MEASURING THE differences between men and women is, at best, an inexact science. Some make interplanetary comparisons. But Mars (men) and Venus (women) are only 100 million miles apart - give or take a cold shoulder - and that's far too short a distance. Better to explore that quintessentially American social laboratory known as ... the parking lot.
As any good automaker knows - and probably General Motors, too - car tastes vary. But that's putting it kindly. A recent survey performed for NOP World, an international marketing research firm, shows just how different they are. The highest-rated car among men? To no one's surprise, it's a Porsche 911. Other top-10 winners among men: the Maserati Spyder, the Mercedes CL and the BMW 6 Series. In other words, men like their cars fast, hot and into the six-figures.
Women, on the other hand, didn't go for any model of Porsche or Mercedes. Their top-10 list reads like notes from a Suze Orman lecture on household budgeting. It includes the Suzuki Forenza, the Pontiac Sunfire and the Kia Rio sedan. That's right, somebody dreams of a Kia. Show up at a dealership looking for any of the above and expect change back from your $20,000.
Men may diss women for being so parsimonious. Women can chide the men for overcompensating. (Incidentally, the same survey found most men expect to pay $18,800 for a car - so good luck with those Maserati negotiations.) Ultimately, what the survey reveals is the sound philosophy behind the two-car garage. There's always room for a safe, clean, efficient car next to whatever the guy is driving.