The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Welcome to Heels on Wheels:
Cars for Women

Katrina Ramser

Welcome to Heels on Wheels: Cars for Women

What is Heels on Wheels?

Heels on Wheels is a car column designed for women to get the vehicle knowledge they care most about though the unbiased research of female automotive journalist, Katrina Ramser. The knowledge is a comfortable understanding obtained from the ability to see facts through vehicle and advertisement lingo in order to make a choice about a car lease or purchase. Heels on Wheels shows a female how to read between the lines of warranty, calculate or compare what she is getting for her money, and figure out how to use the car to the best of its ability – not just "her" ability. The bottom line here is for woman of any age, income and education to learn how to take the mystery out of selecting a vehicle that is right for her.

Women and men have different values in cars. In a 2007 automobile satisfaction study conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, it was discovered women valued reliability as the number one concern, followed by comfort, styling, quality, and gas mileage, all in that order of importance.

The Auto Channel conducted it's own research with women regarding concerns about buying or leasing a vehicle. The participants voiced their concerns below and helped determine the criteria for "Heels on Wheels" – this is what we use to review vehicles for her:

Heels on Wheels Vehicle Review Criteria:

Stylish But Comfortable Results:

  • A good brand to me means a car with a good reputation.
  • Image means something different for everyone, but I sense women have a strong emotional component to selecting a car brand.
  • If I'm going to have this car for 5-6 years, I'd better love how it looks.
  • I want to know that it is plush and comfortable inside with a lot of room for my kids, my dogs, or whatever.
  • The ease of use for getting my kids and a lot of stuff around is important.
  • Some cars feel so big I feel like I'm going to crash into someone.
  • Some cars are so small I can't fit myself into them, let alone a purse.
  • I need to get in and out of my car wearing a dress and I want to do to looking elegant in front of my clients.
  • A car must have room for my life – friends, clothes, school stuff, and whatever else gets thrown inside.
  • I spend a lot of my time commuting, so I need second-home qualities (heater, sunroof, cup holders, radio) and all the other small details.
  • I want to know about current car trends or why designers rethought certain vehicles.

    Reliability & Safety Factor:

  • I do want a good warranty because my family is hard on stuff.
  • When I bought my car, safety for my family was a huge concern.
  • I'd love to know which cars have the least maintenance, as going to the mechanic is a nightmare for me.
  • A good track record for running a long time is more important to me these days – when I visit the dealer I can never shake the idea I am getting screwed over.
  • As a single woman, I need to be able to trust I have chosen a good car.

    Cost Issues:

  • I want to know that it won't cost a million dollars when and if something goes wrong.
  • I usually choose the safest car that fits my price range.
  • The cost of gas is becoming more and more of an issue for my budget.
  • Where and how does selecting a new car get costly?

    Activity & Performance Ability:

  • I want to know the towing capacity for a horse trailer.
  • The 4WD components better be easy to understand, especially if I need to use them.
  • What can it do as far as driving in snow, sand, or rocky roads?

    The Green Concern:

  • I'm concerned about fuel as it affects the environment.
  • I know hybrids are better for the environment, but I need to know more if I'm truly going to consider making a hybrid purchase.

    Additionally, here are some statistics or facts about women and cars:

  • In a 2004 study, women purchase 52% of all new car purchases, up from 20% in 1984 and up 40% in 1989 (Woman Motorist, 2000; Road and Travel, 2004).
  • When it comes to a couple or family purchasing a new car, women influence the decision by 85% and display 95% of the vetoing power against a car (Woman Motorist, 2000; Road and Travel, 2004).
  • Women spend $83 billion annually on new cars (Road and Travel, 2004).
  • Women value safety (77.8%) over men (65.3%) (, 2005).
  • As of 2004, more than 68% of all women use the Internet to research product information and resources online (Road and Travel, 2004).
  • At The Auto Channel, women make up 56.1% of the readership.
  • … and the facts & statistics go on and on.

    Also, the most common recommendations for women to understand making a car purchase better are:

  • Do anonymous research over the Internet, as most women are turned off by treatment at the dealership.
  • Know what you are specifically looking for because as a female buyer, you have different issues and priorities with a vehicle.

    Sources used in this article and for the Heels on Wheels vehicle reviews:

    The Auto Channel – New Car Buyers Guide
    Bureau of Transportation Statistics
    U.S. Department of Transportation
    U.S. Department of Energy
    American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
    J.D. Power and Associates
    R.L & Polk Co. 
    U.S. Census Bureau 
    Consumer Reports
    U.S. News & World Reports

    So, are you ready to drive? Check out our many Heels on Wheels vehicle reviews found here on The Auto Channel!

    Katrina's Car Tips For Women Drivers
    Katrina's 2010 and 2009 Model Reviews For Women Drivers
    Katrina's 2008 Model Reviews For Women Drivers