I posed the question to my Facebook friends the other day: “If we judged a date by their car (but I know we don’t, it’s real personality) what would you look at first? Make/model? (If so what tops the list?) Cleanliness? Age? Color? Height? Speed? What get’s a girl going over her main squeezes car?” I thought this would be a relevant topic, but I was quickly educated by my friends.
Many of them sighted that maintenance was among the top of the desirable qualities car list. No lady wants to get into a BMW that won’t carry her past the end of the block. Next, was the make/model of the car, followed by the speed potential of the ride. I have not found any woman that looks for practicality in a car, at least not my friends.
Sadly, however, the misnomer is present that women-drivers want 4-door automatics that can handle lots of luggage and passengers in every stage of their lives. This may be true for some with families as they begin to grow, but there is no need to assume that every woman needs or even wants a minivan. Maybe most women don’t realize there is more to life than minivans and SUV’s when babies come along. Women represent 51% of the car purchasing decision power in a relationship, so we are a force to be reckoned with.
An article from AutoGuide.com said that a study examining women car purchases in 2010 discovered that women favored practicality and fuel-efficiency over looks and speed. The study showed that 47.9% of women purchased Mini‘s. Now, I don’t know if the people studying the sales or the lady writing the article has never been in a Mini, but practical is not the first thing I think of, it’s speed, agility, and aggressiveness. Think Charlize Theron in The Italian Job.
The first Mini’s took the industry by surprise in 1959 with a sub-compact capable of carrying 4- adults comfortably and not sacrifice power or handling, although in the early days many younger consumers would see how many people could actually fit into the spacious interior. Designer Alec Issigonis moved the wheels to the edges of the body and turned the engine sideways creating a cockpit that was more spacious than some of the more popular cars of the day. In 1961 British racing legend John Cooper took one of the Mini’s and created the Mini Cooper 997, a rally car for the history books. By 1977 the Mini had garnered over 4 million sales worldwide, but was forced out of the US due to strict emissions regulations. Good thing for us ladies though, the Mini was revamped in the 90’s and in 2002 reemerged in the American market. The Mini was awarded the 2003 Car of the Year and sells almost 2 million units a year.
With six body styles to fit that practicality assumption, the Mini’s range in horsepower starts at 121hp for the base Cooper, then up to 181hp for the Cooper-S, and tops out at 208hp for the John Cooper Works. That means that with the stock 1.6L, 4-cylinder power plant 47.9% of cost conscious women went from 0-60 in 8.4 seconds if they chose the moderately priced $20,000 MSRP entry model. I doubt many women would start at the base model though, we are a bit stylish when we pick things, so I believe many moms, such as myself, would fall for the John Cooper convertible. At a mere $35,000 MSRP we can carry the old man, two rug rats and all their soccer gear with the top down at a top speed of 146mph, because everyone knows we are always late for something. The 208hp, twin-scrolled turbocharged engine can get the grocery-getter from 0-60 in 6.6 seconds and not break a sweat. Now that’s using your practical head ladies.
If the convertible isn’t your style, they offer The Clubman. This 4-door (2 full size front doors, 1 mini back door, and full opening cargo doors) Mini boasts a minimum of 9.2 cubic feet of storage with the back seats up and a whopping 32.8 cubic feet with them down, while holding the traditional bulldog stance that keeps the exterior at only 6’3” wide and just under 13′ long. Still not big enough (like most thing in our lives)? Then upgrade to the 5-door Countryman, at 13.48 feet it holds up to 41.3 cubic feet of our stuff, which is really everyone else’s stuff, but we get to haul it around. We won’t mind because every Mini model is quick, fashionable, and what else… oh yeah, practical, fuel-efficient, and cost effective, all the things a girl looks for in her car.