Driving by Numbers – OSV Reveals How Our Age Effects Our Choice of Car


  • From colour to efficiency, the factors that influence us to purchase cars change with each decade of our lives
  • 36 is the average age to swap from small car to ‘family’ cars and MPVs.


  • Over two thirds of women make the final decision when it comes to buying the family car


The cars that we drive are often considered to be a reflection of who we are. It’s perhaps not quite so relevant when we first get our licence, when as beggars we’re rarely choosers. As we progress through life, from a trendy twenty to family-focused thirty, into middle-aged territory and beyond, our cars can become status symbols as much as a means of transportation.

According to the study from the UK’s leading independent vehicle supply professional, OSV the top influencing factors vary when we purchase cars during the different stages of our lives.

The research also revealed that for car shoppers in their twenties it seems that there are three key priorities. The first is a purely practical matter of price but from there the influencers are a little less sensible, with colour and speed ruling the heart rather than the head. For most, the Renault, Citroen, or Peugeot will be the car that drives them through their early twenties, before increased earnings allow them to advance into Audi, BMW, and VW terrain.

Once kids come along, which these days is most likely to be in the thirties age bracket the level-headed decision-maker comes into play and aesthetics are forgotten, with the top three, non-negotiable deal breakers being as follows:

  • Efficiency
  • Number of seats
  • Insurance bracket

36 was cited  average age at which we swap from small car to ‘family’ cars and MPVs and and It’s at this stage that the majority (67%) of family car buying decisions are made by women, who apparently favour Ford, Vauxhall and Range Rover vehicles for ferrying their families around.

When it comes to the weekends, women are more likely to take their business car for a spin, leaving their other halves to drive the family car.  

As we approach our forties we retain many of the same criteria for car buying – after all, most of us still have growing families to consider, but while cost and efficiency are still priorities, it’s now that the ‘image’ the car brand gives off starts to become a significant factor, leading us to proclaim, ‘oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz… BMW, or Lexus!’

And from there, the next step is a regression to our twenties mind-set – who cares if we’re accused of having a mid-life crisis? If we can afford it, we’ll plump for a convertible, or Mercedes, prioritising how much fun it is to drive and even the colours it’s available in over any practical considerations.

OSV joint-company Director, Debbie Kirkley, comments: ‘The results of this research have really rather amused us, as they seem to completely support the driving stereotypes. In my view, it’s drivers in their sixties who have the best idea – their primary concerns are the size of the car and how easy it is to drive. And honestly, what’s more important than being able to drive safely, easily and comfortably?

‘It’s really interesting to gather people’s views though, and work out what makes them tick. It seems that cars really aren’t just a means of getting from A to B, but more of a lifestyle accessory that many people are prepared to admit!’

Rachel Richardson
  • 11th July 2016

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