Let’s be honest. A lot of personal judgments are made about people based on the car they drive. To be honest, you can tell a lot about someone from their ride. You can usually figure out their socioeconomic status, whether they have children, if they care about the environment, or if they are a bit thrifty. It’s not surprising that a quick glance at someone’s car causes you to make snap judgments about the person driving it. Here are 15 things your choice of car says about you.

You Just Graduated From College

With some rare exceptions, most students drive a certain type of cars. By that, we mean old cars. It’s usually a second-hand car that was passed down to them from their parents or grandparents. It’s likely a car that is already paid off and has a certain amount of wear and tear on it. Maybe some rust too.

We’re talking about a 1999 Toyota Corolla, a 2004 Dodge Neon, or a 2003 Ford Fiesta. A small sedan that’s over a decade old. If you have bumper stickers of a favorite band or your alma mater on the back of the car, it’s a dead giveaway. If you add a missing hub cap or two, you’ll be spotted as a recent graduate from a mile away.

You Didn’t Go to College

Are you a young guy driving a large new pick-up truck? Got your baseball hat pulled down tight over your eyes and hanging your elbow out the driver’s side window? Chances are, most people you pass on the street assume you spent your tuition money on that truck. Maybe you just decided to skip college in favor of a blue collar job. This might sound a little harsh, but nothing says “blue collar” as loudly as a pick-up truck. A lot of snap judgments are made about young people who drive them. But why should you care? You’re driving an awesome new truck around town.

You’re An Old Hippie

Are you riding around in an old Volvo station wagon? How about a 1960s Volkswagen Beetle? Worse, a 1960s Volkswagen van? If yes, then you are advertising to the world that you are an old hippie. These are the vehicles of choice for the flower power generation. There’s no better way to announce that you were at the original Woodstock than to drive around in an old, long Volvo wagon or a dilapidated VW van, complete with side curtains.

Many people get stuck in a time warp and continue to live in the time in their life when they were most current, hip, and relevant. Unfortunately, their fashion sense (and car choice) have long since become outdated and obsolete. This seems to be particularly true for people who came of age during the 1960s and loved that particular decade.

You’re Socially Conscious (and Have Money)

You don’t have to do anything more to let people know you care about the environment than roll up to a stop light in a Toyota Prius, Chevy Bolt, or Tesla. Anyone who is socially conscious, but sees cars as a necessary evil, probably drives a hybrid gas/electric cars. There is a growing number of options, too.

Even if you don’t drive a fully electric car, there’s a good chance you get around in an ultra-small hybrid cars such as those made by Smart. If you drive one of these, you’re also advertising that you have some money in their wallet, to go along with your big heart. Hybrid and electric cars still come at a costly premium. But, hey, can you really put a price on saving the planet?

You’re Obnoxious (and Have Money)

When you see a Hummer cruising down the road, don’t you always wonder who drives it? Don’t you always assume they’re an obnoxious egomaniac, overcompensating for their insecurities with an oversized gas guzzler? After all, who really needs a car as large as a Hummer?

Sure, you assume they have money. Hummer’s aren’t cheap. You also assume they’re a jerk, right? Nothing quite screams “obnoxious” like a Hummer. Or any other large truck with a lift kit or oversized wheels. Add an ear splitting exhaust sound and the nightmare is complete. You’re officially scaring old people and small children. We see you taking up two (or more) parking spots at the local Wal-Mart. And yes, we assume — rightly or wrongly — that you’re a jerk.

You’re the Boss

If you drive a BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus or Porsche, then you can bet that people will assume you’re running the show at work. These are high-end luxury vehicles that are stylish, tastefully appointed, and showcase that the person in the driver’s seat has attained a certain elevated position in their career.

These are the type of vehicles you see glistening in the driveways of large homes situated on estate lots and acreage in upscale neighborhoods. Or filing out of the parking lots at private schools. To drive one of these cars is to let people know that you are the person in charge. You’ve worked hard — hard enough to afford a super nice, fully-loaded foreign-made luxury car.

You Want to Be the Boss

If you drive an Acura, Audi, or Volvo, you’re not quite the boss — yet. Instead, you’re letting the world know that you’re doing very well for yourself, and hope to be the boss yourself someday soon. These are decent, high-end cars that just aren’t quite at the top end of the luxury car market. However, they are still nice enough to let the neighbors know that you got a decent bonus last quarter.

These are the cars driven by upper management, just one rung below the boss. You know, the type of cars that we all respect when we see them but don’t really force us to take a second look. Nevertheless, driving a new Volvo V60 or an Audi A5 lets the world know you’re on your way.

You’re Self-Employed

Nothing tells the world you’re self-employed quite like a vehicle that’s painted with your name and phone number all over it. The purview of real estate agents, home renovators and design consultants, these are the pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles that read “Blinds by Blanche” or “Tony’s Bathrooms and Kitchens” on the side, along with a phone number and website address. Traveling billboards, as they are often called. Driving one of these professionally painted vehicles not only lets people know you work for yourself, but also that you have very little pride or personal taste. There are better ways to market your services.

You Still Live With Your Parents

If you’re older than 24 and still driving a souped-up compact car like a Honda or Subaru, one that has extra-large tires, custom rims, a mega suspension, banging sound system, tinted windows, and wicked loud muffler, there’s a stereotype for you too. Trust us when we say that everybody you pass assumes that you spend all your money on your car. And you can only afford that because you still live at home with Mommy and Daddy. You’re the person who spends all weekend working on your car in the driveway, while Dad mows the lawn and Mom sticks her head out the front door to ask if anyone needs a drink. Don’t be this person.

You’ve Settled Down

Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, or the Volkswagen Jetta. Nothing says “I’m hunkered down paying off my mortgage while watching Netflix” quite like these models. They are safe, practical, reliable and affordable. You drive one of these if you’re cost conscious and not all that interested in cars. They are standard commuter cars.

The Corolla, Civic, and Jetta are what you drive if you simply need to commute into work ever day. On the weekend, they can be found clogging up the parking lot at Costco or Home Depot. Or parked alongside a running trail at a neighborhood park. If you’re driving one of these cars, you’re telegraphing that you’re in full nesting mode.

Your Kids Are Your Priority

This one is reserved for the Dodge Grand Caravan. This is the most cost efficient and practical minivan if you have a growing family. In fact, we’re pretty sure that you can’t legally buy a Grand Caravan unless you can provide proof that you have at least two kids under the age of 13. We’re kidding, of course. Or are we?

Rolling around town in this minivan lets everyone know that you’re a parent and that your kids are your top priority. The Caravan is a safe choice for practical parents on a budget. It also says that you could care less whether you look cool or not. Cruising around in a minivan is decidedly NOT cool. However, it has plenty of room for your whole family and all their gear. That’s the important thing. So whether you’re taxiing from hockey practice to dance recitals, or packing up everyone for a day at the beach, the Grand Caravan does the job exceptionally well. There’s a reason why it’s constantly the bestselling minivan in North America.

You Want to Be a Super Parent

This bring us to the higher-end minivans — the Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey. These are the minivans of choice among tiger moms, helicopter dads, and parents who are constantly pushing their kids to outperform everyone else. You know, the parents who are featured on shows like Dance Moms. The dads who are always their kid’s baseball coach.

A step up from the Grand Caravan, both in terms of price and features, these so-called “luxury minivans” are a subtle boast to the other families at Little League. Not only do you have the financial means to spend $40,000 on a minivan, but your little All-Stars need to ride around in nothing but the best people mover. We get it —  you’re a super parent.

You’re Super Cheap

Are you driving a car that is more than 12-years-old? Do you pride yourself on not wasting any extra money on your vehicle? Is the rust that’s eating through your trunk a source of pride? Did you tape the muffler back on yourself? If yes, congratulations. You’re showing the entire world that you’re a cheapskate.

You’re also letting people know you could care less how your 1994 Volkswagen Passat or 1998 Subaru Forester looks. It still runs, so you’d rather die than spend a penny on a new ride. But take heart. Maybe observant passerbys will just assume that you’re driving that ancient car to protect your growing nest egg. After all, it’s hard to retire if you’re always driving a brand new BMW. Your kids might assume they have a large inheritance coming to them one day. Or maybe, you’re just super frugal.

You’re a Senior Citizen

They’ve come a long way from the 1970s and 80s, but if you’re driving a modern day Lincoln Continental or Buick Lucerne, well, we have bad news. We’re sorry, but you’re still driving an “old man car.” Ditto for the Chevy Impala, Cadillac STS, and anything with the Pontiac logo on it. Nothing screams “I’m collecting social security” quite like one of these rides.

While they’re smaller than the “boats” of the past, these models are still full-sized cars that are favored by the late afternoon buffet crowd. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone under 65 driving any of these cars. They’re practically built for people who are moving into their twilight years. Anyone who sees a Lincoln Town Car pass by automatically assumes the driver has grey hair. Or no hair at all for that matter.

You’ve Officially Given Up

For people who no longer care (and don’t care who knows it), we suggest driving a second-hand Nissan Versa, Chevy Sonic, or Toyota Yaris. Second-hand with a bit of a beat up body would be preferable. These vehicles let everyone know that your only concern is living long enough to get from point A to point B. Nothing else really matters.

It’s not that these vehicles are particularly junky or bad. They are perfectly fine. It’s just that they are completely lacking in style, substance, performance, or other worthwhile traits. But hey, they’re usually pretty cheap!

These models say “I don’t care what you think of my ride.” Maybe that’s a good thing, when too many of us negatively compare our lives to those who have more. When a vehicle is only a tool for transport and not a “toy,” you’ll find yourself driving a Nissan Versa. Hopefully the hatchback version, at least. You’ll take whatever’s on the lot for the cheapest price. Future repairs be damned. Good luck, traveler. Good luck.


This article was worked on by a variety of people from the Autoversed team, including freelancers, editors, and/or other full-time employees.