While motoring is seen as a predominantly male-orientated activity, many female drivers are also just as interested in the type of vehicles which are purchased.
It is claimed that when searching for cars, ladies look for motors which allow them to be mobile, exciting and have good safety records.
Here then is a guide to the cars that female drivers most desire, which generally fall into three broad categories; small, convertibles and SUVs, according to Erin Baker, the female editor of the Telegraph’s Motoring Section.
These three broad categories cover the main objectives which women want with from cars; independence, enjoyment and total protection, whether it be for them or their passengers.
Small cars offer female drivers the opportunity to be able to show their individuality and independence. There are four main cars at the top of this list that ladies desire above all; the Fiat 500, the MINI One, the Citroen DS3 and the Ford Ka.
The Ka is the most affordable, starting out at £8,545 and has impressed with its conquering of tight corners since Ford introduced it to the market in 1996. The second model was released in 2008 which is wider than the original Ka, although the length remains the same. The three door hatchback offers a five speed manual transmission and runs on either 1.2 litre or 1.3 litre engines.
Similar to the Ka, the 2007 Fiat 500 model is a three door city car, although it does have a greater quantity of engine sizes, ranging from 0.9 litres to 1.3 litres. The Fiat 500 also offers the choice of five or six speed manual transmission, as well as five speed semi-auto and six speed automatic Aisin. There is a link between the Ka and the Fiat 500, with both being assembled in Fiat’s Polish plant in Tychy.
It is a front wheel drive with the design emphasis on a retro style. The MINI One retains its three door hatchback style as standard and also offers anti-lock braking, cornering brake control and traction control system.
Citroen’s DS3 is the most expensive of the small range cars which ladies love. The price for the super mini is £12,495 and offers the driver a three door hatchback with a choice of four speed automatic transmission, five speed manual or six speed manual transmission. It is one of the most popular cars produced by the French firm with over 100,000 orders being placed for the model.
Convertibles are the second type of car style favoured by ladies who love their cars, with the four most impressive to drive being the Peugeot 207CC, Audi A5 Cabriolet, Maxda MX-5 and the Mercedes Benz SLK.
Peugeot offer the best value for money with their 207CC model. At a cost of £16,495 the sporty model has a well executed design for the internal layout of the vehicle. Although it has a cutting edge image, the 207 CC has notable safety features such as anti-roll bars, five air-bags and anti-lock braking.
At £17,990 the Mazda MX5 is a Japanese sports car which offers the customer a two door roadster. The two litre engine models can race to 60 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds however, the car can also be bought with a 1.8 litre engine and comes with a range of transmission. The manual transmission is available in five or six speed, while a six speed automatic is also available.
Towards the upper end of the convertible market is the Audi A5 Cabriolet, which starts from £28,915. Despite its price and a 3.2 litre capacity engine the car lacks in power, however the dual clutch works a treat. The car has a low centre of gravity and its controls are incredibly easy to use in a spacious cabin.
The Mercedes Benz SLK Class offers a two door retractable hard top which is powered by a wide range of engines, ranging from 1.8 litre through to 5.4 litre capacity. The speed of the 2011 Mercedes Benz SLK Class model is such that the transmission is only available in six speed manual or seven speed automatic. In fact the car is able to reach 60 miles per hour in four seconds, meaning that the driver can take the car for a spin on country roads.
Safety is the final aspect that ladies look for when wanting a car to drive in, whether that is to look after themselves or their children. In this situation the SUV is the perfect vehicle, with the BMW X5, Land Rover Discovery, Land Rover Range Rover and the Volvo XC90. All of these vehicles are in the upper range of most budgets, offering drivers comfort and safety.
At £34,795 the Volvo XC90 is a mid-size luxury crossover car which was first rolled off the manufacturing line in 2002. The engines come in a variety of sizes, from the turbo-charged to the diesel designs and range from 2.5 litre capacity to 4.4 litre capacity. As with all Volvo models, the car was constructed with safety in mind and comes with a front absorber specifically to protect the driver and their passengers. The SUV crossover also comers with five speed manual transmission and four, five or six speed automatic.
The Landrover Discovery is a mid-size SUV which costs slightly more than the Volvo XC90 and is a front engine rear wheel drive. The newest model comes complete with ZF six speed manual or automatic transmission and boasts such initiatives as traction control. The SUV has powerful brakes and anti-roll bars which help with the improvement of the vehicle’s handling.
BMW’s offering to the SUV market is the BMW X5, a luxury SUV crossover offering six speed automatic transmission as well as an eight speed Prundletonic system. The transmission size is dependent on the engines which range from three litres through to 4.8 litres. There are slight modifications for the 2011 model, mainly a new front bumper and air intakes, however the X5 stays true to its original second generation style from 2006.
Land Rover’s Range Rover is the most expensive car that ladies desire, with a starting price of £68,985. Now in its third generation, the Range Rover is a five door SUV which offers only automatic transmission. Five speed, six speed and eight speed automatic are offered which power a wide engine range of up to five litres. The five door SUV uses a V8 engine and has a four wheel independent air suspension.