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What women want…in cars

By Jeanette Ipapo-Tuason Philippine Daily Inquirer November 20,2019

ILLUSTRATION BY STEPH BRAVO

In my 20 years in the automotive industry, I have seen how passionate men are with their vehicles. Some give them names, lavish it with hundreds of thousands of pesos in upgrades, cleans, and caress them every single day.

The world is changing and there’s an evident spike of women’s share in the automotive market sales. When before we were relegated to the color, cars now are being designed with women in mind.

What does a woman really look for in a car? While men are often swayed by the engine size, horsepower rating, and how fast it goes from 0-100 mph, women tend to value other things like dependability, environment-friendly, reliability, and trustworthy, brand-wise.

For me, here are some criteria I use to determine if the car suits my needs.

Do I feel safe? Because of the notoriety of some bus drivers on the roads, I want to make sure I am prepped up for battle with these Goliaths, which is why I am partial to an SUV. Also, I make sure that they have the latest safety features, complete airbags, parking sensors, back up cameras, etc. Now you have lane change sensors, accident sensors, and other sensors that make driving more and more idiot-proof.

Does it look good? It is butnatural that attraction comes first before falling in love. But unlike my choice in men, which is the pretty type (you can check my husband), I’m partial to masculine, sleek lines with a bolder face. In short, cars that if personified would look like Clive Owen or Hugh Jackman.

Does it have my back? The current car I am currently driving had me at the first touch of the lever that reclined the back seat. For Asians, maybe because of our height, the angle of your backs produces a space that made lumbar back support a thing. The same goes for cars since my strategy of dealing with traffic is being chauffeur- driven so i can make my car a mobile office. The backseat is my best friend and often a neglected feature. I see most Asian vehicles have the best backseat recline.

Is it efficient? We should all be a bit environmentally conscious, every little step helps. So we always check the fuel rating of the vehicles on city driving situations. Since most fuel ratings are done on long clear roads to achieve the best number, you should check the combined or city driving consumption. The debate about gas or diesel both has its pros and cons, with diesel vehicles giving you more bang for your buck. Still, the quality of our diesel in the Philippines is somewhat questionable. For gas, it might be more expensive, but most gas vehicles have some sort of technology to make it efficient. These days, hybrids are fast becoming a great option.

Value after all is said and done. If its time to let go, how does the resale value fare? Think of it this way, if this was a boyfriend, would you do what they call a “return of the comeback”? Same goes for cars. If this car ends up coming back to you, would you buy it again?

Is it complicated? Even if you have the latest gadgets on board, but if it is more complicated than your relationship status, it still won’t work. I like clean lines, straightforward, No mind games-type of dash system. There are also voice-activated ones which I have yet to try, who wouldn’t want to say “Car, find me the fastest route to the sale.”

Is it consistent? There will always come a time where you would need to bring in your car for repairs and maintenance. Check how consistent and cost-effective their after-sales service; do they have a terrible reputation for making you wait for months without any phone calls regarding parts? Do they leave you hanging?

Some items are nice to have, or should we say the cherry on top. For me, it would be more air conditioning vents, a welcome feature on a scorching day. Push-button or remote boot, push-button third-row fold is also a convenient feature, especially if extra hands are not available (no, I’m not referring to the single ones). For you, what are you really looking for in cars?

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