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What Type of Driver Are You?
Enthusiast drivers love to drive. If you're like me and a beautiful sunny day (like today in Boston) makes you say, "I just have to do some driving today!" then you're an enthusiast.
Enthusiasts tend to drive sports cars, sports coupes, sports sedans, roadsters, and muscle cars -- anything that's built primarily for fun rather than practicality.
Enthusiasts have plenty of internal debates -- American cars vs European cars vs Japanese cars, roadsters vs muscle cars, sports sedans vs sport compacts, RWD vs AWD, front-engine vs mid-engine, high-end power vs low-end torque, et cetera. But the one thing all enthusiasts agree upon is that there's (almost) nothing better than taking a sports car through the twisties on a beautiful day, with the stereo up and your right foot down.
Above all, enthusiasts are focused on the act of driving itself, because it's fun. But enthusiasts are definitely in the minority in the general population...
Frustrated Enthusiast Drivers
Frustrated enthusiasts are enthusiasts who, for one reason or another, are no longer able to drive fun cars on fun roads on a regular basis.
The most common cause of this malady is having children and having to trade in two-seaters in for minivans, SUVs, or boring family cars. Another common cause is the need to commute daily in rush hour traffic.
Frustrated enthusiasts look wistfully at the roadsters zipping by as they make sure their child seats are firmly attached.
Occasionally, a frustrated enthusiast will "snap" and buy a sports car on impulse, when their spouse is expecting them to return with a new minivan. This can lead to expensive counseling bills.
Practical drivers don't have a strong emotional reaction to driving, either positive or negative. They just want a reliable, economical, safe way of getting from point A to point B.
Practical drivers are responsible for making cars like the Accord, Camry, and Taurus best sellers. They can't see spending extra money for either high performance or a prestige brand.
Some practical drivers are very careful, attentive, and safety conscious. Others like to talk on cell phones while they're washing down bagels with their morning coffee (and also, incidentally, driving to work).
Prestige drivers care less about the experience of driving than the experience of being seen driving a high-status car. Owning a car from a premium marque is of the highest priority, and owning a superior model than most other drivers of the marque is a bonus.
Unlike the enthusiast driver, who may choose a BMW or a Porsche for its fun factor, the prestige driver cares more about the fact that they're driving a BMW or a Porsche -- or a Mercedes, Lexus, or Infiniti.
Prestige drivers tend to be the most demanding in terms of the exterior and interior appearance and upkeep of their vehicles. (Enthusiasts come a close second, but tend to place at least as much priority on their cars' mechanical upkeep.)
Reluctant drivers would rather not be driving at all. For some, it's an environmental or political issue. Others just find the experience of driving stressful and unpleasant. Some are actively scared of the other drivers on the road.
For the reluctant driver, the ideal is to get rid of their car entirely, and the next best thing is to drive as little as possible, preferring to walk, bike, or take mass transit whenever possible.
Reluctant drivers tend to drive Priuses, Insights, and used Volvos.
Which type of driver are you? Do you fall into one of these categories, or is there another category I've left out?