Wisdom > Spoiler

Caroscope (or what the car you drive says about you)

Stereotypical public perceptions based solely on vehicle types

Let’s face it: We live in a judgmental world where people size us up all the time. And more often than not, said evaluation has absolutely nothing to do with our character, but is based entirely on things we possess. From our smartphone to our college degree, we are constantly being appraised by our relatives, our colleagues, our friends—even by total strangers. Here, I’ve compiled common impressions we make on others just with the car we drive. Now, before you bash this piece, know that I’m not saying these impressions are accurate. I’m saying these are the ideas observers usually form in their heads when they see our vehicles. So relax. This is just for fun.

Mini hatchback: You’re practical. You don’t care about what people have to say about your Eon or Wigo. You just want to get from A to B without any fuss. You’re either a student who had no say in the purchase of the car, or a first-time car owner who has to live within his means.

Subcompact sedan: You don’t mind that your Vios is exactly the same as what half of your city’s population own and drive. You’re carefree. You’re either a med rep or a call center agent. Or an Uber driver.

Compact sedan: You’re upwardly mobile. You earn significantly more than when you were first starting out in your career. The self-effacing vibe of your Sylphy or Forte reflects your quiet and serious nature. While your friends party on an almost nightly basis, you just focus on your job and how to get that next promotion. You could also just be a creep.

Executive sedan: If you’re 40 years old and above, you’re likely a corporate executive or an entrepreneur. If you’re aged 18 to 25, you probably just borrowed your father’s car. If you’re in the middle, you’re an overachieving office dude who wants to be taken seriously by his business associates. Your Accord or Camry lets others know you’re mature beyond your years, and that you don’t brag about your fancy food and glamorous destinations on social media.

Pickup truck: You desperately wanted to rock six-pack abs, but rice and beer wouldn’t let you. So you bought a pickup instead. Either you’re really a tough guy or you just want people to think you are. You could also be a hard worker who’s everyone’s handyman, or a bumbling nerd who hides inside his Ranger’s utilitarian shell. Whatever…at least you don’t wear super-skinny pants.

MPV or van: You’re a devoted family man. That’s the only explanation for your APV or Avanza. Unless you’re the delivery guy in your office.

Small crossover: You’re sporty. You’re outgoing. You like adventure. You hike and bike. You’re down for anything. So you and your CX-3 are always late for work from the previous night’s carousing or the past weekend’s mountaineering. Which could get you fired. Which in turn could get your go-anywhere ride repossessed by the bank.

Midsize SUV: You’re an early adopter. You desire the latest gadgets. You want the most popular things everybody has. And you appreciate the tall ride height of the Montero Sport—the better for your neighbors to see that you drive the ‘in’ car these days. Which you’ll flip as soon as a more stylish rival arrives.

Large or luxury SUV: You could be a politician or a police general or a drug lord or quite possibly all three. Your X5 or Land Cruiser lets you get away with most anything on the road. Including having your driver block half the street as he waits for you to finish your wheeling and dealing.

Luxury sedan: You’re loaded, obviously. And you’re too classy to scream your affluence, so you’re content to roll in an elegant E-Class instead of a fuck-all-of-you-I’m-swimming-in-cash Vanquish. Either that or you just don’t want to attract too much attention when you pick up your mistress (or boy toy).

Sports car: You’re a true car guy who knows his wheels. Or a world-class player who likes the only other useful seat in his BRZ or MX-5 to be occupied by a gorgeous date. Or just one lucky bastard who managed to convince the wife that sports cars are “good for the health.”

Supercar: Okay. You’re definitely somebody. One, you could be the owner of the distributor that imports and sells the ultra-expensive automobile you just parked for all to see. Two, you could be a self-made businessman who’s dying to flaunt his success. Three, you could be a genuine petrolhead who just happens to have a boatload of money. Or, four, you could be a motoring journalist who strategically scheduled a test drive of the 488 GTB in time for his high school reunion.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist for 26 years. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.