Do You Prefer It Big or Fast?

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay

 Some like their cars big so they can be comfortable throughout the journey, while others like their cars fast as the high speeds thrill. Asking a man what he looks for in a car is like asking him what qualities he looks for in a woman or a wife. Next, asking him what features of a car matter most is like asking what physical attributes of a lady are most attractive to him.


The general rule of thumb is that women seek reliability, security and comfort in a car; like how they want to feel safe with their man. Hence, size of car for ease of parking, space in terms of storage and cabin, and convenient electronic aids like parking sensors and automatic doors matter to the ladies.


On the other hand, men are more concerned with power and performance, and safety at levels sufficient for all that might. They want their women to be smart, look good, feel good, and essentially be someone they are proud to call theirs.


I conducted a poll to see how features in a car appeal to the genders differently. Ultimately it depends on the purpose of the car, but generally these are the features in a car that matter most to…




Fuel economy and eco-friendliness Females tend to be more concerned about the environment and fuel consumption was the most popular feature mentioned when the ladies were asked to name what matters to them most.


Aesthetics (ie. Size, shape, colour and design) Visual appeal is important to both men and women but in a slightly varied way. Women want the car to be of a good size for ease of parking, and of a good shape and design that is pleasing to the eyes. But men want their car to be visually attractive, unique to the individual and as outstanding as possible. This is reflective of nature, where animals like the peacock have the male more visually striking than the female. 


Style I singled out style from the rest of the aesthetics because it is the aura and the flair of a car that isn’t somewhat the same as the lines of the body that run round the car. It’s the fashion of the car and how it makes them feel: emotive appeal, something that women are able to understand better as we are generally more emotional than men. 


Comfort and space Some people place more emphasis on how to get to the destination instead of getting to the destination. Women have highlighted that comfort and space are important factors in a car because they want to enjoy their ride. That means having a good air-conditioning system, sufficient cubby holes for storing their belongings, generous head and leg room and a spacious cabin that will make the car feel welcoming and non-claustrophobic with more sunlight streaming in. Sufficient storage space such as in the boot is also essential. 


Safety As I mentioned earlier, women crave for security in their men. Likewise in cars, they need to feel protected from danger when seated within their cars. Having airbags all around, good braking power and parking sensors are some examples of things that contribute to making a woman feel safe.


Ease of drivability There were some women who mentioned performance of a car. After hearing them elaborate why, I begin to realise that it’s not the same kind of performance that men crave for. For the women, performance of a car refers more to the ease of driving the car. Besides being of a visually pleasing shape and an easy-to-park size, the car should preferably have blind spots that are easy to overcome, smooth and quick acceleration that will help to get out of situations fast, and power steering with enough feel. Convenient driver aids like keyless entry, automatic wipers, automatic headlights and automatic tailgate buttons (in SUVs and MPVs) are some of the things that can really save the day.




Handling It’s not about how to drive the car, but how the car drives. Men are more particular when it comes to the cornering, turning, steering and braking abilities of the car. How the car feels in their hands and on the road is more vital than how many cup holders the cabin has or how many bags the boot can hold. 


Performance Men are hungry for power and they seek for performance from their cars. Also, due to the technicality of it all, men are more often seen tuning their cars and improving the specifications of their cars such as power-to-weight ratio, getting more torque, more power, faster acceleration times, higher stability during braking and sharper cornering. 


Reliability This would be a key concern for females as well, though not on the same basis. Men want reliability from the car, knowing that they can trust the engine, chassis and the build quality; like how they trust their wives to take care of the children. Women want reliability from the car in terms of a sense of security when being with it, like how they need their spouses to be able to head and run the family. 


Safety This is a common factor brought up repeatedly by both men and women, but not for the same reasons. In a stock car, males will ask about electronic driving aids like traction control and anti-lock braking system (ABS). Also, men increase the car’s safety levels in tandem with boosting the car’s power and specifications so that the car has more control at higher speeds. 


Chick magnet factor Personalising the car is to make it unique to the driver for an identity of its own and also to impress the chicks. Being able to draw attention by looking cool or sounding loud is the reason why some men spend so much money doing up their cars. Giving the car vinyl wrap or airbrush of some cool design, or upgrading of the exhaust system are some of the things they do. This leads to the next point.


Ability to modify By modifying here I mean tuning of the car under its bonnet and also dressing up of the car on its exterior. It is The list can go on endlessly and of course there are also common factors that both men and women emphasise on simultaneously. Like pricing and value for money for example, that is definitely something that both males and females will consider when buying a car.


But through this exercise, I learnt that men are as picky about choosing their cars as they are when choosing their wives. Also, women – generally buy less big ticket items and thus tend to be more spendthrift – view a car more like a pet than a partner!

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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