Whether you choose to drive a luxury sports car or an environmentally friendly hybrid, it’s clear that UK drivers believe your car says something about you. That’s according to new research conducted by CarGurus, the online automotive site, that found ‘being seen in a nice car’ is important to nearly half of the driving population (42 per cent).

Nearly a third of drivers (30 per cent) agree that life is too short to drive a boring car and almost a fifth of men (19 per cent), admitted wanting to own a vehicle that demonstrated to other road users that they could afford an expensive car.

At the other end of the spectrum, 43 per cent of drivers wanted a car that wouldn’t make them appear ‘flashy’ or a ‘show off’, particularly those aged between 25-34 (52 per cent) versus 45-54 year olds (32 per cent). In fact, 56 per cent of drivers said they’d want to buy a car that is environmentally friendly.

Irrespective of whether you want to buy an expensive car to flaunt your apparent wealth, or a less polluting vehicle to showcase your social conscience, most drivers appear to buy cars for practical activities. Doing the grocery shopping is among the top three considerations when buying a car (73 per cent), as well as visiting family and friends (74 per cent) and days out/activities (73 per cent).

As part of the research, UK adults were shown a list of the most searched for brands on CarGurus and were asked to pick words that best described their perception of someone who drives a car of that make.

According to the results, Jaguar and Mercedes best conveyed ‘success’ (29 per cent and 27 per cent), while BMW (the most searched for brand on CarGurus) was deemed to be flashy by 31 per cent of those surveyed. Land Rovers are said to convey affluence by 22 per cent of people, while a third of UK adults (33 per cent) believe Ford is for the practical person.

Reputations of Popular Car Brands:

Perception Car Brand
Flashy BMW
Affluent Land Rover
Successful Jaguar
Practical Ford
Young Mini

Sarah Welch, spokesperson for CarGurus commented: “A car has always been a status symbol for some, but this exercise has demonstrated just how many car owners are concerned with how their choice of car influences other road users’ perception of them. We’ve discovered that Ford and Nissan owners are seen to be pragmatic, while Jaguars and Mercedes exudes success.

“The good news is that with the right research, it’s possible to find the car that’s right for you and your budget. This is where CarGurus comes in, it offers car buyers an easier way to compare car listings and find the best deals. The site analyses and ranks hundreds and thousands of cars every day and provides unbiased transparency on vehicle prices, dealership reputation and a host of other factors. This in turn means shoppers can buy the car that’s right for them – be it a family car, commuting car, or even trophy car!”.

Visit CarGurus at

More from 4x4 magazine online