Women’s Perspective on Buying Cars
by John Davis
While there are more women working in the auto industry than ever, the majority of engineers and designers are still men. Yet, when it comes time to purchase a new vehicle for the family, men are often not the decision makers. So we had our FYI team give us a different slant…
KRISTIN VALERA: Hi, I’m Kristin Varela with Cars.com.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: And I’m Yolanda Vazquez from MotorWeek. We’ve had to test drive and review hundreds of cars over the years, ain’t that right, girlfriend?
KRISTIN VARELA: It’s true, so we know a thing or two about what women want in cars.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Show let us show ya’ what we’re working with!
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: As an automotive journalist, Varela has logged many miles behind the wheel of test vehicles. And I’ve done the same, writing car reviews and reports on a variety of consumer stories.
While we both agree that it’s impossible for all women to want the same thing in a new vehicle, there is common ground on which features are most important to us.
KRISTIN VARELA: I think safety is incredibly important for me as a mom.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: We both agree that a large number of standard safety features and good crash test scores tops our must-have list. We also look for versatility, reliability, a nice blend of form and function, good gas mileage, and affordable pricing.
KRISTIN VARELA: I’m a comparison shopper. I want to make sure that I’ve covered all the bases. Make sure that there isn’t something else out there that’s just a little bit better.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: According to the 2013 Mintel Car Buying Report, a man, on average, spends 5 ½ weeks researching a new vehicle, while a woman spends 6 ½ weeks.
That extra time may include reviewing the number and placement of airbags in a vehicle. For example, we both like the knee airbag in the Hyundai Santa Fe and the center airbag between the driver and passenger seats in the Buick Enclave.
KRISTIN VARELA: …which keeps each of us protected from one another in the event of a side impact crash
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: The enclave garners bonus points from us with their full length side curtain airbags and government crash test scores that are among the best.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: But overall this is a pretty stylish ride for a lot of women to consider, and busy moms.
KRISTIN VARELA: Yes
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Yes, we liked it. Two thumbs up.
KRISTIN VARELA: It’s swell!
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Thanks to Autonation Buick/GMC and Shortline Hyundai and Kia in Colorado, Kristin and I were able to review several vehicles. We found the new Kia Sorento has the right mix of form and function.
KRISTIN VARELA: Starting in the mid-thirties, it offers some features that you just don’t see in other vehicles at that same price range. For example, the option of air conditioned front seats.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: And the option of third row seating gives a family even more flexibility.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: So we’re here with the Kia Soul and this is definitely one of Kia’s bestselling models and for lots of reasons. What do you like about this car?
KRISTIN VARELA: Well it definitely stands out in the design department, doesn’t it?
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Not to mention it has lots of cargo space for its size and comes standard with Bluetooth and USB/aux input jacks.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Kia has made some great strides when it comes to marketing their products to women. The Korean car manufacturer says over half of their buyers are female. Moving to its sister brand, Hyundai—they’ve also turned up the dial on their offerings. This 2013 Hyundai sonata hybrid is a favorite for us.
KRISTIN VARELA: One thing I love about Hyundai in general as a brand is that all of their safety features come standard, so you’re not forced to have to choose between your budget and your family’s safety.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: And that’s important.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: And with a combined 37 mpg fuel economy rating, it’s easy to see why this stylish, affordable mid-size car appeals to many women drivers.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: This one was not as bland and uninspiring as other vehicles.
KRISTIN VARELA: It definitely does catch your eye as it’s driving past you on the highway.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Carmakers, both domestic and import, are realizing the buying power women have and are figuring out ways to appeal to them.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: And while these changes may not be as noticeable to the average consumer, rest assured automotive mavens like us are on the job to make sure every new car gets our “girl-power” seal of approval.