What’s Your Top Priority in a Car?

Stick shift

Required equipment in my car!

If my relationship is any indication, men and women shop very differently. For example, if the wife and I are shopping for TVs, I’m interested in size and whether or not it’s capable of 1080p, while she looks for value and wonders how it will look in our entertainment center.

Washing machines? Couches? Vacations? Houses? It’s all the same… she’s the practical-minded one who is easily sidetracked by things that are “pretty,” while I tend to get caught up in performance numbers and things she likes to classify as “expensive.”

Yet by some miracle bestowed by the auto gods, our priorities in cars mostly align, which I’m pretty sure explains why we’ve managed to stay together for so long. I’ll get more into that after the jump, but to sum it up: If your woman won’t drive a manual, you might want to consider a new woman. Not a new car.

Lexus RX 450h

Elegant, sexy and likes to be pampered

Whether we like to admit it or not, our cars represent our personalities more than any other large purchase. For instance, I drive a car that looks slightly awkward but proves reliable, capable, peppy, and fun. My wife’s vehicle on the other hand is elegant, sexy, and likes to be pampered. I insist on rowing my own gears, because it makes driving more fun and interactive, while she prefers an auto, so she can focus on applying makeup and catching up on her texting. (I kid! Mostly – please don’t text and drive.)

Since we both harbor an irrational fear of vans and station wagons, shopping for our cars was easy: a luxurious, comfortable AWD crossover for her, and a smaller, economical, five-speed hatchback for me. No arguments, and everyone is happy!

I don’t think I’d have my five-speed today, though, if I hadn’t taken the time to teach her how to drive one. I made sure sure she mastered that skill before any wedding vows were exchanged, because let’s face it, if being married meant a lifetime of driving a slushbox, well, that’s just not a sacrifice I was willing to make.

What’s your top priority in a car?


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  1. MY priority is 1. PRICE, not payment, the actual discounted value I am getting for the features, quality and longterm residual value of the car I’m shopping. ONce I have determined my top 3 in this criteria, then the breakpoint is the Safety rating. If all 3 have equal safety ratings then comes STYLE, Dealer and service. Since quality and longterm residual value indicate a lot about repair records, the rest is up to me with regular service maintained by a good mechanic. If the dealership has unhappy staff, then you get crappy work. HINT: talk to your mechanics, not the service writers, and guage their happy -knowledge-factor. If the dealer is spending the money to train them and reward them for completed, no-return jobs, then you know you’ve got good work coming out of the shop. This is important, especially on warranty work, which pays them less. Even if it costs a bit more to have the dealer service the car, I go once a year just to be sure I caught all the bulletins and flashes from the factory. I verify with NHTSA.org. then ASK these be done. I also shop local dealer pricing to make sure Im getting a competitive price, and ask for the best price I found in town, to be honored. It keeps everyone on their toes.
    free advice for womenbuyingcars.com

  2. I agree with the preference of mine to have a good seat. The Holden Caprice V8 has a good seat but the quality is not 100% as it at times lags. Otherwise in my book it is a perfect car. I am not talking about V6 version please take a note.

  3. I’m a female. I’ll be honest, the #1 thing I look for in a car is status. I really like Mercedes. I also care about reliability but since I prefer luxury cars I don’t have to worry about that issue. I don’t like suv’s, only coupes since I only plan to drive myself around. Believe it or not, I care a lot about horsepower and speed. I have been reading a lot and learning about cars a lot recently and my future car will need to have a lot of power. I’m a very aggressive driver and I need to be able to accelerate fast and pass other cars.

    I also care about visibility, since I’m short. I need to be able to see behind me when I turn my head. I care about looks a lot; rims, moonroof, the stereo system has to be high end with a cd changer at least. Has to be premium like Bose, can’t be some cheap stereo.

    Price friendly, it has to be reasonable. I have no obligations except myself and I like spoiling myself so I would splurge on a car that is a bit more expensive. I would definitely splurge on a sports package with nicer rims etc.

  4. My Background: Family of four with two kids under 10.

    #1 Safety, not just passive but active safety, including handling capability.
    #2 Price must be reasonable (not same as cheap) and affordable for my family’s budget.
    # Other priorities depend on the situation… performance in all weahter conditions, modern but classy styling, comfort, luxury features (heated seats for skiing, panoramic sunroof for the kids, rear enterntainment for kids, heated side mirrors), quality of materials and construction.
    #Lastly, reliability. I place this last because most of the top brands already have very high reliability, and really, who cares about spending an extra two minutes in the car shop vs the next best rated car. Some seem to push this statistic as a differentiator but they are really fighting for small peanuts (and they will not admit it because that makes them profits).

    My wife and I agree on cars, mostly, although she could do without the sport package and performance engine, which she would never use, to make it more price friendly.

    I am also looking for more sustainable products and are eagerly awaiting for the Audi electric vehicles, or even the Tesla S EV. If this does not materialize soon, I will most likely be opting for an Audi TDI diesel.

  5. My top priority is seat comfort. My current car is a 3-Series BMW. I am looking at VW CC, Hyundai Azera or Sonata, or a Mustang GT 5.0. The Mustang is best, most fun, and head restraints are NOT active..therefore useful in everyday driving. Active restraints tend to make u tilt your head back too far to offer support. I do not drive much anymore so gas mileage is not an issue. I also strongly prefer a manual transmission. Today the Mustang is favorite, and like the Hyundai, made in America

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