Selecting your new car – heart or head?


A new study shows that our heart rules our head when it comes to buying a car.  While we want to believe we are acting rationally, the report shows much of the decision is actually based on emotions.

The Hiscox Head vs. Heart Motor study on the conscious and subconscious influences that come into play when we buy a car, gave some surprising results.  Its findings show that people say that the responsible ‘head’ factors such as reliability, value, safety, insurance premiums, fuel efficiency and shape are more important to them.  However, the research uncovered that a number of ‘heart’ factors are more important to people than they admit.  These ‘heart’ factors were comfort, interior design, the manufacturer, color, gadgets and speed.

Tight Scotsman?Tight Scotsman?

The research reveals some fascinating contradictions.  Although people said reliability, value for money and fuel efficiency were the most important to them, their subconscious thought was focusing on entirely different things – comfort, reliability and safety.  Reliability was closest to male hearts, while women subconsciously preferred comfort.

The study showed that we have an emotive response to cars; it is not just the way the car looks but how the engine sounds, the upholstery feels and smells, the way the steering wheel feels beneath the hands, as well as the subjective value of how we feel behind the wheel.  Subconsciously, we let our hearts rule our heads and are going to be guided more by our emotional reaction than our rational response the next time we go to buy a car.”

This survey was done in the UK, and it actually showed regional differences.  Value for money when buying a car was more important to the Scots (10 percent above average) than to any other region, as was fuel efficiency (15 percent above average) – suggesting the Scots were more concerned with getting the best deal both when it comes to buying and running their vehicle than the other nine regions surveyed (and tight-fisted it seems).  Value for money was least important to Londoners (17 percent below average).