top ten cars for women - female intuition
why do some cars particularly appeal to women? read on.
This is by no means a definitive list - nor is it intended to be. Just because a car is listed amongst those favoured by either men or women doesn't mean that it isn't also often bought - and enjoyed - by members of the opposite sex.
We've simply listed the cars in this way because over time, for a multitude of reasons, they've come to be associated with women drivers - often much to the irritation of their makers. Want to disagree? Please do. Want to break the stereotype? Even better..
1. Nissan Micra
This is not going to be a list full of shopping cars or family runabouts. Women obviously enjoy style and speed as much as men. However, it's hard to ignore such an overwhelming female preference as exists for Nissan's smallest offering. Surely men do drive Micras but you don't very often see it. The particular appeal to the fairer sex began with the second generation Micra, launched in 1993. This car's 'toytown' looks found instant appeal and it almost helped that unusually, there were no 'GTi' or 'hot' versions in the course of its life. The current generation Micra has carried on that tradition. Like its predecessors, its styling is utterly distinctive and its target market unashamedly fashion-conscious.
2. Honda CR-V
As we all know, 4x4s don't really make very much sense. Why lug all that heavy hardwear around if you're never going to use it? Yet even the most sensible and realistically-orientated 4x4 buyer won't want to loose all of the genre's virtues. That high-set seating position for example. The chunky good looks. The practicality. And the all wheel drive option for those rare occasions when you really do need a bit of extra traction. Honda's CR-V offers all of these without all the heavy, serious 4x4 mechanicals that you'll probably never need.
3. Fiat 500
The cute looks and classic styling of Fiat's 500 has made the car a huge favourite with the ladies. The addition of a stylist convertible version has only added to the car's appeal. Every 500 model invites a high degree of personalisation via a myriad of colour and trim permutation options but whatever choice is made it is sure to dovetail deliciously with the very well-judged blend of retro chic and clean contemporary design inside. Fabulous details are everywhere in this car.
4. Peugeot 207 CC
It all started with the Mercedes SLK. That Swiss army knife-style electric folding roof was the ultimate fashion accessory in the very late Nineties, particularly amongst women - but it was one many couldn't afford. So fitting something similar to an affordable Peugeot 207 would have to be a sure-fire recipe for success - wouldn't it? Well, yes and no. Many enthusiastic drivers disliked the way that the heavy roof conversion blunted the 207's lithe handling: still, the predominantly female audience for the car largely didn't care making the 207CC a huge success.
5. Mercedes SLK
Of course, it's always nice to have the genuine article - though it might be galling to know that for half the price, you could have bought a Peugeot 208 CC with exactly the same roof mechanism. Handling isn't up to the standard of rival top flight roadsters and the car feels somewhat uncomfortable with huge reserves of power. Best to buy the entry-level SLK with an automatic 'box and spec it up like a Christmas tree.
6. Porsche Boxster
The German roadster has more pose value plus the ultimate handling excellence in its repertoire. Generally recognised as the bench mark for this genre of sports cars, the Porsche Boxster has become a favourite of the fairer sex. Unlike the Mercedes SLK however, the Boxster is acclaimed and driven in equal numbers by both sexes.
A runaway sales success - and deservedly so. This car has taken over from VW's Beetle as the ultimate affordable High Street fashion icon - and has a sharper, more hard-hitting image that seems to suit the woman about town. If you don't care about speed, buy the Cooper version with the automatic gearbox: great for urban use. If you love your driving and you've space in which to do it, you must try the potent Cooper S.
8. Suzuki Grand Vitara
The Suzuki Vitara has become the stylish alternative to the ubiquitous MPV that most families plump for these days as their family workhorse. The Grand Vitara offers a winning blend of style, family-friendly accommodation, reasonable running costs, passable on-road dynamics and genuine go-anywhere talent at a very competitive price which ticks most of the boxes that women are looking for.
9. Volkswagen Beetle
This car enjoyed a new lease of life with the introduction of a Cabriolet version. Which is just as well as sales were starting to tail off significantly. The Cabriolet became a great summer fashion accessory that appealed to the feminine sense of style. Expect all the usual VW virtues of superb build quality and reliability plus the added advantage of admiring looks you'd otherwise have to spend over £50,000 to achieve.
10. Toyota Yaris
Toyota's very first credible supermini has proved to be enormously successful, something that has continued with subsequent versions of the car. In a sea of look-alike rivals, it manages to feel distinctive, both inside and out. Even in its latest form, the styling has a 'pick-me-up-and-cuddle-me' feel to it without being as overt as say a Nissan Micra. Inside, that 'F1-style' digital instrument panel is similarly distinctive.