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Car Shopping: Equifax Names “Ideal” Vehicle Types

  • “Ideal” vehicles by driver age and income
  • Four age categories and four income categories
  • Five vehicle types

IXI Services, a division of Equifax that provides businesses with insights into consumer finance and economics, released a report that reveals which kinds of vehicles drivers of different ages and incomes prefer. 

The report includes five vehicle types, from basic transportation to premium luxury. Although intended for its corporate customers, the “ideal” vehicle report from Equifax can be helpful for car shopping, too. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all prescription for the ideal car, the report allows drivers to see what their peers — in terms of age and income — prefer in a new vehicle.

Basic Transportation

The most affordable vehicle type on the list is called “transportation only” and includes cars with the lowest costs of ownership. While these vehicles are likely to be relatively fuel-efficient, shoppers in this category choose them for the economic savings, not the low environmental impact. Equifax says these shoppers are concerned with brand and country of origin, suggesting shoppers’ concerns with reliability. Attributes such as styling, meanwhile, are sidelined. “Transportation only” is ideal for low-income (under $50,000/year) and moderate-income ($50,000-$100,000/year) drivers 65 and over.

Practical

“Basic and functional” vehicles are all about practicality. They combine the comfort of a car and some truck-like capabilities while forgoing the luxury appointments. Moderate-income drivers in their working years (35-54) and pre-retirement years (55-64) are most likely to prefer “basic and functional” vehicles. These drivers choose not based on brand or even rebates or incentives. Instead, they choose based on practicality and comfort.

Green Vehicles

High income ($100,000-$200,000/year) drivers from age 35 up and elite income ($200,000+/year) drivers in their working or retirement years are likely to pick a “green and suitable” vehicle. This category provides the practicality to fit with a busy lifestyle while also reflecting a driver’s commitment to the environment. These vehicles may offer luxurious equipment or a premium nameplate, but these are not primary factors for drivers in the “green and suitable” category.

What’s interesting here is that most people who buy an environmentally friendly car are those who are doing fairly well financially. 

Finally, “green and trendy” vehicles are frequently purchased by younger buyers, those who are at pre-retirement and working families who make less than $50,000 per year. Think of these cars as affordable hybrids or low priced electric vehicle. Most cars in this category are not affordable, but there are exceptions.

These buyers are most likely looking to green cars because they want to save money on fuel. Of course, price is important, too, so these shoppers are likely to look for rebates or incentives when car shopping.

Luxury and Style

“Luxury and style” vehicles, however, are primarily chosen for a strong feature set and striking looks. Young shoppers under 35 with at least a moderate income, or pre-retirement shoppers with an elite income, may find the “luxury and style” category most appealing. Environmental factors and practicality are not key considerations for these shoppers. Instead, they want cars that look great, regardless of brand.

The report generalizes by age and income, but really, all drivers are different. Some who can afford an expensive car still shop based on price, for example. But these “ideal” vehicles can provide guidelines for car shoppers who aren’t sure where to start. After all, there is some comfort in knowing which vehicles drivers of your age and income prefer.

What it means to you: Five “ideal” vehicle types in a new report from Equifax help shoppers to see which kinds of cars, trucks, SUVs and crossovers their peers prefer.

Equifax and CARFAX provide services to AutoTrader.com customers.

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