What Your Car Type Says About You


What Your Car Type Says About You

As exaggerated as car cliches are, they are cliches for a reason - they have lived up to its stereotype so often that these sweeping statements have become ‘personality test’ rubrics. Car manufacturers and automakers know this, as they advertise their car models based on the consumer behaviour of different psychographic groups.

For example, outgoing young men would generally be interested in colourful sports vehicles, while older professionals would likely be more inclined towards a luxury sedan. As we age and become more wealthy, the car we choose to buy becomes more of a statement than a practical means to get from point A to point B, reinforcing our desired lifestyle, status, and image.


If you’ve noticed a particular group of people buying the same type of car, that’s typecasting in play. Companies are savvy in profiling their customers to match their beliefs and desires, from practical design to perceived value of the vehicle.

Let’s examine the patterns that have emerged a little more closely. As all broad generalisations go, keep your tongue planted firmly in your cheek, and a pinch of salt for good measure!

Luxury Sedans

Image via driving.ca

Image via driving.ca

These are the cars most likely to be found glistening at the valet aisle, turning into international schools, or lined up in driveways of upscale neighbourhoods - the BMWs, Mercs, and Jaguars. Luxury sedans are a showcase that its owner has attained a high level of success in the workplace. Owners are typically highly educated, high-income status flaunters, where their gorgeous, fully-decked vehicle is a symbol of their success and independence.

There is a subgroup within this typecast - Audis or Volvos are reputable, high-end luxury cars, but aren’t quite at the top end of the luxury car market. These are cars generally driven by people who manage others, but are one or two ranks below the boss at work. They will almost certainly upgrade to the top end when the time comes.

Sports Cars

Image via autocar.co.uk

Image via autocar.co.uk

It goes without saying that the only people willing to sacrifice a certain degree of comfort in their vehicle are the ones who would trade that for the thrill of speed, or because they love the attention it attracts. Sports car owners are people who enjoy driving recreationally, and enjoy the attention their car gets from others. Luxury sports cars - notably supercars - include famously renowned brands like Lamborghini, Ferrari, Nissan GT-R.

Again, there is an interesting subgroup within this group of car owners. In psychographics, many sports car owners fall in the ‘emulator’ category, which describes young, low self-esteem individuals who, in spite of its big price tag, try their best to own loud and flashy vehicles to make up for their lack of confidence. This may also present in the form of a heavily modded car replete with extra large tyres, custom rims, and the ability for passers-by to hear the car’s subwoofers a hundred metres away.

Mid-sized Sedans

Image via  Autobytel

Image via Autobytel

One of the most ubiquitous types of vehicles on our roads are mid-sized sedans. These would include most of the Toyotas, Hondas, and Nissans that seem to be at every corner. Largely dominated by Japanese sedans, this market segment shows that their owners value pragmatism, reliability and safety at good value, over flamboyance. These car owners are likely to be upper middle class earners and parents of young children.

Small Cars

Image via Toyota

Image via Toyota

The first, and most obvious category includes drivers of the most economical cars available, typically locally manufactured brands. These are usually dominated by first car owners, or low income families.

Another group of small car owners are owners who choose them intentionally for its function and design. These include cars like the Toyota Prius, Smart Cars, or a compact car such as the Mazda 3. These small car drivers, particularly those who drive hybrids, are usually more passionate about environmental causes, and likely live in a big city. The math is simple - driving small cars in high density neighbourhoods makes for easier parking or maneuvering, and is more fuel-efficient. These drivers don’t view their car as a symbol of status, and they’d sooner display their social consciousness than their wealth. Trendy compact car drivers are synonymous with young, energetic professionals.

You Do You

Ultimately, these generalisations are just broad patterns and we should never base our decisions on anecdotal opinion...or a fun piece on an automotive website. Let us know what you think!