Many women’s choice of car is imposed. Thus their car is often:
(a) Small (Low purchase price (LPP), less power, easier parking, low consumption, ostensibly better ergonomics)
(b) Bottom of the range (Cheaper, less “complexity”)
(c) Manual (LPP, lower consumption).
(d) Petrol engine (LPP)
(e) Less visibly macho (Less vulnerable to male drivers)
(f) Oddly coloured (The only inexpensive option left).
But the opposites of these features have beneficial sides. Take Small: More powerful biggish cars are less demanding to drive (fewer gearchanges), quieter, more restful on long journeys, have more carrying capacity (eg, for baby impedimenta) and in the case of larger US cars with far greater steering assistance, easier to park. More power need not be feared; the driver is in control; the power need not be used; it doesn’t “sneak up”. Alas, small car ergonomics means fewer adjustments.
Less “complexity” Cheap cars often lack reversing sensors; vital in parking garages. Ignore arguments (always male) saying these “de-skill” driving; the aim is to travel not take a degree. Expensive cars usually have more copious lighting, remote radio control, better info systems – all recognisably helpful.
Automatic gearboxes no longer absorb fuel. My two-litre turbo-charged diesel car (ie, medium to biggish) has a six-speed autobox and has consumed fuel at 51 mpg since purchase. Autobox changes gear more efficiently than I can. Much, much more restful.
Petrol vs diesel. The latter lacks LPP but is cheaper to run. So, buy second-hand. Especially in France.
ESSENTIAL Ignore advice of male driving enthusiasts; they speak a different – often subjective – language. Given the choice I would have a chauffeur.