Last week, I conducted a survey on the crucial subject of Chick Cars.

Between blog comments, Facebook, Twitter, and in-person interviews, I collected vast amounts of data on this subject.

In sorting out this influx of information, I determined to do more than simply look at the numbers.  Because I have a heart for the people, and the people need this information.

And in so doing, I discovered many important facts.

FACT #1: Women are very judgmental about what men choose to drive.

Although before this study many women have kept their opinions largely to themselves, it must be noted that ladies have surprisingly strong, concrete opinions regarding the types of automobiles that men should and should not drive.

And, oddly enough, ladies seem to be in agreement with one another, as if we all convene once a year to determine how we feel about these crucial matters of manliness.

FACT #2: Many men seem indifferent, aloof, and possibly even in denial about the specifications of Chick Cars.

For example: 100% of women agreed that Mazda Miatas are chick cars.  Yet only 40% of men were aware that these were, indeed, chick cars.

…and some men were even unconvinced that Mini Coopers are Chick Cars.

Without a doubt, Men are utterly deficient in this vital area of education.

FACT #3: Women can drive whatever they want and get away with it.  Men cannot.

As with most things in life, there is a double standard between the sexes.

If a woman drives a traditional Dude Car, she is cool.  If she drives a traditional Chick Car, she is cool.  If she drives a completely Androgynous Car, she is still cool.

(If she drives a 1989 Geo Metro, she might be pushing uncool.)

Men, however, have a very narrow window of acceptable-to-women choices from which to choose.  If they drive a Dude Car, they’re cool.  If they drive an Androgynous Car, they’re…mysterious.  If they drive a Chick Car, women everywhere could very well be snickering under their breath.

FACT #4: The repercussions of combining Fact #2 and Fact #3 demand that men should be paying very close attention to the data in this report.

So let’s move on to the findings, which will be broken d0wn into three parts:

1. The Chick Car Index of Car Models.
2. The Chick Car Index of Car Makers.
3. Attributes that Define a Chick Car.

1. The Chick Car Index of Car Models.

Many car models evoked a very passionate response from the survey respondents (in both the Chick and the Dude direction), whereas others were only mentioned by a select few survey responders.  In this first informational graph, I focused on the oft-mentioned cars.

In the Chick Car Index, the higher the number, the more Chickliness a car possesses:

There was no contest for the title of Queen of the Chick Cars: The New VW Beetle.  It got zero Dudeliness votes – not even from the In-Denial guys.

So if you’re a man reading this post at a stoplight while sitting in your VW Beetle and adjusting your My Little Pony steering wheel cover, you might want to make an illegal U-Turn and head straight to a dealership.

The Minivan also got many votes, but it’s index was skewed by a single “androgynous” vote – most likely from a new minivan acquisitioner desperately hoping to make it cool for her husband’s sake.

As previously mentioned, the Miata and the Mini Cooper were overwhelmingly voted as Chick Cars from women, but a few men held out that they were not indeed Chick Cars.

But let’s face it, men: If all women think they’re Chick Cars, then they are indeed, by definition, Chick Cars.

Because although women may dress for other women, men clearly drive for women.

The most controversial cars were the Porsche Boxster and the Jeep Wrangler.  Therefore, I cannot guarantee that these are safe choices – only that approximately half the population of the universe will appraise you as a Chick-Car-Driver.

Although trucks were generally lauded as Dude Cars, it should be noted that two exceptions were the Chevy Avalanche and the Honda Ridgeline.

Chick Trucks

Apparently, unnecessary curvature between the cab and the bed looks exceedingly womanly.

2. The Chick Car Index of Car Makers.

It quickly became clear that some car manufacturers lean more heavily to the creation of Chick Cars than others.  Although these are not across the board for all models (except for Volkswagen), this is a good indicator of the chances of a particular model being ChickPossible:

Which Car Makers Build Chick Cars

An important note must be made regarding Volvo: it was unanimously cited as being an androgynous brand.  Not Chick, not Dude.  Just…leaving everyone confused.

(Kinda like Pat on Saturday Night Live.)

3. Attributes that Define a Chick Car.

It should be noted that the path to Dudeliness is narrow.  Very narrow.  Using the survey data, I was able to extrapolate key features that define a car by type.  I took this data and applied it to the top 100 car models.  The results speak for themselves:

Top 100 Car Models By Type

Only 25% of the top brands are actually Dude Cars.  And we know that the percentage of men purchasing cars is higher than that.  So men, take care to pay close attention to these attributes of Gender-Appropriateness:

Chick Car Red Flags:

  • Hatchback
  • Sliding Doors
  • Compactness
  • SUV (especially small to midsize)
  • Electric or Hybrid
  • V4 or V6 Engines
  • Made in Asia
  • Round in Shape
  • Cute

Dude Car Indicators:

  • V8
  • Truck bed
  • Loud and Obnoxious
  • Old enough to be considered a classic
  • Gas inefficient
  • Ugly
  • Made in the USA or Europe
  • Is actually a tractor

Yes, men – you read that right.  If you want to ensure that you’re driving a Male-Appropriate vehicle, trade in that baby blue VW convertible for an ugly-as-Mick-Jagger 1978 John Deere with the biggest, loudest engine you can find.

You’re welcome.

43 thoughts on “Chick Cars: The Report.

  1. I did not weigh in on this before because I just don’t care enough but there is one glaring shocker that I can’t ignore.

    Mini Coopers are NOT chick cars!!

    What is wrong with you people?? That is a late-midlife-crisis rich guy car! I suppose I should have participated…

      1. I think this is correct. Here in the Bay Area Mini Coopers are more hipster dude cars, requiring black glasses and skinny jeans.

        I questioned your hatchback categorization because my husband’s Subaru “sport wagon” (WRX) always struck me as rather masculine, but I think it’s because of the turbo and low gas mileage. Although I hate taking it to the gas station, that big Manta ray mouth intake in front is kind of hot. His friend’s car (Impreza), exactly the same but with a lawnmower engine, is not remotely macho.

        I wonder if you might do a follow up on whether a manly hybrid is possible. A friend once asked me whether his Prius made women assume he is gay. I said “No, it makes them assume you are married.” I have a friend who drives a bright yellow Hummer that runs on biodiesel. It’s a ridiculous car, but I can’t hate him for it, which, on reflection, is my general approach to a lot of dudes.

        Also not addressed: whether all convertibles are chick cars. I vote ‘yes.’

        1. Everyone’s answers implied that no hybrid could be manly. But who knows? Maybe when Hybrids get older and more beat up looking, they’ll increase in dudeishness.

    1. I’ve never met a man who has been all ‘I bought/rented a Mini Cooper’ excited and was then talked up by his buddies.

      However, I have seen witnessed several women who get one and have very excited girlfriends who are jealous.

      Total chick car!

      1. But they’re so very British. Maybe I’m biased because I had to talk my hubby out of buying one once (they don’t ride particularly well). But they strike me as gender neutral. They are small, yes, but pretty boxy (especially the idiotic new SUV ones).

          1. Yep, my 23 year old son was looking at a mini and when I expressed shock both he and my husband insisted it was a dude car. I reminded them that the only 2 people we know that have one consist of a 40-something single overly died bleached blond woman and a 16 year old little rich girl whose daddy bought it for her before she even got her license.

          2. Um don’t know how to correct that auto-correct below but the woman is not dead. Also I should have read all the comments before I replied, clearly the mini is not what we think. (but I still refer to the little rich girl scenario)

  2. Thank you for your in-depth research!

    I am surprised by the chick truck category. I own a burnt orange Avalanche and I’ve had several men ask if it was for sale. I thought it was a gender-neutral vehicle, but now I’m thinking differently. It’s not a loud, obnoxious gas hog, so maybe that knocks it off the acceptable male truck list.

  3. I agree w Qoumidan, Mini Coopers are not chick cars, they are rich guy midlife crisis cars. As far as the other results, my hubby drives, at various times, a Ford Taurus station wagon, a Mazda 3 hatchback, and a Ford F150, but the truck has a V6 in it. No matter the car I have always seen him as being able to androgynize then. It’s like his studly man-ness cancels out the chickiness. That, or he pulls all vehicles to the neutral zone simply because he is not overly studly or chicky.

    1. Sounds logical to me. :)
      And for the record, all of this is in total fun. Perhaps my tongue-in-cheekness didn’t fully come out…

  4. Mini Cooper – made by BMW, handles like a dream, taken by many men to road-race courses on open drive days to create a blur around the track. Definitely not a chick car. What this post tells me is that, just as we men have believed for years, women are hung up on what kind of car a man drives. Surprise, surprise. I thought we men were suppose to be the superficial, shallow gender?

  5. Hilarious! Though, I do have to admit that I think I would lean toward the Mini Cooper being more of a dude car…mostly because my dad has had his eye on one for quite some time now, and because my hubby’s uncle has one. I mean, have you ever seen them in the chase scene in “The Italian Job”?

      1. My cousin drives one – he tried just about every car around (that would work as a daily driver and get good gas mileage) and he bought the Mini because it – shockingly – provided the most head and leg room. My cousin is SIX FOOT SEVEN. Watching him unfold himself from that car is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Apparently they are very roomy inside…but it is somewhat reminiscent of a clown car when he gets out… :D

  6. I can only imagine the sheer joy you derived from making all those graphs. And how much time it must have taken.


    And, although I did not weigh in during the research stage of this particular project, I must say that I’m 100% in agreement with the VW Beetle assessment at the very least (probably most of the others either).

    I found myself wracking my brain to remember having seen a male driving one, but I don’t think I came up with anything…thank goodness.

  7. My bestie from college drove an old geo metro back in the day, which caused me to break out into laughter when you mentioned them.

  8. I had to do driving school in an old Geo Metro with no power steering, ugh! I’m pretty sure those cars should be outlawed!
    We have a Toyota Tundra and a Honda Civic, so we’d be pretty safe, except that I drive the Tundra and hubby the Civic! :D Not by choice (on his part), I should add, but fuel economy since he drives 100+ miles to and from work every day.

  9. First of all I LOVE the graphics and secondly we live in Europe where MINI Coopers are all over the place. My 6’2″ husband drives one to work everyday and has men and women admiring it for the parking ease, gas milage, and look. He might have even had to wipe a bit of drool off from the men ogling over it so much. Mind you, over here, there are very few large trucks, so you don’t see “manly” vehicles. We do love our MINI, and it is a blast to drive.

    1. PS, they aren’t very expensive either. Despite what people think, we bought ours for around $25,000 and it fits a family of 4 comfortably on road trips.

  10. I laughed and laughed at this one. My husband and I are currently in battles over his too-loud, shock-free, manual transmission, diesel-guzzling truck. I’m just hoping that I will get a pass on having to ride in it once I’m pregnant enough to not be able to actually climb into the thing… I also discovered that maybe I have a chick car with a little muscle… my Jeep Grand Cherokee is a V8. :)

  11. I read stuff like this with interest until I remember how utterly arbitrary the idea of “gender appropriateness” is. There’s no reason for us to label some cars as “chick cars” and others as “dude cars,” much there’s no reason to consider pink feminine and blue masculine, except to appeal to gender stereotypes. It’s silly, and ultimately harmful.

    Not aiming any of this at you, mind you. I liked your post. Just, I have little patience for society’s (often ridiculous) expectations about what a gender should/shouldn’t be.

  12. i’ll have to show this to my husband. we’ve always wanted a mini-cooper – not that that will ever happen. but i spoze it’s more ME that wants one…

  13. I’m surprised that you didn’t even mention Subaru. I don’t think they even allow men to enter a dealership ;)

  14. So, that’s why my husband refuses to get rid of his 1995 Jeep Cherokee. He only drives my Civic or Pilot under duress. The age, noise of the engine, and lack of any sort of “amenities” make it the most dude car he’s gonna have while the kids are young LOL.

  15. I am interested to know what you think about the Jeep Grand Cherokee? I am about to trade in a Ford Exidition, and would like to downsize a bit for gas purposes. I need an SUV type vehicle because of all the sales samples that I carry around. It seems like the Jeep is advertised as a manly car becUse if the off roaring and wilderness that they show the car in? I definately don’t want to drive a chick car. Please help!

  16. This is a stupid article, there is no such thing as a boy / girl car. Also the author of this is an idiot, there is absolutely no such thing as a modern car with a “V4 engine”. If you didn’t know that, you really shouldn’t be classifying what type of cars go to each gender.

    Sincerly, someone who thinks you suck.

    1. Lighten up dude. She didn’t write this for Car & Driver. Had a good laugh at your “the author of this is an idiot” as it makes it seem that you are talking about your comment.

  17. Clearly you never drove in a Mini before. Especially a John Cooper racer! It’s chauvinist women like you are the reason feminism is a complete joke. Go kill yourself Confederate shehag

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