The Right Car for the Right Age of Driver

I think consumer electronics play a bigger role in our lives today than automobiles. Perhaps they do a better job at helping us escape from our everyday existence or maybe the money invested into the latest iPhone and its compact size make it more impressive than a Ford Fiesta.
I just don't know! What I do know is that cars still unite and divide us in equal measure. You can't have a road trip or a bonding experience using the latest app and most people either love or hate one particular brand. Unlike smartphone users, which jump brands all the time, car people are sometimes even born with a brand and remain loyal unless something really bad deters them.

"My mother had a Beetle and I've owned 10 Volkswagens in as many years." – or something along those lines.

Besides the car brands, the models themselves often divide fans. An RS3 owner probably wants nothing to do with the football player and his big Q7, who in turn says wagons are ugly boxes for people with too many kids.

Why is that? Is that just because the cars are different, or is it also because the people buying them are different? I've probably made the answer kind of obvious.

The "duh" point is that different ages of people both need and want different types of cars. When you're young, you want something that will get you respected. After that, the first kids arrive and you start needing more space. Approaching your 40s? Class, prestige and comfort become paramount.

Think about it – which lottery winner is more likely to spend everything on Ferraris and Lamborghinis, the 28YO or the 82YO? A 458 Italia needs to arrive at the right time to be appreciated, before too many years of rigorous hard work spoil the excitement and hooliganism out of you.

Both the Audi A8 and Mercedes S-Class are almost unfathomable for the youngest of motorists, at least the one that can afford them. These canal boats on wheels are soft, early quiet and about as exciting as a good mattress.

Of course they would never make sense for an 18-year-old, but they're perfect for the 50-year-old executive who's in a high-stress job and has probably already driven over 1,000,000 kilometers in his lifetime.

Likewise, I once saw a statistic that said most buyers of the Lexus LS are in their late '60s. You don't see too many of those on children's bedroom walls. Old men also like brands for old men. I don't mean to insult anybody. It's just that only pensioners have time to clean carburetors and dust out the brakes every Saturday or so.

There are also a few cars that are intentionally designed to be ageless. Some of them are really good, universal tools for getting from A to B, while others pretty bad and appeal to the people who hate driving but need to do it. I won't name any specific models (Opel Agila) that are as numb as dead fish (Renault Symbol), but the point is these are 4-wheelers that everybody can afford and nobody actually wants. Like refrigerators and washing machines, they do a job and then die a painless death in the crusher.

So where are you in your life? Or should I say "when"… I'm currently growing out of my GT 86 phase and wish I had a compact wagon, which means I'm aging too fast. That lottery money had better get here soon or I'll soon be acting like a 60YO before I reach 35.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)
About the author: Mihnea Radu
Mihnea Radu profile photo

Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories