We Millennials have everyone confused. We have varying views on marriage, corporate culture and even travel. Our spending habits are historically unconventional. Every industry is trying to accommodate and capitalize to our tastes and values.
As someone connected to auto retailing through the HGregoire dealership group, I can tell you the automotive industry is no different. Millennials are today’s largest generation with the highest purchasing power of any group before us.
A misconception is that we aren’t buying cars at all. However, the truth is we are, but at our own pace. Millennials prefer, for example, short-term commitments and don’t necessarily want to own a car for more than five years. And just like the trend of postponing marriage and rearing children, some of us are also delaying the big car purchase until our 30s.
Defined as those born between the years of 1980 to 1996, Millennials are a diverse and complex group. While we have different wants and beliefs, one thing is for sure: When it comes to our attitudes toward cars and car ownership, we don’t see our vehicle as just a means of transportation.
Rather, it’s an extension of our personality and the gateway to the lifestyle we want.
Choosing a car is always an adventure. To help navigate through the numerous options out there, here’s my list of the best Millennial cars that reflect who you are and where you’re going:
If you’re attached to your phone, connectivity is important. As soon as you get into the driver’s seat you want your phone to display your route and sync your playlist seamlessly, freeing you up to focus on the road, distraction-free.
For first time buyers, look at a Chevy Cruz, Honda Accord, Honda Civic or a Nissan Altima. They all offer the latest technology to keep you driving hands free. These cars are also sporty enough for someone on a modest budget. Best of all, the latest models can help you safely parallel park and warn you of oncoming traffic to avoid collisions, helping you feel more comfortable if you’re new on the road.
Pro tip: Everyone loves new bells and whistles, but ensure you understand (and need) all the features that come with the vehicle. Look into older models and purchase off season to lock in a good price.
The Un-Soccer Mom
If your birth year falls into the earlier tip of the Millennial bracket, chances are you’re balancing a career with a baby on the way. However, you wouldn’t naturally gravitate toward the typical minivan.
Car manufacturers have tuned into your needs and have supplied subcompact SUVs as the answer. Take a look at the Buick Encore, Buick Envision, GMC Terrain or Mazda CX-3. These models are multifunctional – sleek enough to park in your reserved spot at the office with room for cargo and family life.
Pro tip: We know you’re busy, but it helps to do your research. Get price quotes online and get pre-approved financing from websites like ours, HGreg.com. Ensure you have accurate figures, especially when you’ll have to start budgeting for a growing family.
You no longer are the company intern. You’re hitting your career stride. You want your vehicle to reflect your ambition but without appearing overly confident. Luxury car manufacturers have introduced lower-price point models, such as the Mercedes CLA, BMW 1-series, Lexus CT 200h and Audi A3, with the goal to entice and mold you into a life-long customer.
If a designer brand doesn’t resonate with you, but you still crave a vehicle with performance and design, additional options are a Subaru WRX, Subaru BRX and the Nissan GTR.
Pro tip: Since you might be looking to upgrade your vehicle sooner than the average person, make sure to ask about trade-in value or what your car would re-sell for in the future. If you’re already thinking of selling, visit sites like Autobye.com, which is a simple platform to sell your vehicle for maximum value.
Like many of us, your social calendar is full – from brunch dates to a night out with friends. You live for interaction. To you, driving your car is a joy in and of itself. You want your vehicle to be fun and unique.
Try the Mini Cooper, Scion TC or Ford Focus. Not only do these cars serve as a conversation starter, but they have the best sound systems, allowing you to set the mood prior to arriving at your destination.
Pro tip: With your always-on-the-go schedule, ensure to enquire about models that require less maintenance and general upkeep.
The Weekend Warrior
You work and play hard. As soon as the weekend hits, you want to jump into your car for the next adventure. And if you are among the 60% of Millennials who are single, you’re free for impromptu weekend getaways at a moment’s notice.
A Jeep Renegade, Jeep Trailhawk, Jeep Cherokee or a Ford F-Series pickup may be just the ride for you. They can handle any terrain and give plenty of room – whether it’s to store gear or provide legroom for your crew.
Pro tip: Look for cars that have low mileage based on its year. On average, people drive their cars 12,000 to 15,000 miles (19,200 to 24,000 km) annually. Do quick calculations to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
While the above advice may help, above all, do your research and test drive vehicles of interest.
Many dealerships offer refund and exchange policies, in case you’re not completely satisfied with your purchase. Ask about them.
Harry Kasparian is the Millennial vice president of marketing and communications at HGreg.com, which is part of HGregoire, a network of more than 22 new and pre-owned car dealerships in North America.