Girl TORQUE: What do cars say?

AutoTrader NZ
Published 3 September 2020

You know, Honda Logo equals sensible old granny, Holden Commodore ute equals tradesman with ego and so on. Trouble is, it doesn’t always work.

A friend of mine’s a petrolhead with a motorbike and a penchant for hairy-chested utes. She’s also a highly-paid suit-wearing exec – and her daily driver’s a Honda Logo. Yes it was her mum’s, but she’s sold on the cheap running and ease of parking, and her Commodore’s usually left at home.

She also likes the way her gung-ho attitude to driving shatters the car’s careful-old-lady rep. She tried to embarrass a Ferrari F355 on the Rimutaka hill recently, and I quote; “With a flick of the switch the Logo was in Sport mode – the CVT was screaming its little heart out and we were out in the right hand lane. “Yes, yes, yes!” I cried. And then the b*****d tapped his accelerator.” You can imagine the rest.

It was, of course, a red Ferrari – and everyone knows red cars go faster. Also that big, city-driven SUVs are driven by soccer mums, BMWs by social climbers who never indicate, and MPVs by the brethren and their vast broods.

Lamborghinis are owned by flashy men with a coke habit and a dodgy taste in clothes; Mercedes by smart but conservative types whose only lifestyle flourish is a Trelise Cooper frill or three in the wardrobe; Saabs are piloted by creatives and MX-5s by hairdressers (though why should they have all the fun?).

Used imports complicate the issue. BMWs aren’t necessarily overpriced, and a big, flash, car loaded with tech toys might have a weeny engine if it originated from an image-conscious Asian city.

Having kids also puts a spanner in the works; my adventure-racing neighbour jogs terrain I’d want a helicopter to traverse, cycles hills that’d tax a small car – and packs his mountain bike into a three door Toyota Echo. Surely a Subaru would be more appropriate? Yep, but the wife and family need it.

Strangely the Echo – for all his muddy pastimes – is cleaner than their bigger car, though keeping it pristine can’t be easy.

Maybe the state of the cabin’s a better reflection of character than the model you choose; clean or dirty; tidy or cluttered. Even I was surprised to find a fish tank pump in my car’s boot one day – where had that come from? Why was it there? Was it time to streamline my life?

More worrying, what did its presence say about me. After all, your car’s a very public expression of your personality. You may look on it as a useful tool that says nothing about your rich and vibrant existence. Others will take a different view, though they just might get it wrong.

After all, there’s at least one Logo driven by a gung-ho biker chick, not her aged mum.

Read past Girl TORQUE columns here.