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Canadians a racy, image-conscious bunch (Sort of. Not really. Sorry)

Survey of automobile preferences and driving behaviours yields some surprising results

  • Kijiji

We may think of ourselves as a nation of modest and practical people, but we go for style over substance when choosing our cars, according to a Kijiji survey.

Yet despite ranking among world’s greatest automotive image and performance seekers, we’re still pretty conservative when it comes to colour preference, driving behaviour and the level of exoticism we’re comfortable with.

“We see ourselves as being more interested in the practical and safety elements of vehicles, so I was surprised to see that we stuck out as being more image or prestige conscious in the survey,” said Scott Neil, head of Kijiji Autos.

Canadians are more likely to pick luxury over exotic — Lexus rather than Lamborghini — when naming a “dream car,” the survey found.

“It is interesting that when we think of a dream car, we dream fairly practically or realistically,” Neil said.

The online survey conducted by Redshift Research polled 10,054 drivers, about 1,000 each in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and the UK, the countries where Kijiji has a major presence.

While the survey polled respondents ranging in age from late teens to seniors, the largest segment, about 75 per cent, was between 35 and 65.

The findings list driver preference in various categories based on habits and opinions. Here’s how we rated ourselves:

  • Image (27 per cent) ranks the highest for Canadians when it came to brand, design and styling, compared to the 23 per cent global average.
  • Reliability/Efficiency (22 per cent) is our second most important consideration, the same as drivers in the other countries surveyed.
  • Performance (17 per cent), involving handling and power was also rated at 17 per cent globally.
  • Necessity (19 per cent) of having a set of wheels is a more important factor for Canadians than the rest of the world, which rates it at 17 per cent.
  • Risk Taking (five per cent) — those who are more likely to park carelessly, speed and drink and drive — are more commonly found beyond our borders, where the global average is 11 per cent.
  • Cautious Driving (five per cent) having fewer accidents and doing less damage to their vehicles cruise Canadian roads, compared to the global average at four per cent.
  • Accidents (five per cent). Canadian drivers surveyed felt pretty safe on our roads but the average for the rest of the nations ranks at six per cent. While 17 per cent of us claimed to have had a minor accident over the last year, the global fender bender figure is 21 per cent.
  • Colours Even though the survey indicated we opt for style over substance in our cars, Canadians polled said they were more likely to choose classic, neutral colours over bright and bold ones, with silver being the most popular at 18 per cent, basic blue and black at 15 and grey at 14. Just 11 per cent said they would choose a racy red auto.

In other findings, nine out of 10 surveyed said they were aware new cars depreciated greatly in value as soon as they were driven off the lot and this was reflected in the fact that five out of six Canadians have owned used cars.

One in five said they would purchase a used car over new in order to get their “dream” car, which was more likely to be a BMW, Mercedes, or Lexus than a Lambo, Ferrari or Rolls Royce.

Neil said about 250,000 vehicles are listed for sale on Kijiji at any given time, with more than 4,500 car dealers listing their used vehicles.

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