Cars are an indispensable part of our lives and they have become more than just commuters. They now have extended functions like luggage hauling, are used for recreational purposes and are also seen as accessories that complete the look. Over the past decade, an increasing number of women are buying and driving cars. For most of them, driving has gone from being perceived as a chore to a reign over the freedom of movement - one that avoids time being wasted, and the inconvenience of having to hail a cab or ask a friend or a family member for a ride to work, the movie theatre or a mall.
So, for those ladies who are looking for more than just a mode of transport, here is a shortlist of cars to consider. And, in case you're wondering what the criteria for selection were, know that we considered: identity, snob value, affordability, utility, trouble-free maintenance and, most importantly, ease of driving.
The long favourite of women all over the world! Nothing says style, success and independence like a red (or black) Mercedes-Benz SLC.and these are words from women themselves. Its compact and sleek silhouette is a banner of youth and its convertible top is an excuse to show off those new sunglasses or hairstyle. The recent visual revamp has also helped it win lost favour.
Starting price: Dh178,000
Good things may come in small packages, but great things come in bigger ones, at least in the case of the all-new Mazda CX-9. For the utility-minded family woman, this all-new 7-seater crossover SUV is the perfect road companion. With sophisticated looks and commendable interior quality, it certainly is the unsung hero of the automotive industry. And it drives well, so your friend or husband may ask to spare some time behind the wheel. But we suggest you keep this one for yourself.
Starting price: Dh119,000
The Volkswagen Beetle is amongst the most iconic vehicles of all time. Its cute rounded proportions and bug-eyed looks can get an "Awww" from anyone. And with the incorporation of modern-day conveniences and a new powertrain borrowed from the Golf GTI, the 'People's Car' company has brought this retro-styled ride right into the 21st century. Then, there is always the convertible version to make things a little more interesting.
Starting price: Dh99,000
BMW 2-Series Coupe
For those who have always wanted to get behind the wheel of the 'Utimate Driving Machine', this is the BMW of choice. This is German engineering on a budget! It's a convenient size that can carry up to 4 adults - sort of - and with a playful chassis; even power from the 220i is enough to make quick spin around town fun.
Starting price: Dh175,000
This crossover SUV has taken the market by storm. The Korean manufacturer's styling advancements will put many of the German and other European automakers to shame. It's got a decent power plant upfront and plenty of luggage space at the back end. Forget resale, it is never going to beat a Japanese counterpart, but the only real problem is that it still remains more an affordable car with aspirational value, than an aspirational car with an affordable price tag.
Starting price: Dh72,000
The MINI Cooper is like a wardrobe essential that is just a bit too risqué and a bit too expensive. Besides being heralded for its adorable looks and go-kart-like handling, in recent times, it's gained notches in quality levels, thanks to input from parent company BMW. At this price, though, there may be other sedans and SUVs from Japanese and American manufacturers that may talk some sense into you. The all-new Countryman is a great choice, if you want a plus-size MINI with a little off-roader attitude. I also feel obligated to mention that the MINI is not just a car - it's also a piece of history.
Starting price: Dh136,000
Porsche 718 Cayman/Boxster
The Porsche Cayman is arguably the sexiest car on the list. It has a badge to appease the socialite gods and it gets the nod from guys as well. And if exposing yourself to the elements is the way you get your swag on, get the Boxster. it drops the top in just 9 seconds. But you may have a tough time convincing some family members: why get a car with only two seats and two boots that don't necessarily fit anything substantial?
Starting price: Dh220,000
This ultimate culmination of curves on wheels has been the top-listed vehicle amongst women all around the globe. It's grown up so much, it appeals to both the sexes now. And this time it drives like how a sports car should. The driver-oriented infotainment controls, though, may make your spouse, partner or friend feel like they have no say in your life. Then again, if you are driving a 2+2 seater, you probably aren't looking for any.
Starting price: Dh183,500
Geely Emgrand X7 Sport
The X7 Sport is an utilitarian vehicle with Range Rover Evoque mimicking looks - at least, from some angles. This entry-level crossover from the Chinese brand with a Swedish influence has taken us by surprise and now it is time for us to put the word out there. The overall build quality and super-soft Napa leather will leave you questioning the retail price of some luxury vehicles these days. If the resale bothers you, the five-year warranty will quickly change your opinion; and if you can use it as many years, you probably made your money back. Power, though, is average at best.
Starting price: AED 59,99
Honda Odyssey J
The Odyssey J is not just another frumpy MPV, it is an amazing mommy mover. Its abandons the chunk of the original Odyssey for sleeker, more endearing styling, and is surprisingly easy to drive for a vehicle of its size. The low-entry height makes it ideal for transiting families. But no matter how good a multi-purpose vehicle it may be, you will forever hear the voice of your neighbours asking, "Why not an SUV for the same price?" So be prepared!
Starting price: Dh100,000
Hyundai's attempt at creating a segment-stirring vehicle has been a success. The hatchback with a dino-sounding name and evocative styling has garnered it quite a few fans. And its availability in as many colours as Sephora's range of lipsticks cannot be quantified. The power deficiency of the base model has been sorted thanks to the introduction of a Turbo variant, but the rear quarters remains tight and, well, only a single door opens to it.
Starting price: Dh67,900
This tiny tot from bowtie-branded American brand Chevy is more than an autorickshaw on wheels. It's definitely larger on the inside than you would imagine and moves with the enthusiasm of something sportier. And, as an extra bonus, there isn't enough that can said about the one-hour servicing period, during which you can run some quick errands. It's also a size that makes it easy to drive and price that makes it easy to finance.
Starting price: Dh34,000
This compact crossover, styled with the verve of precious stone jewellery, has in it to be a woman's best friend: five seats, plenty of electronic gimmicks and safety features - what's not to like? However, the mouse-pad like infotainment controller is a little finicky and attempting to click those on-screen buttons can be a bit like catching a mouse. quite literally.
Starting price: Dh160,000
By George Kuruvilla
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