By on May 8, 2011

It’s Mother’s Day, when a young man’s thoughts turn to the long-suffering woman who birthed and brought him up. Unfortunately, my mother is on a road trip today so I won’t be able to see her today, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss the cars our mothers lust after. In my case it’s easy: my Mom has been sighing over the Fiat 500 for years now, talking about the feisty little Italian in ways that I’ve rarely heard her use to describe cars before. A year ago she might have sprung for a Nissan Juke, but if I just got a big bonus and wanted to surprise her with a car, only one will do and that’s the Cinquecento. But the perfect present is about knowing what someone wants and then exceeding those expectations: in that spirit, I’d skip the basic Cinquecento and place an order for the just-announced 500 Cabrio. Between her aging Forester and dad’s Mk1 xB, the parents have practicality covered… what Mom wants is something small, efficient and reflective of her independence from the tyranny of child-rearing. So here’s to you, Mom, and here’s hoping someone who can actually afford it springs for that Cinquecento (no pressure, Dad). God knows you deserve it.

What car would you buy your mother today?

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63 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: What Car Would Your Mother Like?...”

  • avatar

    At 80 years old in my opinion, my mother shouldn’t be driving anymore. Her ’03 Camry is way too big for her and she has range of motion issues and rear bumper clearly showing the scars of this (and I shudder to think other car owners who come out later going WTF).

    I love you mom, happy mother’s day, you shouldn’t be driving.

  • avatar

    My 90 year old mother drives a dark blue 2008 Cobalt with all the options. She’s about at the stage where she needs to part with some of her liquid assets so she might yet buy one more car. She would probably buy a 500 if I could convince her that it was Dodge and it was made in America. But I know better than to lie to mom. She’s more likely to get into a Cruze, Fiesta or Focus.

    • 0 avatar

      What makes a Fiat foreign but a Mexican Fiesta with 10% US parts content OK?

      • 0 avatar

        Why don’t YOU try explaining the difference between a domestic and an imported vehicle to a non-enthusiast mother who happens to be over 70 years old?

        For most of us, when it comes to our “more mature” mothers we play along with their idosyncrises. First, they deserve it, and second, we know not how much time we have left to enjoy their wit, wisdom and love. I know that I’m not going to waste what remaining time I have with her arguing that the car she perceives as “Japanese” is actually more “American” than a Ford.

      • 0 avatar

        Buzzdog, if my mother (or for that matter, my late grandmother) ever read or heard me express the incredibly patronizing attitudes you seem to be displaying towards your mother, I’d catch an awful earful.

      • 0 avatar

        What you call “patronizing,” sir, I refer to as “not sweating the small stuff” or “being a respectful Southern gentleman.”

        If my mother feels she’s doing more to support the U.S. economy by buying a vehicle with a domestic nameplate, I hardly see how arguing the point with her makes me a better person.

  • avatar

    My mother has impeccable, timeless taste. This explains her choice of conveyances.

  • avatar

    “So here’s to you, Mom, and here’s hoping someone who can actually afford it springs for that Cinquecento (no pressure, Dad)”

    It’s Mother’s Day, not Wife’s Day. We clarified that in our relationship long ago.

    But if you should decide to actually ever act on your generous thought, wait until the automatic becomes available; she don’t do sticks. And stick with the hardtop; she hates even having a window open (hair). And it would have to be red, not white. Otherwise, you’re spot on.

    • 0 avatar


      The Fiat already is available with an automatic (many dealers are bringing in mostly automatic equipped Sports and Pops along with the auto only Lounge).

      As for color, definitely agree on the red but I’d have the sedan with 5spd stick and sunroof though. :-)

  • avatar

    When I was a teen, dad brought home a brand new 1992 Honda Civic sedan, Rosewood Brown. She LOVED that car, and was sad when it was replaced a couple of years later with a new Ford Windstar. If I could, I would find her another smallish yet comfortable car, in a light blue, her all-time favorite color.

  • avatar

    My mother’s last automobile was an Olds Cutlass V8, with a 4 barrel.She would neither understand, nor want one of today’s cars.

    • 0 avatar

      My Grandmother has always loved cadillacs, in partitiular the way the used to ride. She wants a car where the ride is floaty and the seats are luxurious and soft. She does not enjoy the modern firm sport-luxury suspensions at all. She wants a convertible caddilac that is not made anymore… anything convertible and modern is a sports car.

      converible = sports car

  • avatar

    A Fiat 124 Spider – brown with tan leather interior. It’s still the car she talks about the most, and it’s been over thirty years since she owned one.

  • avatar

    Earlier this year my mother bought a new Dodge Grand Caravan. This is the fifth one she has owned.[email protected]/5391152666/

  • avatar

    My mother loved her Porsche 924S, kept it for 17 years. I liked it too when I was in highschool. Eventually it became a maintenance nightmare, and parts that really shouldn’t have failed in a 40K mile car that spent its life covered failed. She replaced it with a BMW that doesn’t start when she decides to drive it. As far as she is concerned, the ride, handling, visibility and seats of the BMW are inferior to the Porsche’s. Now she is talking about a 2012 Honda Civic coupe, as she’s become envious of the way my father’s TSX hasn’t needed anything in 7 years and she liked my Civic Si sedan the 3 or 4 times she’s ridden in it. She could buy practically anything, including a Fisker Karma, as she pointed out when I was discussing subsidies of rich idiots’ follies. There just isn’t anything that excites her enough to spend the money. She won’t even get an Acura because the dealer has been worthless to deal with. Porsche basically declared that they didn’t need their 4 cylinder customers shortly after she bought her 924S, which pretty much turned her off as a customer for life. If they weren’t jerks, she’d probably have a PDK equipped Cayman or Carrera now.

  • avatar

    Right now, my 79 YO mother drives a red 2004 Dodge Stratus that she enjoys and bought when it was about a year old and is now paid for.

    But recently she loaned her car to my oldest sister for a month as she and her hubby were carless due to an accident that totaled their 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan and ended up renting a 2010 Hyundai Elantra and rather liked it as it was not quite as wide, nor as long as the Stratus but not overly small either. Nice looking but rather pedestrian in my view and it certainly did ride nice however.

    So if I could (which I can’t) I’d get her something in that size, but in red and as a 4 door sedan, perhaps the current Ford Focus would be a good compromise.

  • avatar

    Given that she’s 78, if I could afford to I’d give my mother a car with a chauffeur. God knows she deserves it.

    But were I to get her what she really wants, it would be a Mustang. She’s already owned three, and is now driving a Taurus wagon that was purchased to accommodate my late father’s wheelchair.

    • 0 avatar

      Since I am young, and by extension my mom is young, I would, if I had the means, buy her a Mustang. She’s always lusted after one. I would venture to guess that color or convertable/hardtop would be a non-issue. It would probably be a V6 as she tries to be frugal, sometimes, and it would be an automatic.

      She tried to learn how to drive a manual with my dad, but always got flustered and stopped. She also remembers when my dad would buy a manual for the simple fact that she couldn’t drive it.

    • 0 avatar

      My mother always wanted a red Mustang convertible.

      My brother-in-law buys and sells a lot of cars, and supplies his immediate family with vehicles at no cost to them. One spring day a few years back, he brought my mother a 2005 V6 Mustang convertible. She thought it was very pretty. She probably could have kept it for as long as she wanted, but in the end she had many reasons to be unimpressed with it and preferred her ’99 Sunfire GT. The Mustang was returned to him in the fall and she’s still driving the Sunfire. Now with over 160k miles, it has never let her down.

      She really likes the NSX and Evora that a couple of doctors occasionally drive to the hospital where she works, so those would be good extravagant options. She can drive a standard.

      I think I’d put her in a ’03 to ’08 TSX if I could. That’s a car she’d appreciate.

  • avatar

    Against my advice, my mother just got an Acura TL. She seems to be one of the few that likes the styling.

    She always drove GM cars because my dad did and still does work for GM. However, after they got divorced, she bought one the GM deadly sins, a 1986 Buick Somerset Regal. That thing fell apart. It was at the dealer every month for something. After that she bought a Honda Prelude (89 I think). She drove that car trouble free for over 100k miles and she was sold. She has had one Honda after another and recently has had a couple of Acuras. First a TSX and then the dreaded TL.

    • 0 avatar

      Ditto on the TL. At this stage Mom wanted luxury, but subtle luxury. Comfy leather, the latest gadgets, and reliability. Cheese slicer grill or not! The lease deals on these things, at least before the grill redesign, were criminally cheap.

    • 0 avatar

      Interesting, because the current Acura styling is the reason my mom doesn’t want to buy a TL. Her current ride is a 2003 TL that replaced her Passat but she groks shared platforms so she says if it died she would get a loaded Accord instead. She does like German cars and had a Rabbit convertible and drove a BMW 2000 in the 70’s but she’s an accountant and maintenance costs and reliability of Germana don’t pencil out anymore.

  • avatar

    2002 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL500 2dr Convertible (5.0L 8cyl 5A)

  • avatar

    My mom bought a 2010 Rav4 Limited, 4WD, V6 last year. I was telling her to get the 4cylinder, but she didn’t like the beige interior versus the gray interior in the V6. Anyway, she’s put about 20k miles on it and hasn’t had a single issue with it. It about 40% more efficient than the Explorer that it replaced. She absolutely loves it. So, while I’m sure she’d like some sort of convertible or sports car, I think she ultimately wants a car that fits a ton of stuff, works all the time, gets out of the driveway during the winter, and doesn’t chug the gas. The Rav4 is pretty perfect for her.

  • avatar

    In 1994, my mother bought a three-year old OldsmaBuick. In that same year, I bought a Suzuki Sidekick.

    In 2003, I sold my Sidekick because my growing family would not fit in it. In those same years, my mother owned three used OldsmaBuick.

    I bought an Element in ’03, which I still own today. My mother bought one more OldsmaBuick and then a used Cadillac.

    The dear thing still enjoys her mediocre built and designed GM iron with its wet sponge handling.

  • avatar

    She already has it, although if I could I’d give her a brand new one. She has a 2007 silver Volvo V50 T5 and says it’s her favorite car ever, replacing her former 1998 V70 GLT as her favorite car. Here’s to hoping it lasts forever, or close to it!

  • avatar

    At age 56 my mom loves Cadillacs. She’s on her 4th one now, a 2010 CTS sedan (Premium package, 3.6L, AWD) and I think it’s her favorite so far because of how nice it is to drive no matter what the road conditions are. I did lobby for the wagon but I can’t complain about the sedan.

    Of the past 3 (which were all ’92+ Sevilles) her favorite was the purple ’93 STS that was the main family car when I was in high school; the ’98 STS was too troublesome in its later years to be very enjoyable, and the ’92 Seville was totaled only a few years after we got it.

  • avatar

    Nice idea for a post, thanks.

    My mother’s usually been drawn to sporty-ish rides, and that hasn’t changed much over the years…she absolutely always refused to drive a station wagon, or a mini-van, couldn’t stand ’em.

    Some of her faves were her ’66 hunter green Mustang coupe while in college, a ’70 triple-black Grand Prix after that (which I can remember as a toddler, what a sweet ride) a plum/maroon ’78 280Z 2+2 (kids be damned, we got shoved in the back mini-buckets, but didn’t complain much, the car was too cool) and her ’95 green/tan leather Prelude SE (back when Honda still had its mojo).

    She’s got a silver ’00 SLK230 right now that she loves, one of her favorites ever…she’d love a newer one, but with the economy in the tank, that’s not gonna happen right now, though she’s thinking about a newer, lower mile (but still 1st gen SLK) as a replacement.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    My mom WOULD like a car with a chauffeur in it. At 75 and driving through the GWB and Long Island Expressway every weekend, it’s not getting any easier for her.

    I think she would like to have her 2003 Camry with leather seats. Even in my younger days I remember her needing a car with very user friendly handling. Everything she drove ended up with scrapes and multiple dents. An Audi 5000, Acura Legend, Acura Vigor, and the Camry have pretty much been her rides since 1984 or so. Come to think of it the Legend was a 1987 model so she may go through all of 3 cars in perhaps 30 years. The Camry still has low miles.

  • avatar

    1978 Camaro z/28.

  • avatar

    Mom’s 2006 Stratus has around 85k on it, she won’t be in the market for anything until my 13 year-old Niece takes the Dodge in a little while. She’ll buy the 200 or Avenger with the 3.6– she complains about a 4-cylinder not having enough power, but she rides this Stratus like a flippin’ rocket. SRSLY she only lets it shift when it gets to 5k RPMs.

    I’m steering her toward the Compass– it has the look of a Grand Cherokee with less mass for her waning skills. It is never prudent to mention, but that woman scares the heck out of me whipping a ‘sporty’ car around.

  • avatar

    Volkswagen Type 2

  • avatar

    My 65 Y/O Mom drives a ’06 Civic EX Sedan. She absolutely refuses to drive an auto, so it took a bit of searching (and waiting) to get her a manual trans car in the color she wanted. Not sure what she’ll do if she ever has to replace it, as Honda has given up on anyone who wants a M/T on an upper trim level car (except the Si which isn’t her cup of tea)

  • avatar

    My late mother’s taste was top of the line Chevrolet station wagons, wood trim and all. Period. Towards the end of her life, she (with a lot of dad’s influence) switch to Buick. A LeSabre diesel (which ran wonderfully for the two years they had it), then a Century Estate Wagon – the whole zoot: burgundy velour interior, fake wire wheels covers, and the inevitable wood grain.

    I inherited it, much to my disgust. Even more disgusting, it turned out to the one of the best running, most reliable, most comfortable cars I ever owned. Sometimes being cheap has its drawbacks.

  • avatar

    My mother’s all-time favorite car was her ’69 VW Beetle with the Automatic Stick-Shift. To this day, she can’t and wont drive a manual, yet she loved that little Volkswagen with its vacuum-operated clutch. The only car that came close was my ’02 Civic that she drove for a few years, after a series of ever-larger Camcords. Unlike my dad, for whom his numb, bloated ’05 has become the ultimate automobile, my mom loves small, nimble cars.

    She likes her ’11 CR-V Special Edition on principle (unlike my dad, who simply wont stop whining about all the reasons why he doesn’t like it), but she doesn’t enjoy driving it like the Civic or the Beetle.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Though my mother is merely 55 years old she’s the kind of woman/mother who would want to drive the highest rated vehicle mad by an American car company according to the National Institute for Highway Saftey. Oh and BTW it doesn’t need to be able to go any faster than the speed limit. (How can I share half her DNA? Sigh… The last time she was out to see me she actually said at one point; “Well you always were my little outlaw.”)

  • avatar

    If I bought her what she wants, it’d be a Mustang convertible.

  • avatar

    Mom always wanted a “baby Mercedes” aka R107 from the day they showed up on these shores. Sadly our family income never could support such a thing. The last car she had is a 1994 gold (OK, beige) Camry LE 2.2 which is now mine. She decided to sell it to me for a nominal sum last year after finally realizing that, not having driven for almost ten years, she was never going to drive again. She’s now 87, in great shape, and manages to get around OK without a car. I picked up the Cam in So Calif and after a jump-start and about a grand in service drove it back to Boston without a single issue, not bad for a car that had barely been driven 500 miles in ten years.

    But if she could still drive, I’d find a nice R107 and park it in her garage. I can so imagine her driving one down PCH, top down, scarf trailing in the wind…

  • avatar

    My mother has gone carless for several years, having chosen not to replace her Toyota Tercel when it expired. She is the ultimate A-to-B consumer: style, features, performance, and badge are completely unimportant to her. She would want something that simply starts every time and costs as little as possible to run. She does like hatchbacks, however, so I think I would buy her a Toyota Matrix.

  • avatar

    A dark green Range Rover.

  • avatar

    My mom’s third to last American car our family bought new was a 1977 Toronado. She says to this day it was the nicest, most luxurious car she’s had, but was a contributing factor to my family giving up on domestics due to it leaving her stranded more than once. It was a gift from my dad to her on a mother’s day for her years of schlepping my older siblings around in countless stations wagons.
    I would like to find a pale yellow one like hers was, and put in a reliable powertrain for her.

  • avatar

    My parents last automotive purchase, which was really an impulse buy on my mother’s part, which my father went along with, was (on June 29, 1999) a 1995 Volvo 940 wagon. They were on the automile, in Norwood, for reasons I can’t fathom, when she saw the thing in the lot of a Chrysler dealer. They really didn’t need another car at the time, because my mother had turned in her license several years earlier as she had become too crippled with MS to drive herself. (The excuse was that they needed two cars for all their stuff to go to the Cape for the summer, but it was really a lame excuse.) they had a ramp van into which she could drive her electric scooter.

    The wagon was really a symbol for her of when her kids were all 2-3 decades younger, in the house, etc. I’m not sure why she focused on a Volvo wagon, but it was certainly a good-looking, solid car. But I honestly don’t even know if she ever rode in that car. Maybe when they looked at it. But the last time she ever rode in a car was only two months later.

    Her oldest grandson still has that car.

  • avatar

    My mom loves her Mitsubishi Montero Sport. High position, good seating, lots of trunk, 4WD and bit tires. She wants an upgrade of that with greater gas mileage, or just more money in her pocket. A Lexus RX350 or RX400h I believe would give her lots to smile about, or a Highlander or RAV4.

  • avatar

    My late mother never drove, but she had a preference for cars that had a big back seat where she preferred to ride, could carry a lot of “stuff”, and could make a “long” trip (over 50 miles) on one full tank of gas. She died in ’82, but of all the family cars at the time, she most liked to ride in my sister’s ’77 Olds Vista Cruiser. If she were alive today, she’d probably prefer a Towncar.

  • avatar

    86 BMW 635, Current Mustang convertible or previous gen Jaguar XJ – probably in that order of preference and reverse order of likelihood.

  • avatar

    My mother, who will be 65 this year, was the one who got me into cars at an early age. I still remember her letting me shift for her in her 280ZX 2+2 when I was in the third grade. Once we got my sister driving (had to get her an automatic at first), Mom got back to her fun cars with the following: ’83 944, ’86 944 Turbo, ’86 911 Turbo, ’89 Carrera 4. She took a side trip into a couple of Jeep Grand Cherokees (’97 and ’01) and even took her first one on the Rubicon Trail Jeep Jamboree. She had a ’97 Boxster briefly, but it turns out she is a 911 snob and get rid of it. After that, she went boring with a Mercedes E320, and then settled into the fun but practical BMW X5. She likes that the X5 is quick (first one was 4.4, current is 4.8) and handles well (for a SUV) and can handle the grandkids as well (7 passenger seating in the current one). She swears she wants another air-cooled 911, but we’re pretty sure her not-so-solid knees wouldn’t like that floor-hinged clutch anymore…

  • avatar

    My mother would like a 1959 Ford Galaxie. I would be happy with the Fiat 500!

  • avatar

    My mom is a hoarder, so she’d probably LIKE a full-size van. It would really be best if she drove a Miata.

  • avatar

    Although my mom died in 1993, she drove until 1990 when her eyes began to fail her. She absolutely LOVED her 1979 AMC Concord! A neighbor ‘way down our street was just waiting for the “For Sale” sign to go on the window – he snapped it up immediately for $500.00! The only new car she ever had.

  • avatar

    A new C300. My mother has always, always settled for less for herself so that she could give to others in the family (or sacrifice years of personal freedom to take care of the elderly in our family). She drives a completely boring 2003 Corolla and I know she’d never spring for something like the MB. This next car purchase will be her last, and I truly wish we could do something to pamper her with her final ride. That, or for some reason, she just loves the PT Cruiser convertible…go figure…

  • avatar

    My 78 year old mother would like one of the last new Crown Victorias. After two of them (an 85 and a 93) it took a free Buick Lacrosse (courtesy of GM’s Hot Button contest in 05) to get her out of one. She likes the Buick, but she LOVED the Vics. But since she has all of about 14K miles on the 06 Lacrosse, she is set for awhile.

  • avatar

    My mother is 90 and in an Alzheimer’s care facility now, but her favorite car back in the day was a two tone dark blue over metallic blue 1981 Mustang Ghia. It was the first new car she got on her own at the age of 61 after my father passed away. She drove it for 9 or 10 years, after which she gave it to one of my nieces. Oma really didn’t know/care much about cars, but before Alzheimers took her memory away, if you asked her which car she liked best, she always mentioned the Mustang.

  • avatar

    She drove Camaros, but thinks the new ones are stupid looking.
    She is in a Focus SVT, and we have already shopped for a new 2012 Focus. She is planning on getting it this summer.

    She only drives American, and that means an American brand to you dummies who don’t know the difference between owning the plantation and working in it’s fields.

  • avatar

    Easy: *anything* with heated seats.

    I advised her to not settle for anything without them. As a result, she couldn’t be happier with her 2009 Honda Accord. Dad still grumbles “we didn’t need the leather or sunroof, but your mother just *had* to have those heated seats..”

    She just sits there and smiles.

  • avatar

    Well, I’m a mom and I remember when I was younger we lived in Germany (dad was in the Army). We had a little yellow Fiat and puttered around Germany, Holland and who knows where else in that thing. What made the trip so enjoyable (I use the term loosely) is that I was 3, my brother was 5 and we crammed into the car with my parents AND my grandparents. Can you say sardines?

    Now I have two kiddos of my own and I’d love a nice black BMW convertible to road trip in. Seeing as my kids are 11 and 9, I suppose I’ll have to wait a few years for them to get me one. :)

  • avatar

    Mom only drives Mopar minivans. Any color except bright red.

  • avatar

    What my mom really wants is a brand-new late 80s Toyota Tercel. She drove hers until it started becoming unreliable at about 250,000 miles. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that has what she’s looking for anymore: good gas mileage (the Tercel got 35 mpg city, 45+ highway), manual, hand-crank windows, some ground clearance without being a full-on SUV, 15 years of not needing anything but scheduled maintenance. The only cars that get mileage that good now are diesels and hybrids, and nothing but the cheapest of the cheap economy cars has hand-crank windows. Most vehicles with decent ground clearance are SUVs with mediocre mileage.

  • avatar

    Something small and stylish like this:

  • avatar
    A strolling player

    Even though three fifths of us have our own cars and licenses, and the fourth fifth also doesn’t live at home, my dear mum insists on a seven-passenger vehicle for the occasional family excursion. She currently drives a 2007 Mazda CX-9, Grand Touring, every option except AWD and rear-seat entertainment, and absolutely loathes the idea of owning another minivan (believe me, I’ve tried).

    Considering the near-unbelievable-considering-its-heft driving dynamics of the Mazzer, if anything, I’d buy her a 2011-model exactly-the-same-thing for the myriad interior and exterior improvements and the 20-horsepower bump, even though it doesn’t appear that they’ve bothered to upgrade the already-outdated-in-2007 nav unit. She likes the Explorer, but Loverman didn’t, I wouldn’t enjoy driving it as much (and I end up doing all the driving on those family excursions anyway), and MyFord Touch would be completely lost on her. The new Durango is a promising alternative, but I don’t think I could sell her on it after the maintenance nightmare that was her 1996 Grand Caravan.

    She’s been thinking about a five-passenger CUV for the not-too-distant future, though, and seems to like the SRX, despite my insistence that she consider the CTS wagon. I’d try to sell her on its upcoming Saab platform mate, but she’s reluctant to buy anything that doesn’t have a dealer in her suburb, much less in the metropolitan area. She’s also had an eye for the Nissan Z ever since each of her sisters owned one (and one owned three!) in the ’70s and ’80s, but that’s a good few years in the future.

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