Revving Up for Romance? Owning a Car is Key, Study Says

Valentine's Day
Revving Up Romance – Valentine's Day Infographic

Toronto, ON – Canadians looking to impress on their next romantic date might want to stay clear of on-demand car services, taxis or even public transit, according to the findings of a recent survey that explores the role of the automobile in modern-day dating. In fact, a whopping 92 percent of Canadians say they find it appealing when their date shows up with their own ride. And don’t even think about “borrowing the car” for the occasion – close to half of the population surveyed (48 percent) reported that they would find a borrowed vehicle unattractive or “embarrassing beyond words.”

While expectations around car ownership are high, there’s a clear shift away from traditional dating customs and ride-related rituals once thought to embody good manners and chivalrous behaviour – particularly among the younger generation of Canadian singletons navigating the modern-day dating scene. Although it’s appealing to 95 percent of Canadians aged 18–34 that their date have their own vehicle, they’re also the age group who most indicated that they would prefer a text message, over their date coming to the front door, to announce their arrival.

“People, regardless of their age, tend to equate certain ideals with certain possessions – owning a car symbolizes freedom, success and reliability, all qualities that look good to the opposite sex when one is on a date,” says renowned sexologist Dr. Jess O’Reilly, PhD. “However, in today’s age of mobile dating and quick swipe culture, a space that’s dominated by a younger generation of ‘single and looking’, there’s not a lot of time placed on those once-revered, traditional notions of chivalry.”

It seems for the millennial set, chivalry truly has taken a back seat. While half of the survey respondents 55 years and older indicated that their date opening the car door for them was a “classy act” earning “definite bonus points”, only 31 percent of millennials agreed. In fact, millennials were the group most likely to perceive a car door being opened for them as “cheesy”. Similarly, when it comes to car cleanliness, millennials were the group least concerned with how tidy their date’s vehicle was, as nearly one-third indicated it was “not very important” or “not an issue”.

“There are obvious discrepancies between generations in terms of how we date and what we consider important dating etiquette and behaviour,” says Dr. O’Reilly. “It will be interesting to see how this shift evolves the future of dating and whether these classically accepted customs, such as arriving on time, holding the car door open for your date or getting out of the car to pick them up at their front door, will eventually disappear altogether with the next generation.”

One area where generations share the same sentiment pointing towards good etiquette and behaviour is safe driving. Eighty-three percent of Canadians stated that there would be “no chance”, or a second date would be less likely if their date drove in an erratic, aggressive or unsafe manner. Thankfully, there is still an emphasis placed on responsible driving and ensuring safety for your date, and Canadians of all ages, including millennials (79 percent) and those 35 years and older (85 percent), can agree that this is an important factor when it comes to dating.

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Other highlights from the survey include

Style and comfort wins over bulk or flash

2017 Ford Shelby GT350R in Ruby Red Metallic

When it comes to being picked up for a first date, 39 percent of Canadians ranked a coupe/sedan as the number-one type of vehicle they would like their date to arrive in, followed by an SUV (27 percent) and a convertible (20 percent).

Leave your hog, hatchback or hemi at home

Ducati 1299 Superleggera
The least popular categories of automobiles for a first date are pick-up trucks (8%), hatchbacks (4%), and finally motorcycles (3%).

Young, but not impressionable

GM's Let's Drive NYC
More than two-thirds (69 percent) of all Canadians would prefer their date announce their arrival by coming to the door to greet them. Canadians aged 35–54 (71 percent) and 55+ (83 percent) are significantly more likely than millennials (50 percent) to prefer this when being picked up on a date.

Clean up your act, ladies and gents

Detail Therapy
Seventy-nine percent of Canadians say vehicle cleanliness is important when entering a date’s car for the first time. Women (81 percent) are more likely than men (75 percent) to say their date’s vehicle cleanliness is important.

Skip this step if you’re in Quebec

2015 Audi A3
Ontarians (83 percent), Albertans (82 percent), British Columbians (81 percent), and Atlantic Canadians (81 percent) are the most likely to find their date’s vehicle cleanliness to be important, while Quebecers (68 percent) are the least likely.

Honk if you hate second dates

Well at least inside it does. If there’s one complaint about the new A4 it’s that its gasoline engines aren’t very musical. Thankfully, being so quiet, the 19-speaker, 770-watt Bang & Olufsen 3-D sound system is capable of playing whatever music you want very loudly and clearly.
A mere one percent of Canadians indicated that they’d prefer their date honk their car horn to announce their arrival.

Opening the door leads to more

Nobody really knows the first car ever to be fitted with a door, but assuming it happened around the turn of the 20th century, there’s been a whole whack of variations on the basically simple premise of a hinged portal. Here are few of the more unusual ones.
Opening the car door for your date was appreciated or viewed as chivalrous by 83 percent of males and 87 percent of females.

Men less bothered by unsafe driving

Ken Block Gymkhana 8
Twenty-two percent say it doesn’t matter, compared to only eight percent of women. Conversely, women (40 percent) are twice as likely as men (18 percent) to say there would be no chance of another date if their date was driving dangerously.

Please avoid these four things

Model Car in Bed of Marijuana
Drinking alcohol or using drugs is cited by three-quarters (74 percent) of Canadians as being the worst activity their date could do while driving, followed by texting (12 percent), road rage (11 percent), and talking about an ex (4 percent).

“It’s too easy to say that we are what we drive – or in this case, we are how we drive. Vehicles play an integral role in our everyday routine, but their place in the lives of Canadians on the dating scene is quite telling,” says Jacob Black, senior editor, “If people want their dates to arrive in their own car, drivers should also want to take care of their date and show them consideration, sophistication and class.”

The online survey was conducted in late January 2017 among Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error – which measures sampling variability – is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.