What is it about a car that makes it a ‘chick’ car instead of just a car like any other? It can be a whole range of things that make a ride something that the dude-iest of dudes wouldn’t be caught dead in. Maybe it’s the size of the car (even though we all know that it’s what you do with it that counts!), or maybe, it’s just the overall design. Safety ratings, cute rounded designs, a lack of real oomph under the hood, or even something as obvious as a flower vase that comes as standard—they all come together to create a car that's seen as too feminine for most men (who are probably jacking up their trucks as we speak).
However, most of these perceptions just don’t make sense. Women can (and do) drive giant trucks and urban tanks, and a cute little car isn’t going to make a man any less manly. In fact, many of the most common ‘chick cars’ are actually phenomenal little vehicles, whether because of their safety standards, their surprising power, and their fuel economy, among other positive qualities. These twenty chick cars, in particular, are fantastic choices for any driver… maybe, just don’t get one in pink!
20 Audi TT
When it was first released in 1999, the Audi TT became known as a ‘chick car,’ with slightly more rounded lines than some other sports cars and a marginally less aggressive driving experience. But like the Mazda MX-5, it seems that the Audi TT’s reputation is based more on being slightly less ‘manly’ than similar cars than anything else. This isn’t one that'll be winning in the affordability or family-friendly stakes either; despite being a four-seater, there's essentially no leg room in the back. And it’s not a car with trunk space for the kid’s soccer gear. Instead, there’s a 211 bhp 2L engine to enjoy and no reason to listen to the Audi TT haters.
19 Smart ForTwo
This tiny little vehicle makes a selling point of its size, but for most men, the idea of driving something that feels like a PowerWheels toy just isn’t appealing. However, once you get past the inevitable jokes, this is a perfect car for the big city, especially in cities where parking is scarce. Trying to find a place to leave your truck on the streets of New York City is a test worthy for Hercules, but this tiny vehicle can slip into spots that most other cars don’t have a chance with. In addition, the Smart ForTwo is surprisingly roomy on the inside (although you won’t be moving house with it, by any means), and is consistently ranked among the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid vehicles, meaning that it’s going to save you money on gas and parking tickets.
18 Mini Cooper
In 2003, The Italian Job went a long way to making the Mini Cooper cool again, as a team of uber-cool thieves used the cars to pull off an epic heist… but it wasn’t quite enough to bump this iconic little car from the chick-car ranks. There’s no doubt that it’s an iconic vehicle, of course, but it’s also an incredibly cute one (especially with convertible options and a huge variety of color choices available). Then there’s the name itself... while the Mini Cooper is no longer the teeny-tiny car that it used to be (it’s the same size as most other small cars, in fact), many men just don’t want to be associated with the word ‘mini’!
17 Ford Fiesta
Like many others on this list, the Ford Fiesta doesn’t get its chick-car rep from anything particularly bad (or even for a specific look or style feature), but simply because it’s just so darn nice. The Fiesta is the ultimate middle-of-the-road small car, with decent fuel efficiency, an engine that'll keep you going (without being anything to write home about), and a completely inoffensive design. It’s also reliable and affordable, and that may be why some men hate this great little car; it lacks oomph or anything to make the driver stand out. However, that’s not a bad thing, and with some great tech features and options to upgrade the engine, the Ford Fiesta is a great car for anyone looking for a straightforward, fun vehicle to get you from a to b.
16 Mazda Miata
If ever there was a car that doesn’t deserve the scorn heaped on it for being a chick car, it would be the Mazda MX-5. Marketed as an affordable sports car, the Miata is a two-seater roadster that became known as a girly car for no real reason other than a certain style and an engine that wasn’t particularly powerful compared to other sports cars. However, it’s important to remember that while the Miata may not stack up to the true supercars available, it doesn’t need to in order to be a fantastic car to drive. Top speeds aside, it’s fun to drive, decently powerful, and definitely still has the kind of sports-car flair that everybody wants, regardless of gender.
15 VW Beetle
This hippie classic definitely embraces its feminine side with the inclusion of a vase in the dashboard, which is intended to represent the freewheeling ‘60s spirit of the car but actually just making it feel extremely girly. Add to that the extremely rounded and cutesy styling and the huge range of bright colors that the Beetle is available in (without expensive custom paint jobs), and it’s no wonder the Beetle has a reputation as a chick car. However, this iconic vehicle is a fantastic choice for anyone who just wants a small car that they can have a little fun with. VW reliability combined with a peppy engine (rather than anything too powerful) makes this a great car that isn’t just for the girls—use the vase to hold a stick of beef jerky if it bothers you that much!
14 Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 definitely suffers from the chick-car rep because of its size; like the Smart ForTwo, the Fiat 500 is a legitimately tiny vehicle. It’s also similarly rounded in design and just looks adorable—although it's slightly longer than the Smart ForTwo and seats four (although it’s a bit of a squeeze!). It’s not a particularly powerful car, with only a 101 bhp engine and a top speed of 107 mph, but it’s a great choice for city streets and tough parking and is solidly affordable and reliable. If nothing else, guys should feel comfortable driving this teeny-tiny vehicle because legendary F1 driver Michael Schumacher has one (albeit the turbocharged Abarth, which packs a lot more power).
13 Honda CRV
Unlike most of the cars on this list, the Honda CRV isn’t particularly tiny, curvy, cutesy, or any of the other attributes that usually define a chick car. However, it’s still a car that you’ll usually see with a woman behind the wheel, primarily because it routinely finds itself on the lists of cars recommended for busy moms. Second-row seating that can be split, a rear camera, power tailgate (for juggling grocery bags and babies, presumably), and a few little extras with a solid safety rating make the CRV a great compact SUV… but its success has also led to its mom-car reputation. Feel free to look past that, though—the same features make it a great car for hardware-store runs and camping trips, and it’s lacking the seat-back DVD screens that really scream ‘kid-friendly!’
12 Chevy Sonic
The Sonic has a reputation for being not only a ‘chick car’ but also the kind of car that a young and inexperienced girl would drive… thanks to a Chevy deal that incentivized parents buying the Sonic for young drivers. As a result of the deal, the low price, the incredible safety rating, and the overall cutesy ‘angry eyes’ styling of the Sonic, it’s developed a reputation as a car that college girls love… and that most guys wouldn’t be caught dead in. However, let’s take another look at those safety ratings: with no fewer than ten airbags as well as all the usual safety features, the Sonic has even won awards for its performance in crash tests, making it perfect for new drivers of any gender.
11 Toyota Rav4
There’s something about the phrase ‘compact SUV’ that tends to make dudes back away— who wants something ‘compact’? However, the Rav4 may be the most hated car in this corner of the market, thanks to the combined efforts of what seems like every name in rap. Kanye famously slams the car in the line ‘What you think I rap for, to push a f***in’ Rav4?’ But he’s not the only one to name and shame the Toyota Rav4 in lyrics. Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar… they all hate the Rav4. But other than the crime of being a reasonably priced and not-too-fancy car, the Rav4 is reliable, practical, and no cause for any real steering-wheel shame.
10 Honda Fit
There's no doubt that the Honda Fit is marketed primarily to women, and this family-friendly car lives up to its name in a lot of ways. For a small car, it fits a lot, like the trunk space that can fit a stroller or the ‘Magic Seat’ that splits to accommodate a range of passenger and cargo combos. It’s praised for reliability, affordability, and flexibility and for being a small car that feels bigger than it is—which are all fantastic reasons to drive a Fit, even if you aren’t a soccer mom. Like many of the other cars on this list, the Fit’s best bits are also the things that give it a girly rep, but flexibility and a car that feels bigger than it is are definitely attributes to appeal to men as well.
9 Hyundai Elantra
There’s a tendency for some to consider any car that's mid-range, reasonably priced, and generally inoffensive a ‘chick car.’ Women appreciate them, especially when they aren’t gearheads worrying about the size of the engine, and moms love the reliability and the fact that these are the kinds of cars that pop up on the ‘what car’ lists in women’s magazines. In short, there’s nothing particularly girly about them; they just appeal to women for being solid middle-of-the-road choices. The Hyundai Elantra is exactly this kind of car—reliable, affordable, aesthetically pleasing (without being too eye-catching), and easy to drive. Of course, it’s all those reasons that make it a great all-rounder for everyone, not just women.
8 Honda Civic
As far as gendering cars go, the Honda Civic tends to split drivers right down the middle. On the one hand, it’s just the kind of small-ish, reliable, affordable, perfectly respectable car that will get you from a to b with a minimum of fuss and a decent gas mileage… aka, a ‘chick car’ through and through. On the other hand, souped-up Honda Civics appear in the Fast and the Furious franchise, and that’s enough to make any car cool. The F&F seal of approval isn’t the only reason that men should feel comfortable driving a Civic, though. It’s a solid choice for anyone looking for something that’s fun to drive without breaking the bank—and that’s pretty much everyone!
7 Dodge Neon
The Neon gained its reputation as one of the ultimate chick cars in the '90s, when the low price and the cute, rounded styling meant that it was the choice of teenage girls everywhere. The marketing campaign had a lot to do with this, the tagline being a simple and cute ‘hi!’ The idea of a friendly car, and more than that, a nice car, took hold—and while the ad campaign was hugely successful in one respect, it also put off every dude who wanted their ride to be mean, tough, and cool… definitely not cute and rounded and waving a polite hello to people. Beyond the reputation, though, it’s a fairly standard small car that anyone can drive… if you need something second hand, that is, as the Neon hasn’t been produced for several years now.
6 VW Eos
This car may have been destined to become a girly car anyway (Volkswagon tends to have a rep for making chick cars no matter what), but VW definitely decided to steer into this particular skid by naming their convertible the "Eos"… aka the Greek goddess of the dawn. Naming a cute sporty car after a classical goddess is sure to put some off, and the fact the Jennifer Lawrence used to drive one didn’t help either. But the Eos shouldn’t be considered a car for the girls. The Eos has (as one of the options) a 2.0L engine with 200 bhp, solid handling, and a top speed of 130mph, making it a solid option for anyone looking for a convertible that won’t break the bank.
5 Lexus SC 430
Although Lexus as a brand doesn’t suffer from a bad (or girly) reputation, the SC 430 certainly does. The design itself isn’t overly feminine, at least, compared to other two-door, four-passenger sports cars… all of which can be considered a little bit girly. However, while the first generation of Lexus SC upheld all the best things about the Lexus brand (luxury, power, etc), the SC quickly went downhill from there. In The Worst Car In The History Of The World, James May pegged the SC 430 as the worst car ever built, complaining that the newer designs just didn’t live up to the Lexus name. Top Gear presenters aside, though, it’s still a Lexus, and there are far worse cars on the market!
4 Toyota Prius
Sadly, when it comes to ‘manly’ cars, most think of heavy-duty gas guzzlers, not environmentally friendly designs, and the Prius is possibly the world’s best-known hybrid vehicle. Unsurprisingly, for a car marketed to those people who want to save the planet, the Prius also lacks power, with a top speed of 114 mph and an agonizingly slow 0-60 in 10.5 seconds. At least the Prius isn’t as cutesy as most other chick cars, but the design isn’t exactly sexy either. However, when it comes to fuel efficiency, the Prius is obviously a phenomenal choice, and saving the environment is increasingly getting the recognition it deserves as a sexy (and gender-neutral) choice. For city drivers who don’t need to think about top speeds, the Prius is a solid choice to save more than just money.
3 Pontiac G6
When it comes to Pontiacs, you're more likely to consider the Sunfire a chick car… and we’re certainly not going to tell you to get behind the wheel of that mess! However, there’s another Pontiac that tends to be thought of as girly that definitely doesn’t deserve the rep: the G6. This solid car made history when Oprah gave one away to every member of her audience in 2004, shocking the world with her joyful shouts of ‘Everybody gets a car!’ As a result of the stunt, the G6 gained in popularity, but also tends to be thought of as a chick car—after all, the majority of the studio audience were women and were given their cars by one of the most famous women in the world.
2 PT Cruiser
When it comes to divisive cars, the PT Cruiser is always going to come up in conversations. There's no mistaking the unique look of this car, and while many hate it, it has the kind of nostalgic appeal that's often found in chick cars (like the Beetle or the Mini Cooper). It’s also a mild-mannered vehicle if ever there was one, with an engine that's neither ridiculously dinky or particularly powerful, making it a serious ‘mom’ car, at least in reputation. However, if you like the design of this unusual vehicle, there’s no reason not to embrace the ‘30s feel and the family-friendly nature of the Cruiser and not to enjoy driving around in something a little bit different.
1 Nissan Micra
Like the Mini, one of the biggest turn-offs when it comes to this car is the name; what self-respecting man wants to be associated with the word ‘Micra’? Beyond that, this cute little hatchback is just plain adorable, and with convertible options and an unimpressive engine, it’s easy to see why the Micra is considered such a feminine choice. However, like many of the other small cars on this list, not every male driver needs a beast under the hood or the ability to break every speed limit in North America. Little cars like this are popular in European cities with narrow streets and size limitations, and that same city-driving feel translates to the US—even for drivers who are dudes.