BY 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. Similarly, they want their women to be smart, look good, feel good and essentially be someone they are proud to call theirs.
After spending some time talking to 50 males and 50 females to understand how the different features of a car appeal to the genders differently, here are what I found men and women want from a car:
- 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 (i.e. size, shape, colour and design)
Visual appeal is important to both men and women but in a slightly different 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.
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.
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 began 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 reflect the driver’s identity 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 with body kits and spoilers.
The list can go on endlessly and of course there are also common factors that both men and women emphasise. Pricing and value for money, for example, are definitely somethings 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 — who generally buy less big ticket items and thus tend to be more spendthrift — view a car more like a pet than a partner!