Men vs. Women: Cars

Category: Men vs. Women Series

Hot Babe in Hot Car

I can’t believe I haven’t taken on cars in this series on Men vs. Women! There are such gigantic differences in how we look at, buy, appreciate, and deal with the horseless carriage. In many ways, I think our respective attitude about cars is emblematic of our attitudes about most everything. Again, this is not a right or wrong, just a big difference.

Classic Old Car Ad

The regular caveat for these columns is that I am making general observations. There are exceptions to any generality. I know. I’m also not concerned about being politically correct so for those feminists and others that think men and women are the same, except for our upbringing, I wish you well but skip reading any more since it will only aggravate you and me!

My wife is the quintessential example of a woman and cars, in my opinion. Her car choice begins with her perception of the value and impression of the brand. Hers is Mercedes Benz. When I dare to suggest that some high-end Japanese luxury carmakers might have competitive models, the icy glare quickly shuts me up. After that, it’s the color that matters.

After that, nothing matters.

Most popular cars with womenMost popular cars with men

May I be so bold as to suggest that men might consider other things when choosing their next automobile?

Herewith my alternating extreme generalities about men and women and cars, explicitly designed to irritate Women’s Studies professors:

~~ Women choose brand and color first. For them it’s the location, location, location equivalent (from Real Estate) for a car.

Sexy girl in Ferrari

                  I wonder if she knows what kind of car she’s sitting in?

~~ Men choose performance and looks first. Sort of like they choose their women. He didn’t really write that, did he?

~~ Women will do little or no research into their next car and rarely, if ever, open a car magazine.

~~ Men will often do extensive research about a multitude of cars before stepping into a showroom and most guys have at one time or another, had a subscription to at least one car magazine (mine was Road & Track).

1959 Cadillas with big fins

~~ Women would much prefer buying a new car.

~~ Men will buy a used car over a new one if it means getting the higher performing model.

~~ Women don’t really pay much attention to the “specs” of a car other than, perhaps, its miles-per-gallon.

Most expensive car in the world

                                             This car costs SEVEN figures!

~~ Men like to compare the horsepower of their cars in much the way they compare parts of their anatomy, as if the amount (or size) really mattered versus how it is used and distributed (a lightweight car may go faster with less horsepower than a heavier car with substantially more…you can do the other analogy yourself).

~~ Women like new cars and don’t really notice or care about “classics.”

James Bond Car from Goldfinger

~~ Every guy has his fantasy car from his youth. For me, it’s the Shelby Cobra from the sixties – not the Mustang version but the original real Cobra. Today, you can buy a kit replica for something like $90,000. An original cost many times that and is out of range for most every guy. Other guys like the classic “muscle” cars such as original Mustangs, Camaros, etc. I also really have a thing for the Aston Martin that appeared in the third James Bond movie, “Goldfinger,” perhaps the first time a car was such a co-star in a film.

~~ Women will use words such as “cute” to describe a car.

~~ Men would NEVER use “cute” to describe any car – maybe an occupant but not the vehicle itself.

Best Selling Cars in the United States

You should have noticed that the “men” observations are longer than the “women” ones precisely because men are more interested in cars than women. Men tend to like BIG toys while women tend to like smaller ones, like diamonds. There’s no right or wrong here and each gender can truly have very expensive taste in their luxury desires but the interest in jewelry for a man is probably equal to the interest in a Ferrari for a woman.

The only time a woman cares about a car is when it’s giving them an insight – right or wrong – into the financial wherewithal of a man they might be dating or interested in. Since financial security is high on most women’s lists of things they want in a man – ideally – the choice of his car is a potential signal of his success. The fact that he may be in hock for the car, simply leased it, and/or is in substantial debt because of his wheels, isn’t immediately clear when he drives up in his red Ferrari of black Porsche.

Classic Car Ad from The Fifties

Because men know the differences between the higher quality cars more than women, an apparently expensive car may not in fact be that expensive whereas a classic that looks less flashy may indeed be extremely valuable so a woman’s takeaway from his car may be wrong, regardless of its looks. Ironic given that men often make their first judgments about a woman based on her “looks.”

On that potentially divisive note, I end this edition of Men vs. Women and welcome your comments!

Hot Sports Car

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  • Ryan Biddulph

    Fun read Bruce. I am not a car guy per se but I do side with most of the guy stuff noted above. I guess I am doing too much walking and no real driving these days, living in a different country every month 😉



    • Bruce Sallan

      We in America are more obsessed with cars than anywhere else in the world I believe @ryanbiddulph:disqus – especially in mass-transit STARVED places like Southern California. I wish I didn’t need my car to go almost anywhere I need to go!

  • cookiesandclogs

    You obviously haven’t read my automotive blog for women and families at yet 🙂

    • Bruce Sallan

      Obviously @cookiesandclogs:disqus – but as always with this series, I make BIG generalities which always have plenty of exceptions!

  • bigguysmama

    smh My boys would know nothing about cars or have a love for classic cars if it weren’t for me. My newest car was chosen for function…for now. I wanted to make sure it had AWD, could seat at least 7, I wanted my rearview mirror to dim automatically (my one “girlie” choice?), I didn’t care about color, wanted to make sure it had towing capacity in case we wanted to tow something and it came with a towing package, which came in helpful with my move, etc. I already told my oldest when he’s rich and famous I want him to get me Ironhide from Transformers and I’d love a ’69 Camaro! I love taking my boys to classic car shows and we don’t go anywhere without talking about cars at least once.

    • Bruce Sallan

      That’s yet another reason I like you Mimi! @bigguysmama:disqus

  • Mei

    Car is a simple decision for us low income folks in Singapore lol We simply opted for the cheapest resale car in the market w the best value for $. We pay this thing called a certificate of entitlement for new cars, which can be more ex than the car itself!

    • Bruce Sallan

      Plus you do have good mass transit @disqus_mAYzV8PM6A:disqus right? Those options are limited in many parts of the United States hence the cultural obsession with cars!

      • Mei

        If you google, you’d find many complaints on it lol It is much more convenient in terms of distance/gaps between stations to one’s home. The complaints were mainly related to breakdowns..almost a national issue that’s also heard in court

        • Bruce Sallan

          I’m disappointed to hear that, @disqus_mAYzV8PM6A:disqus

  • Stirring Trouble International

    The Hudson picture is swell and everyone in the picture look very happy, great post Bruce well done.

    • Bruce Sallan

      Thanks @stirringtroubleinternationally:disqus – I’m getting a LOT of direct feedback from my column readers on this one – women that aren’t happy with me!

  • Jennifer Weberman

    I think I fit most aspects of the stereotype but I think you left out an important decision making factor for women: comfort/convenience to lifestyle. Last year we bought a new car. Hubby subscribed to Consumer Reports and researched various options for weeks. When he made his choice I knew we were test driving a reliable quality vehicle so all I then cared about was comfort and looks, with comfort trumping looks. For example, we planned to opt for leather seats until I test drove it and they felt too stiff (my rump is very delicate!!!) We also chose against a particular company because I didn’t like the way the center console was positioned – I had nothing to rest my elbow on! My hubby was unphased by these details, but they were deal breakers for me. Go figure 🙂

    • Bruce Sallan

      A “delicate rump” huh, @jenniferweberman:disqus?

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  • David Weber

    In this on-going series, this topic is one of the few that I agree has a very strong line of demarcation between male perspectives and female perspectives, at least when you are talking about mainstream male and female perspectives. For many of the other topics, the distinctions across the sexes is in my opinion much less cleanly separate.

    I am not ultimately a “car guy,” but I have always had some level of interest in or curiosity about cars. I have only a few times met a woman who reaches even my level of interest in the topic. Obviously, that perception reflects only my own experience. So I could be wrong when it comes to perceptions within the broad scope of the population at large.

    My favorite story of how men and women may view cars differently comes from a colleague of mine. About 15 years ago or so, she decided she needed a new car. She and her husband checked out a number of possibilities. She finally went with a Mercury Sable. Why? Because, she said, at night, when the taillights were on, the design of those lights and their position in relation to the license plate made the rear end of the car look like the face of a beaver (the animal…) and she thought that was cute and amusing. Surely only the most non-guy guy would ever choose a car for such a reason!

    • Bruce Sallan

      We agree @7f990e539df4ddefe26884eb65a5f04c:disqus??? Really! You not a “car guy?” – c’mon, I remember that Pinto!

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