Admit it: you judge other drivers.
Everyone judges other drivers based on their car and their driving habits (but come on - a Prius driver and a Porsche driver are going to take the roads differently), just like we're all excellent drivers. We all know that minivans are driven by soccer moms, luxury car drivers are rude, and lifted truck drivers have something to prove, right? As much as these conclusions are widespread, they're usually unfounded and ridiculous. But when a car provides the opportunity for the driver to craft the ultimate expression of who he is and what his life is about (as our cars tend to be for many of us), it does open up the door to judgment.
However, a recent (albeit not terribly scientific) study to connect driving habits with the type of car driven has shown that some of these conclusions aren't that unfounded - in fact, the study seemed to prove that luxury car drivers behaved the worst towards other drivers and pedestrians. With this in mind, what other stereotypes about certain car drivers are true? Is the 20-year-old driver of a The Fast and the Furious-themed Subaru WRX thinking he's Vin Diesel? Did you know that in real life Vin Diesel couldn't care less about cars? True story. (Sorry to any Fast and the Furious fans out there.)
Knowing that there is at least one stereotype for every car out there, do you know what your car says about your personality? We got to wondering and decided - for fun - to jump on the judgmental bandwagon and poke a little fun at the cars themselves while we're at it. Do you drive any of these cars? Are we totally off base? Let us know! We're on Twitter (@convoyauto), or you can tweet the writer directly @jameshamelcaroc (follow him for your daily dose of car goodness).
Pop quiz: Vinyl or leather?
BMW 3-Series—Unquestionably, BMW has been building the ultimate driving machine for years. However, everyone knows how expensive even the base model 3-Series has gotten, and there is a subset of the population that judges your Bavarian purchase for reasons beyond just the numbers on the trunk (which only delineate body style and model choice). To be more clear, BMW charges a lot for every option but makes it hard to tell from the outside if, in fact, the standard center dash mounted screen has navigation, or if the seats are vinyl or leather, or if your 335i is really just a lowly 320i with a (rather underpowered) 4-cylinder motor. Commoners might not know, but other BMW drivers will. And all will judge. Image: BMW
The only part that matters.
Dodge Challenger SRT8—You are the type of person who likes to be heard before seen, and everyone in your neighborhood will know you are coming when you rumble down the street in this sexy looking muscle car. Its hugely oversized 6.1 liter V8 engine is about as fuel efficient as a leaking oil tanker, but boy is it fast. And loud. Which, to the owner of this car, that is all that matters. And Dodge knows this. Image: Dodge
Like a bicycle built for... wait.
Smart ForTwo—You are a person who is truly fearless and never worry about your personal safety... or the fact that perhaps people are laughing at you. Why should you care? You are so fearlessly individual you actually like that less than 900 have been sold so far in 2013. Plus, only about 1% of the population is considered geniuses - maybe you're one of them. Image: James Hamel
See what we mean?
BMW X6—Not many people buy the BMW X6 but we have a clear bead on what attracts buyers to this oddly shaped SUV. We also know who buys them exclusively: super fans of Star Wars who dress up like Storm Troopers or Darth Vader at Comic Con each year. You buy the X6 because its appearance in white and black is so clearly an homage to the helmets worn by those evil characters in the films. Think about it. Ever see an X6 that wasn’t black or white? Didn't think so. Image: Motor Authority
Audi A6—This luxury sedan is elegant to behold, the interior is so finely crafted that pretty much every luxury auto brand benchmarks it when redesigning their models. But by that time Audi has always moved the game on with its interior quality and design acumen. But really, have you ever seen an Audi owner with a dirty car interior full of junk everywhere? Most new cars smell like French fries after 6 months, but not Audis. Some might call Audi A6 owners meticulously clean or perhaps a little bit OCD about keeping everything looking like new. Image: James Hamel
Mazda Miata—You proudly drive the most misunderstood car in the world, and are perhaps among the most misunderstood drivers out there. The Miata is one of the most engaging, fun to drive and rewarding - yet affordable - sports cars ever built and you know that. Whatever some dullard in a V8 SUV thinks you do at home in your bedroom is first off none of his business, but also nothing affirms you are secure in your masculinity and who you are than being cool with driving a Miata. You can’t have more fun for this little money anywhere. Miata owners are smart, brave and tan, generally. Image: James Hamel
Paging Roger Rabbit...
Nissan Cube—This vehicle is purchased exclusively by cartoon characters like Roger Rabbit who grew up in Toon Town. You find the asymmetrical shape, bizarre interior styling elements and dashtop shag rug as wacky as your average upstanding cartoon coyote. Image: Nissan
Hyundai Sonata—You are most definitely savvy about ensuring your car ownership experience is completely painless thanks to the Sonata's ten year warranty. But you also have a heart of gold. Who else would adopt a car that looks like a monster that crawled out of the sea of Japan and started attacking the people in a local fishing village? Good thing the Sonata never did that... it just looks like it did once. Image: Hyundai
It even looks like it flies.
Nissan Leaf—In your quest to be a leader and example of goodness to others, you sometimes miss obvious facts others pick up easily. Like how it makes no sense that Nissan named this car after the part of a tree that sucks energy away from it to grow. You see, sometimes the Leaf is bad for the tree. (We are in no way making the connection that perhaps the Nissan Leaf is sometimes bad for the environment—oh wait, yes we are. Electricity isn’t a clean energy source, so we suppose Leaf was a good naming choice.) Image: Nissan
Fits in with the stainless steel range.
Toyota Corolla—Whenever you go shopping, your first instinct is to go to Sears and buy a new appliance. Your house is littered with extra refrigerators, washer/dryers and now Corollas, since Toyota has totally given up trying to make this sedan anything other than a tool for travelling from Point A to Point B without any enjoyment involved at any time. Image: James Hamel
Bio: James Hamel is a freelance road tester, auto journalist and Motor Press Guild full member. Find past work at Autobytel.com and current work at http://iSeeCars.com. Contact James at [email protected].