Smarmy BMW businessmen, holier-than-thou Prius drivers and reckless Subaru boy-racers – these are the stereotypes which rule the roads, research has found.
A study has revealed the driving stereotypes British motorists actually believe are true.
Almost a third of Brits think BMW drivers are obnoxious business types, and one in eight imagine a banker in the front seat of a Mercedes-Benz.
A Volkswagen Camper is most likely to evoke images of a hippie behind the wheel, while Volkswagen Beetles are considered a hairdresser’s get-around.
But while judgemental motorists are quick to guess the personality traits of other drivers, just one in six think they fit the stereotype associated with their own car.
James Buttrick, spokesman for Vantage Leasing, which commissioned the study, said: “Whether accurate or not, the type of car we drive is seen to portray a great deal about our personality on the roads.
“The next time your find yourself in need of a new car, it might be worth considering the stereotype associated with each brand before making your final decision.”
Brits expect a Land Rover to be driven by an upper-class mum on the school run, and Porsches are the preserve of middle-aged men who are trying to look wealthier than they actually are.
Fords, meanwhile, are considered a safe bet, driven by ‘average parents’.
The research, carried out via OnePoll.com, also revealed a third reckon you can tell a lot about a person by the car they drive, and one in eight admit to judging someone on their choice of vehicle above all else.
Yet a third of drivers don’t think their car represents their personality at all.
Despite the negative connotations of these popular stereotypes, Brits aren’t letting the opinions of other motorists influence them when they hit the dealership forecourt.
Only eight per cent have considered a car brand’s image when making a vehicle purchase, with nine in 10 believing they are impervious to being duped by car advertising and the lifestyles they promise.
Audi is the car brand Brits consider most desirable, followed by Aston Martin, while BMW appears at the bottom of the list.
BMW drivers are also perceived to be the most reckless on the roads, along with those behind the wheel of an Audi or Subaru.
It also emerged one in 10 motorists have been mocked in the past for their choice of vehicle, with friends and colleagues most likely to make a hurtful comment about a less-than-desirable ride.
For 55 per cent of motorists, driving is an essential part of daily life, and one in two enjoy the freedom being able to take to the roads gives them.
And three in 10 simply drive for the pleasure of the experience.
James Buttrick added: “It has been fascinating uncovering the hidden meanings we assign to different car brands.
“While many drivers deny it, we can’t escape the fact our choice of vehicle will be seen as an extension of ourselves and our personality, so it is important to choose wisely.”
Vantage Leasing is a specialist broker that offers personal car leasing.