying,” says CEO of iSeeCars.com Phong Ly. He’s right, too: What women look for in a car is almost the complete polar opposite of what a guy pines for, and we now have the data to prove it.
While the average price of any of the cars on the previous list for women hovers around the $14,870 mark, with all of them being priced below $20,000, men have a completely different sense of what “value” means. In stark comparison to the ladies, the average price of a car on the men’s top ten list came in at about $49,224, which is more than triple that of what women preferred. Some blame the income gender gap, while others cite testosterone’s overpowering capabilities when it comes to practical decisions. But even though the Bureau of Labor Statistics says a man’s income is typically 18% higher than a woman’s, it typically balances out — that additional income often times gets spent on pampering the ladies.
“The difference in pricing seems to speak more to women’s interest in practicality, owning a car for transportation from point A to point B, and men’s view of cars as status symbols,” Ly says. This is a point that is hard to ignore, and while he’s right-on in that many men want to project themselves and their station in life via the vehicles they own. But Ly left out one tiny detail that makes most car enthusiast males go wild: Performance.
Just like Cialis is there to keep us propped up when things are looking down, so to does a high horsepower automobile and instill that sense of boyhood wonderment that can only be described as automotive enthusiasm. The list concocted by iSeeCars.com highlights this fact by showing us that men typically could give two shits about inexpensive compact practicality and fuel-efficiency.
We want sports cars with loud exhausts and tire smoke. Men typically like contraptions that have been purpose-built to perform, regardless of whether they may be hardcore pickups with tons of towing capacity or large cargo vans with customizable rails for welding tools. And let’s not forget the average male’s undeniable affinity for adrenaline jumping, rear-wheel drive supercars.
Take the Hyundai Tucson for example, the car that according to the study was most desired by women. It’s a crossover with about 170 horsepower that averages around 23 miles per gallon, and typically costs under $17,000 on the used market. Now compare that to the top vehicle choice on the men’s list, which just so happens to be the Nissan Skyline GT-R, a twin-turbo, all-wheel drive Godzilla of a machine that offers up 545 horsepower, and only gets fuel efficiency numbers that top out at 18. It also costs more than $80,000 on average, and has one of the most expensive insurance deductibles today.
The difference is pretty obvious, and even though women may complain that our performance purchases cost too much, are horrible on gas, and are about as impractical as a bag of marbles, there is one thing that this study has failed to mention: A lot of women love a sharp-looking sports car with heated seats and a successful man behind the wheel. Hit the throttle and put all 545 or whatever horsepower to the pavement, and then maybe she too shall see that while men totally get that a Tucson is great for daily driving, certain experiences in life cannot be replicated with 170 horsepower.