/ Motoring

What does your car say about you?

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?

Comments
Member

They are t******?

Member

Funny you should mention the Toyota Yaris, because I’ve noticed that they are almost always driven badly. It happens so often that I’ve noticed this trend for years. Every time I’m behind one, I expect to see some bad driving, usually involving holding up others unnecessarily or selfish or dangerous manoeuvres. I’ve concluded that bad drivers are attracted to the Yaris and Toyota’s marketing of it. On the rare occasions that I see them being driven well, I’m pleasantly surprised that some of their drivers are exceptions to the rule!

Member
Phil says:
25 July 2012

“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?”

Unprintable.

Member

Jail sentence. The car’s bent.

Member
Phil says:
25 July 2012

I have to agree that the Toyota Yaris has taken over from the Moggie Minor as the granny driver’s car of choice.

Member

Sweeping generalisations, exactly what I wanted to hear. I completely agree – some cars just get tarnished with a certain stigma, and it sounds like the Yaris is one of them.

Member
Sophie Gilbert says:
26 July 2012

The question should be, what would your car say about you if you could afford what you wanted. :0)

I have always bought cars with a budget in mind, not my image. If I had the money I would buy a car that pleased me, that I liked to drive, that was comfortable, (reasonably) practical, pleasing to the eye. I couldn’t care less what people think. So my car could say something about me that was completely untrue if I bought a best buy, bright red Porsche Boxter 2004-2012!

Member

A few preconceived notions I’ve come across are the obvious ones – the ‘jerk in a Merc’ or inconsiderate BMW drivers per se. Of course there are exceptions – my mum drives a Mercedes A class. If you’ve ever seen one, you’ll know it’s not a car for high adrenaline driving!

Member

Citroen Zsara Picasso – I normally leave about 2 miles gap, actually any people carrier driver (vauxhall zafira, renault espace etc) is the most culpable for lane hogging and generally poor driving standards.

Kia’s and Hyundais also usually have Sunday drivers in them.

You can be pretty sure that a Mercedes will be braking too much on the motorway, a BMW will be sitting in the middle lane and any little car from Japan or Korea will be panicking at every sight of another car.

Peugeots always pull out on me

I always used to buy old cars and therefore the only choice was audi (top build quality in their older cars) but now I buy them according to how good they are to drive. I now own a Mini Cooper S which pretty much means that I am an estate agent or hair-dresser. All details are black though (wheels, mirrors, roof, grill) and so it is different to most other ones on the road. I have to say that I don’t drive it like a hair-dresser either 🙂