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What Your Dream Car Says About You

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author photo by Eric Brandt May 2018

Everyone has a dream car. Since everyone has different tastes, dream cars mean different things to different people. However, a new study from Gold Eagle found a handful of cars to be the most common dream cars for Americans.

When you think of a dream car, you might think of an expensive, exotic supercar like a Lamborghini or a Ferrari. Exotic cars are dream cars for a lot of people, but the top five dream cars for Americans are surprisingly affordable. They all start at less than $100,000, and most of them even start below the average new car transaction price of around $36,000.

Using data from the study and our own analysis, here's what America's top five dream cars say about the drivers who want them.

Ford Mustang

It's been an American icon for more than a half-century, and the Ford Mustang is still America's number one dream car. According to Gold Eagle, 39 percent of respondents whose dream car is a Mustang were men and 61 percent were women, giving the Mustang a slight feminine preference. The study also found that the Mustang was the top dream car in the Midwest and Southeast regions of the U.S.. Perhaps the most telling statistic about the Mustang is the fact that most people who identified as car experts chose a Mustang as their dream car.

Being the top dream car of people who identify as car experts says a lot about the Mustang. Ford originally marketed the Mustang as sort of a youthful sports car that anyone can enjoy, and it still carries that positive stigma today. It's a car that a lot of Americans like, whether it's because of the sporty look, the equally sporty performance or just the fact that it's a Mustang.

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Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S broke new ground when it came out in 2012 as an all-electric luxury liftback sedan that doesn't compromise on style or performance. According to the Gold Eagle study, the Model S has the strongest male bias of the top five dream cars, with 63 percent of people who dream about it being men and 37 percent being women.

The Model S is the top choice for Millennials and for people who identified as not knowledgeable about cars. The regions that like the Model S are the Pacific, Northeast and Southwest regions of the U.S.. So if your dream car is a Tesla Model S, you're likely in your 20s or early 30s, and might not be all that much of a car person. But you don't have to be to appreciate a sleek, modern, electric luxury sedan.

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Jeep Wrangler

Like the Ford Mustang, the Jeep Wrangler is an American icon, but for very different reasons. One could consider the Wrangler a performance car, but only for its off-road performance. Most Wrangler owners might not go off-roading all that often, but it's still one of the most capable 4-by-4 SUVs on the market.

Women like the Wrangler much more than men, according to the Gold Eagle study. Of those who named the Wrangler as their dream car, 81 percent were women, and 19 percent were men. It's hard to say why Wrangler fans are so dominantly female, but we think it might have something to do with the Wrangler's cute face. The Jeep's off-road performance is anything but cute, but the round headlights, 7-slot grille and boxy shape of the Wrangler make for an SUV that almost looks like a big toy. Also, the fact that you can take off the top and the doors and fold down the windshield is just plain fun.

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Chevrolet Corvette

Although it's still one of the best performance values in the 65 years that it's been on the market, the Chevrolet Corvette has a reputation of being an old man's sports car. Incidentally, that stigma is reflected in the data found by Gold Eagle. The Corvette is the top dream car for Baby Boomers, and has a male preference of 59 percent.

It's not hard to see why the Corvette is popular with older drivers. It's a 2-seater, making it good for empty nesters, it's expensive, but an excellent value and it's been an aspirational car for well over a half-century. If you're at the end of your working life and you want to reward yourself with something fun to drive during your retirement, a Corvette is one of your best options.

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Chevrolet Camaro

There's perhaps no more iconic automotive rivalry than the one between the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro. The Mustang wins in the dream car study, but it doesn't always win in terms of sales and performance. The two rivals are usually pretty neck-and-neck in all metrics, which helps motivate Chevrolet and Ford to constantly improve their pony cars.

The Camaro is the closest to a 50/50 split in gender preference on the list, with its admirers being 48 percent men and 52 percent women. It's also the favorite car among Gen X. These are people who likely grew up admiring the wedge-shaped third-generation Camaro and its variants, like the high-performance IROC-Z and Z/28 models and the flashy RS trim. Luckily for them, the current sixth-generation Camaro is better than ever.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
What Your Dream Car Says About You - Autotrader