There’s little doubt that having a car will give any man a significant dating advantage. Science has proven time and again what car salesmen have been telling us for decades: women associate vehicles with power and status – two strong subliminal signals that they heed when choosing potential partners. The nicer your ride, the more likely you are to succeed in the dating circuits – a fact that’s particularly more pronounced in the Philippine setting than in more industrialized countries.
In a day and age when anyone with a decent job can get a car loan and drive home a car, though, things may not be so simple. Attractive young women these days are more likely than ever to have multiple suitors who drive nice cars. In a scenario like that, simply owning a vehicle doesn’t give you a decisive advantage. You’ll have to tap into any possible edge you can think of in order to stand out.
Fortunately, psychology teaches us that there are several things about cars that help them make better impressions on the ladies. Generating subtle visual appeal, improving overall passenger experience and promoting an atmosphere of comfort are all positive vehicle attributes that women often associate with the men driving them. Here are nine of the most important:
1. Stylish Wheels
Let’s get our Filipino terminologies straightened out before we proceed: a car’s wheels are what we Filipinos colloquially refer to as mags – the circular alloy parts with spokes connected to the axles. The tires, on the other hand, are what we refer to as gulong, which are the rubber parts covering the edges of the wheels. A lot of folks think of the two as one thing when wheels are mentioned, but they’re actually two different parts.
Of all the things visible on your car from the outside, the wheels are probably the most important. They’re the easiest to change and they have arguably the greatest impact on your car’s aesthetics. They’re also the safest things to customize as you can revert back to your stock wheels anytime as long as you didn’t sell them or trade them in.
Custom wheels with more than five spokes don’t come standard with most vehicle models. When you change to them, expect to spend a pretty penny. However, the upgrade in your car’s looks is instant and impossible not to notice. Whether a car is moving fast or is slowing down, stylish wheels are guaranteed to catch the eyes of women and men alike.
Chrome wheels with lots of spokes convey mental messages of elegance and sophistication. For a sportier and more rugged appeal, you can choose black wheels with aggressive patterns. As long as you can match the right wheels with your car model and your own personality, you’ll make an even stronger impression on a lady as you approach her for a pick up to an evening date.
2. Air Freshener
Unless your car is just a couple of weeks old and still smelling of formaldehyde (yeah, that’s the chemical responsible for the “new car smell”), you’ll want to keep the air quality inside your car at good levels especially if you’re taking a lady for a ride. Air fresheners mask odors and keep your car smelling like a million bucks, promoting comfort and relaxation while she sits in it.
When choosing the right air freshener, there’s no need to go overboard with something that has an overpowering, artificial scent. That means you’ll want to avoid the Pines fresheners that your uncle used to have in his Tamaraw FX back in the day. Instead, go with something that smells nice in a more subtle way. Better yet, try the new-fangled organic air fresheners for a more natural atmosphere within your ride’s confines.
Popular and safe scents include ocean breeze, citrus, candy and several others. We personally recommend ocean breeze in man-owned vehicles just because citrus and candy are often used by the ladies. Ocean breeze just smells more masculine overall, which represents you more accurately.
3. Ambient Lighting
Ambient lighting is defined as the soft illumination scheme in a car’s interior, often done with LED lights. It’s usually noticeable in the car’s center console and door handles, but some models also have it throughout the dashboard and even the ceiling’s edges.
Originally added to newer car models for purely aesthetic reasons, ambient lighting is now considered a major feature that promotes feelings of safety and luxury. Both drivers and passengers tend to have the feeling that a car is more expensive than it actually is when this nice, new feature is experienced. Even if ambient lighting does absolutely nothing for you in the event of an accident, the human mind associates the subtle illumination scheme with the vehicle’s perceived sturdiness overall.
The bad news? That feeling of luxury may be well-justified as most of the cars that have it are indeed from luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW. Ford and other non-luxury manufacturers are starting to add it in spots, but the luxury brands offer the full shebang, complete with the ability to change ambient color schemes to 64 different settings.
The good news is that even if your car doesn’t have ambient lighting out of the box, you can always install third-party LED lights that you can order straight from Ali Express and Lazada. It’ll take a little bit of work to install, but it’ll be worth the trouble when you capture the right look.
Ambient lighting really shines (pun not intended) in evening drives as it’s immediately noticeable from the moment anyone steps into your vehicle. It just makes the experience so much more personalized and sophisticated, making a girl’s ride in your vehicle that much more unforgettable.
4. Climate Control
Comfort is easily the most important element of your time with a lady in a car. While cozy seats are cool and ample space is a no-brainer, it’s the temperature in your car’s confines that will largely define your passenger’s overall comfort level. Given the warm weather, pollution and humidity in the Philippines, having a good air conditioning system in your vehicle is non-negotiable.
Fortunately, most modern vehicles sold in the Philippines have cool and reliable AC systems. Unfortunately, this has long become a true advantage since every one of your rivals is bound to have it. If you really want to separate yourself from the rest of the pack, you’ll have to bring something better to the table.
Climate control is exactly that kind of AC system evolutionary improvement. In a nutshell, it’s a feature that regulates the flow of air in your vehicle so you can maintain the optimum temperature inside the cabin. This eliminates the need to keep turning AC knobs as you try to find the sweet spot between a your car’s air being too hot and too cold. Your vehicle’s sensors keep constant watch over the internal temperature and adjust the flow of cold air as needed.
This feature is commonly found in a vehicle model’s mid-level to top-of-the-line trims while entry-level variants tend to have the analog control and thermostat-driven AC systems. With climate control, you don’t have to say a word in order to demonstrate your ride’s superiority. The comfort in the vehicle will tell your passenger all she needs to know.
5. Light-Colored Upholstery
Black is the most common color of seats, seat covers and upholstery in vehicles these days. If you want to make an immediate impression, consider bringing a car with lighter-colored upholstery when picking up a girl. Whether it’s cream, off-white or brown, any interior color motif that’s not black is sure to catch a lady’s attention.
Lighter colors generally feel more luxurious. They also make the car’s cabin seem more spacious and airy. Even if the girl doesn’t associate these qualities with the color scheme of your car’s cabin, just being different from the rest makes you and your car hard to forget.
The only drawback is that lighter-colored upholstery generally comes at a steep price. It’s usually the top-of-the-line trims of sedans and SUVs that have this. In some cases, even luxury brand cars such as Jaguar and Volvo don’t come standard with light-hued interiors.
6. A High-Tech Infotainment System
By now, most city dwellers are familiar with Waze and GPS devices. They’re also more familiar with safety devices such as dashcams. What a lot of people don’t see every day are high-tech infotainment systems centered around large touchscreen panels in the dashboard that control everything from temperature settings to maps and even the music.
This built-in feature is usually available on mid-level to top-level trims of vehicle makes. Even if your passenger won’t be using it, you can be 100% sure that she’ll at least check it out and see what it does. If it looks high-tech and smart in any way at all, you stand a good chance of making an impression.
Another infotainment feature is the ability to sync your vehicle’s digital interface with your smartphone using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Essentially, your car’s LCD display will change into your smartphone’s specialized interface for vehicles. This mode gives you access to your phone’s maps, digital car controls, voice commands and more. It also allows you to send messages and take calls hands-free.
Having a good infotainment system, thankfully, doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Ford, Honda, Mazda and most other car makers have been continuously improving the tech features in their cars. These days, most vehicle mid-level and top-level trims have good infotainment platforms running.
7. Adaptive Cruise Control
Self-driving cars may be the future, but we’re not quite there yet. As we wait for the technology to mature, car makers are busy adding semi-automated driving features in vehicles currently sold in the country.
One such feature is adaptive cruise control. Basically, this feature allows your vehicle to self-drive for you in a variety of scenarios. All you need to do is set the speed you want the vehicle to run at, the distance you want it to maintain between it and the car ahead, and let it take over. Your vehicle will then use a combination of camera-based data, radar and even lasers to become aware of everything in its lane, allowing it to accelerate, slow down and brake as needed.
This feature is particularly handy in long drives on roads like NLEX. Even in high-traffic situations like the one we get daily in EDSA, a car with adaptive cruise control takes the stress off of stop-and-go driving. Showing a girl how this works may make her feel nervous when she sees you let go of the steering wheel for the first time. As she starts to see how reliable it is, the nerves will start to calm and the anxiety will likely be replaced by a sense of awe.
Many mid-level to top-level cars now have this feature. In luxury vehicles such as Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz, semi-autonomous driving can even park the car for you, switch lanes and if necessary, put the vehicle to a full stop if it foresees an imminent collision.
8. A Responsible Driver
The most impressive thing in your car doesn’t come with it off the dealership but will be a permanent fixture in the driver’s seat: you. Your behavior in the vehicle is still the biggest determinant of a lady’s comfort as she sits in it. Driving in a relaxed, defensive manner is likely to convey signals of discipline, confidence and inner strength while driving aggressively tells her implicitly that you’re not quite a gentleman and that you may be unsafe to hang around with.
For best results, don’t view your time with a lady in the car as an opportunity to show off your drag racing skills. It also shouldn’t be a showcase of how many times you can slither from lane to lane in EDSA during rush hour. Instead, focus on giving your lady friend a ride that shows her she’s safe while she’s with you and that you’re considerate to others whom you share the road with.
Keep in mind that your personality is still your biggest asset when it comes to dating success. Like good physical looks, a car will get you noticed but isn’t the be-all and end-all of success with the ladies. At the end of the day, you probably don’t want to keep a woman who falls in love with you solely based on what car you drive. Cars are good enablers but personalities that click together are still at the core of good relationships.