We millennials have everyone confused. We have varying views on marriage, corporate culture and even travel. Our spending habits are historically unconventional. Every industry is trying to accommodate and capitalize to our tastes and values. The automotive industry is no different. After all, we are today’s largest generation with the highest purchasing power of any group before us.
A popular misconception is that we aren’t buying cars at all. However, the truth is millennials are, but we are doing so at our own pace. Millennials prefer, for example, short-term commitments and don’t necessarily want to own a car for more than five years. And just like the trend of postponing marriage and rearing children, some of us are also delaying the big car purchase until our 30s.
Defined as those born between the years of 1980 to 1996, millennials are seen as a diverse and complex group. While we have different wants and beliefs, one thing is for sure: when it comes to our attitudes toward cars and car ownership, we don’t see our vehicle as just a means of transportation. Rather, it’s an extension of our personality and the gateway to the lifestyle we want.
Choosing a car is always an adventure. So to help you navigate the numerous options out there, here’s my list of the best cars that reflect who you are and where you’re going:
1) The Always-Connected
If you’re attached to your phone, connectivity to you is important. As soon as you get into the driver’s seat you want your phone to display your route and sync your playlist seamlessly, freeing you up to focus on the road, distracted free. For first time buyers, look into a Chevy Cruz, Honda Accord, Honda Civic or a Nissan Altima. They all offer the latest technology to keep you driving hands free. These cars are also sporty enough for someone on a modest budget. Best of all, the latest models can help you safely parallel park and/or warn you of oncoming traffic to avoid collisions, helping you feel more comfortable if you’re new on the road.
Everyone loves new bells and whistles, but ensure you understand (and need) all the features that come with the vehicle. Look into older models and purchase off season to lock in a good price.
2) The Un-Soccer Mom
If your birth year falls into the earlier tip of the millennial bracket, chances are you’re balancing a career with a baby on the way. However, you wouldn’t naturally gravitate toward the typical minivan. Car manufacturers have tuned into your needs and have supplied subcompact SUVs as the answer. Take a look at the Buick Encore, Buick Envision, GMC Terrain or Mazda CX-3. These models are multifunctional – sleek enough to park in your reserved spot at the office with room for cargo and family life.
We know you’re busy, but it helps to do your research. Get price quotes online and get pre-approved financing from sites like HGreg.com. Ensure you have accurate figures, especially when you’ll have to start budgeting for a growing family.
3) The Hustler
You are no longer the company intern and you’re hitting your stride in your career. You want your vehicle to reflect your ambition but without appearing overly confident. Luxury car manufacturers have introduced lower-price point models, such as the Mercedes CLA, BMW 1-series, Lexus CT 200h and Audi A3, with the goal to entice and mold you into a life-long customer. If a designer brand doesn’t resonate with you, but you still crave a vehicle with performance and design, additional options are a Subaru WRX, Subaru BRX and the Nissan GTR.
Since you might be looking to upgrade your vehicle sooner than the average person, make sure to ask about the trade in value of your car or what it would re-sell for in the future. If you’re already thinking of selling, visit sites like Autobye.com, which is a simple platform to sell your vehicle for maximum value.
4) The Scenester
Like most of us, your social calendar is full – from brunch dates to a night out with friends, you live for interaction. To you, driving your car is a joy in and of itself. You want your vehicle to be fun and unique. Try the Mini Cooper, Scion TC or Ford Focus. Not only do these cars serve as a conversation starter, but they have the best sound systems, allowing you to set the mood prior to arriving at your destination.
With your always-on-the-go schedule, ensure to enquire about models that require less maintenance and general upkeep.
5) The Weekend Warrior
You work hard and play hard. As soon as the weekend hits, you want to jump into your car for the next adventure. And if you are among the 60 per cent of millennials who are single, you’re free for impromptu weekend getaways at a moment’s notice. A Jeep Renegade, Jeep Trailhawk, Jeep Cherokee or a Ford F-Series pickup may be just the ride for you. They can handle any terrain and give plenty of room – whether it’s to store your gear or provide legroom for your crew.
Look for cars that have low mileage based on its year. On average, people drive their cars 12,000 to 15,000 miles annually. Do some quick calculations to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
While the above tips may help, above all, do your research and take a car out on a test drive. Also ask about refund and exchange policies, in case you’re not completely satisfied with your purchase. Pre-owned car dealerships like HGreg.com allow you to check out hundreds of models online. Once you’re ready to take the car out for a spin, the dealership guarantees it will be available when you arrive, and you have seven days from the point of purchase to return your vehicle in the off chance you change your mind.
Harry Kasparian is the millennial vice president of marketing and communications at HGreg.com, which is part of HGrégoire, a network of more than 22 new and pre-owned car dealerships in North America. For more info, visit: HGreg.com.