Does gender define car choices?

Both men and women are subject to a range of stereotypes in the automotive world. Whether it's vehicle choice or driving habits, both sexes feel like they have the other figured out. Or do they?

Fleet managers will be interested to know that - perhaps unsurprisingly - men and women like different cars. While there is some crossover, they each have their own wants, needs and favourite vehicles.

Consumer Reports conducted research into people's car buying habits, taking gender into account for the first time since it started these surveys. Here's what the organisation discovered.

Everybody loves green cars

While it seems like a surprising revelation given some of the recent sales numbers seen for these vehicles, it appears they may finally be picking up steam. According to Consumer Reports, whether male or female, people love green cars, with the Tesla Model S being one of the few vehicles to receive high praise from all respondents to the survey.

It's clearly taking the country by storm, with Australian car buyers drawn to its all electric powertrain and the goodwill generated by charismatic company founder Elon Musk. While Tesla isn't revealing country-specific sales figures, it did say that the company has sold more than 10,000 cars in Q1 of this year alone. 

Gender stereotypes persist

Consumer Reports discovered that most of the generalisations levied at male and female car buyers are grounded in reality, with the organisation finding that men were more likely to pick sports cars as their vehicle of choice in its survey. 

Interestingly, Consumer Reports found women are actually the best at picking a good car, with the organisation finding that women's choices often align with vehicles that end up performing well in consumer surveys. 

Preferences change with age

Research conducted by charity Brake and insurance provider Direct Line found that younger drivers have a different set of priorities when choosing their first car. According to the survey results, these preferences could be putting themselves and others at risk. 

Only just over a third (37 per cent) of young drivers - those between the ages of 17 and 24 - consider a vehicle's safety during the purchasing process. In comparison, nearly half (48 per cent) of older drivers take these features into account. 

Deputy CEO of Brake Julie Townsend believes this is an attitude that needs to change if everyone is to stay safe on the roads. 

"When choosing a vehicle to drive on public roads, safety should always be the number one consideration," she said.

"However, any vehicle is ultimately only ever as safe as the person driving it, and choosing the safest possible vehicle still needs to be combined with legal, considerate driving."