Breaking the bank on an exotic car won’t increase your chances of being lucky in love, according to the findings of a recent autoTRADER.ca survey that explores the connection between romantic desirability and vehicle choice. In fact, Canadians claim to be more attracted to utility, practicality and frugality over luxury and flash when it comes to what a prospective lover is driving.
When asked about what brands they found to be most attractive, the majority of Canadians (51 per cent) preferred something mainstream, citing Ford, Toyota or Chevrolet, over other choices including luxury BMWs and exotic Lamborghinis. Nearly one-third (29 per cent) said they were most attracted to someone behind the wheel of a practical SUV/Crossover, followed by a reliable sedan (19 percent) or a hardy truck (17 per cent), over a flashy convertible (16 per cent) or a sporty coupe (13 per cent). Minivans (3 per cent) and wagons (3 per cent) tie for last place on the love-meter.
Often labeled as more reserved and modest than our American and European counterparts, the Canadian preference for practicality in a lover’s choice of ride, doesn't seem that far off the mark. But, what does this mean for Canadians in the ‘single and looking’ category – does a luxury ride really lower the attraction meter for those on the lookout for love?
“As much as we may try to avoid stereotyping, certain types of vehicles bring certain associations, ranging from personality traits to potential as a long-term mate,” says renowned sexologist and relationship counsellor Dr. Jess O’Reilly, PhD, “It seems that Canadians prefer those with a penchant for the practical. They’re seeking stability, responsibility and maturity in their relationships rather than just a fun fling.”
Across the board, Canadians associate mainstream car brands with safety, maturity, and versatility, but when it comes to exotic cars, the communication gap between the sexes is obvious. While women more often tend to associate exotic car brands with flashiness (68 per cent), men are more likely to associate the same with performance (51 per cent) and sportiness (47 per cent).
“We were surprised to learn which vehicles Canadians find most attractive, but the results are heavily supported by our consumer search data,” says Jonathan Yarkony, Senior Industry Analyst, autoTRADER.ca, “While most Canadians are searching for vehicles from mainstream brands like Ford and Toyota, evidently they would be getting more than just practical transportation.”
Other highlights from the autoTRADER.ca study include:
Young and impressionable: Canadian millennials 18-34 (30 per cent) are most likely to say it would matter what impression their vehicle would make to a potential mate, compared to ages 35-54 (24 per cent) and 55+ (22 per cent).
Battle of the sexes: While 79% of women think that single men care about the first impression their vehicle makes to a potential mate, really only 33% of men say it does matter what impression their vehicle would make to a potential mate, although men are still twice as likely as women to think that automotive first impressions matter.
And though 65 per cent of men say they think single Canadian women care, only 17 per cent of women actually think it matters what impression their vehicle would make to a potential mate.
A taste for the exotic: Single men (16 per cent) are significantly more likely than their female counterparts (8 per cent) to find an exotic car most attractive for a potential partner to drive.
C’est la vie: Albertans (58 per cent), Ontarians (52 per cent), and those in Atlantic Canada (59 per cent) are most likely to agree the car you drive makes you more attractive to a potential mate, while Quebecers (41 per cent) are least likely to agree.
Rugged rules: Women (23 per cent) are significantly more likely than men (11 per cent) to say a truck is the most attractive vehicle type for a potential mate to drive.
Practical Prairies: Manitoba and Saskatchewan (66 per cent) are the provinces most likely to perceive mainstream brands as most attractive for a potential mate to drive, followed by Atlantic Canada (61 per cent) and significantly higher than Quebec (53 per cent), Alberta (52 per cent), Ontario (47 per cent) and British Columbia (45 per cent).
“Canadians are pretty clear about what they consider attractive when it comes to the car a potential mate is driving. However, what’s important to think about with any relationship is the integrity and character of the actual person behind the wheel,” adds O’Reilly. “Just as you would do when searching for a new car, keep an eye out for qualities that speak to a person’s stability, maturity and reliability as a partner.”
The online survey was conducted in late January 2016 among Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.