If you find yourself without a date this Valentine’s Day, maybe it’s not you. Maybe it's your car.
According to a new survey by Insure.com, women say that attractive men tend to drive black Ford pickup trucks. Men report that attractive women drive red BMW sports cars.
The survey of 2,000 men and women asked what type, brand and color of vehicle are driven by the most fetching members of the opposite sex.
Women ranked these styles as cars that attractive men drive:
• Pickup trucks: 32%
• Sports cars: 27%
• SUVs: 16%
• Sedans: 11%
• Hybrid or electric: 9%
• UPS truck: 4%
• Minivans: 2%
• Mail truck: 1%
The top brands of car for attractive men, as ranked by women, were Ford (16%), Chevrolet (13%) and Porsche (11%). Women overwhelmingly point to black (53%) as the color of cars driven by good-looking men, followed by silver (16%) and red (13%).
Here’s how men ranked car types for attractive women:
• Sports cars: 39%
• Sedans: 22%
• SUVs: 20%
• Pickup trucks: 10%
• Hybrid or electric vehicle: 6%
• Minivans: 4%
Men envision desirable gals in BMWs (16%), Mercedes-Benzes (14%) and Porsches (10%). The top car colors for attractive women were red (40%), black (23%) and silver (14%).
Do you think there are any truth to the claims? Click the gallery below and tell us your experiences in the comments section.
[Slideshow: Cars attractive men and women drive]
What cars do attractive people drive? To test the merits of the survey's findings, we turned to experts at some of the leading automotive websites and automakers.
"The findings strike me as very accurate," says Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor of Chicago-based Cars.com. "Among the general public, a black pickup truck is a reflection of a masculine owner. A woman walks up to a black pickup truck and says to herself, 'Here's a guy who can help me move, bring me large gifts from Crate & Barrel and do repairs around my condo.'"
In addition, black vehicles in general are the most difficult to keep clean, Wiesenfelder adds. "If it's a clean black pickup, she might subconsciously be thinking to herself, 'This is a guy who can wash my car as well,'" he says.
Wiesenfelder thinks there a several factors at play in the choice of red BMW sports car for women. First, the BMW is a luxury car, so it suggests the owner has a disposable income. "As a single man, that's attractive to me," he says. "I don't want to carry the entire relationship."
The expert view
At Santa Monica, Calif.-based Edmunds.com, automotive editor Mike Magrath and senior analyst Jessica Caldwell also view the survey results as plausible, if not scientifically accurate.
Magrath observes that "there's just something about a truck, and it doesn't matter whether you're in Santa Monica or San Antonio. It's rugged, but it's still a guy who's put together enough resources to buy one and keep it on the road."
"It makes sense,” says Caldwell. “It brings forth the image of the rugged tough guy.” But Caldwell also drops a hint about her own personal preferences. “Some women like a lot more cosmopolitan guy, driving a Range Rover or Tesla Model S."
The importance of a clean car
No matter what brand of car you own, Magrath says either gender can make their cars more appealing by taking good care of them. "How well a car is maintained is a determinant of attractiveness," he asserts. "Like the black Ford truck and the red BMW, it goes beyond simple conveyance. It says this woman cares about how she treats herself and how she maintains her possessions."
Wiesenfelder agrees that “if the car is well kept, there's a better chance the owner takes good care of him or herself."
These observations are supported by survey results. When asked what’s most important about a car belonging to the opposite sex, people say:
1. That it is clean. (Women: 45%. Men: 43%.)
2. That it is reliable. (Women: 37%. Men: 29%.)
Less important are:
3. That it is interesting. (Women: 7%. Men: 12%.)
4. That it is new or new-ish. (Women: 6%. Men: 9%.)
5. That it is expensive. (Women: 4%. Men: 6%.)
Cigarettes and trash
Both genders are most turned off by vehicles with cigarette butts in the ashtray, according to survey results.
Women are less forgiving of bad music and loud exhaust. Men are more easily alarmed by political bumper stickers and car dents.
Auto-related turn-offs were:
• Cigarette butts in the ashtray. (Women: 23%. Men: 23%.)
• Trash on the seats. (Women: 22%. Men: 23%.)
• Playing bad loud music. (Women: 21%. Men: 16%.)
• Bumper stickers for political candidates. (Women: 9%. Men: 13 %.)
• Car dents. (Women: 6%. Men: 11%.)
• Loud exhaust. (Women: 14%. Men: 9%.)
• Pine tree air freshener. (Women: 5%. Men: 5%.)
Caldwell believes most folks are also put off by Hawaiian leis dangling from rear-view mirrors and backseats inhabited by stuffed animals.
The fact of the matter remains: Your persona is intrinsically linked in some way to the vehicle you drive. You may be able to leverage that to boost your odds of a date to the movies this Saturday night.
“Your car always reflects something about you,” says Wiesenfelder. “You don't always know what, but it must reflect something."
Insure.com surveyed 2,000 licensed drivers age 18 and over, split evenly between men and women and divided across age groups and regions. The online-panel survey was fielded in December 2013.
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