A brand new convertible drives past. The driver has the top down, even though it’s quite chilly. They’re wearing sunglasses and the music’s blaring. What’s the first sentence you think of to describe the driver?
Actually, don’t answer that. But ‘car image’ is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. That’s because I’ve spent the last few days driving the new Toyota GT86.
It’s the Japanese brand’s latest sports car, developed in conjunction with Subaru, designed to offer all the thrills of a performance sports car at a fraction of the cost.
We’ll be doing a full review of the car’s performance soon, but for now, I’m interested in what it’ll say about its owner. To get things rolling, have a watch of our video where I asked my Which? colleagues to tell me what type of people they expected to buy the GT86.
So there’s clearly a mix of opinions. Some think it’s for flashy, young professional types. Others reckon the predominant buyer will be in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Personally, I think the GT86 is adequately designed to appeal to the wider age range, thanks to its modest styling and timid engine note.
Car personality preconceptions
Thus, my own preconceptions have urged me to open up the floor to hear what you think a car says about its driver. The fact is – a lot of us make assumptions about people according to the car they drive.
So I wonder – is this a factor we consciously consider when we buy cars? Do we look at a vehicle and ponder, ‘someone might think I’m a bit of a show-off if I drive that’ or ‘does this look like a boring person’s car’?
Let me start with my own car. I drive a Toyota Yaris. It might not be particularly desirable, but it’s affordable to run and fulfils all my motoring needs for now. It’s practical and, according to the 2012 Which? Car Survey, still fairly reliable. I’m probably younger than most people would expect for a Yaris driver, which may lead them to think I’m someone who buys with their head instead of their heart. And does this bother me? Absolutely not.
Now it’s your turn – have you ever bought a car with your image in mind? Do you have any preconceived ideas about the drivers of certain car brands and models?