Forget the women driver jokes — in reality, women behind the wheel make much more sense than men since they forego the masculine thirst for performance (why else does Road & Track exist?) and instead focusing on cars that are friendly to families.
A new survey from iSeeCars.com identified 10 popular brands with prospective buyers that are at least 60 percent female, based on searches. Boy, do women love made-in-Korea Kias! The Forte, Sorento, Rio and quirky Soul are four of the 10. And a fifth is the Tucson, from sister company Hyundai.
How did that Jeep get on the women's list? (Photo: DeusXFlorida/flickr)
This makes sense because Korean cars offer a winning combination of affordability, practicality and stylishness. I recently wrote a paean to the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited, and my most recent ride is another sensible choice, a $36,000 Kia Optima SX Limited (a big car, with 32 mpg on the highway). Is the Kia's unique quilted upholstery a bid for female customers?
"What the study says is that women car buyers are more practical, preferring cars that are safer, fuel efficient and affordable," says Phong T. Ly, iSeeCars' CEO. "All of the cars in the women's top 10 list are compact cars or crossovers and most have a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety rating of four or five."
Affordable Vehicle Options
Men want Cobras, and damn the fact it has only two seats and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars! (Photo: Bill Abbott/flickr)
Women don't believe in wasting money on cars. I don't either; if you ask me for a recommendation, you'll likely hear me tout the value of some inexpensive compact. The female half of the population opted for cars that averaged just $14,870. Absurdly, men aimed for the stars — their cars had a median price of $49,224. That’s more than three times more!
The guys drool over pickup trucks and high-speed technology, as seen in the Nissan GT-R (the top choice) at $80,450. An incredible 99.1 percent of the inquiries about that car were from men. And look at these totally impractical choices, in descending order: BMW M3 (#2, at $35,763); Porsche Cayman (#3, $43,303); Porsche 911 (#4, $65,810); Lexus GS350 (#5, $33,004); Bentley Continental GTC (#6, $113,666); Chevrolet Express Cargo (#7,$16,433); Ford F-350 Super Duty (#8, $28,870); Cadillac CTS-V (#9, $44,555); and GMC Sierra 2500 HD (#10, $31,109).
Based on that list, women should be the family car buyers. In addition to the previously mentioned Korean cars, they opted for: Nissan Versa (#2, $12,144); Volkswagen Beetle (shoulda been the Golf, but whatever, #3 at $18,179); Ford Fiesta (#5, $13,237); Jeep Patriot (everyone makes mistakes, #7, $15,615); and Mitsubishi Outlander (#8, $15,173).
Has any man ever bought a minivan? (Photo: LHOON/flickr)
Note that there only two domestic brands there, and one of them — the Patriot — is a bad idea. It's a sign that the Big Three have to do more to appeal to female buyers. It's suicide not to, especially since women make 65 percent of new-car-buying decisions.
The Income Inequality
One reason men may opt for more expensive cars is that their income is 18 percent higher than women's overall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But keep in mind that the men chose cars that, even with that gender gap, are completely out of their price range.
The Bentley Continental GTC, really? Shouldn't those be on the shopping lists of the 1 percent? The lesson here: Men are dreamers; women make the sensible decision for the family.
As this video indicates, women — even when they know what they want — have had a tough time being taken seriously by car dealers: