A car tends to be a choice here. A very complicated choice. You weigh your life priorities, what you intend to do with the thing, narrow it down to some few models, and then make a choice from that. If you are lucky you can walk onto a lot and just get what you want and not get robbed too badly.
I drive a Jeep Wrangler. Not a very efficient vehicle, but fun to drive. I don't have children, I rarely take anyone anywhere other than my dog. I got it because I had a friend who had one back in the 80s and really enjoyed the times I shared in it. So I bought my first and since I would take public transportation I would shrug off the 18 Miles To The Gallon it got, and drove it to places like the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Apple Pie Hill, Atsion Lake, and the "back way" to the Jersey Shore.
That Back Way could save hours and was an almost straight as an arrow shot through some thick forests of pine, on a Fire Trail that was unpaved at about 40 miles to the hour.
I don't drive much now, and I don't intend to. It does drink gas rather quickly by today's standards, but when I commuted it wasn't so expensive that it felt like the relative cost to the environment of buying new and efficient outweighed the fact that I have a nine year old car with 42,000 miles on it and can get at least another 10 years at this rate.
I just don't drive much.
Cars do tend to fit your personality though. I could have driven a long list of off road cars and for the little bit that I would go to the top of that Fire Tower at Apple Pie Hill so I could look at Atlantic City, see Philadelphia, and the lights of New York City from the same spot, all would have worked. The trails in New Jersey are very easy to drive and I did it once in Mom's old Cadillac Sedan De Ville.
There are some cars that blend into the background. The Automotive Equivalent of a Burqa. These cars tend toward the appliance mindset. I have to go somewhere, I need the room, and I'm going to do it while I cart about my stuff. Stuff could be the two-point-three children, the Car Pool, or just the little old man with a Fedora driving 45 in the fast lane on the interstate.
When I first learned to drive, we would be on the lookout for a "Hat Car". That would almost invariably be a Chevrolet Nova or Dodge Dart or similar. A Sedan car driven by that old man with a Fedora, or a little old lady who you would see the top of some blue hair and perhaps white gloves. Always driven way too slowly for traffic, and something to get around.
I don't really drive enough to see that sort of thing. I would notice that if you had an old Camry here, they almost invariably had a Haitian flag or a sticker from a small Caribbean or Latin American nation on it. Driving 35 in a 45 zone on Powerline Road in the Fast Lane and choking traffic back. The Modern Hat drives a 10 year old Toyota Camry or a similar Ford Taurus.
They can be boring but not really anonymous.
I have a neighbor about three houses down. I truly enjoy them, their children, and the times I've spent chatting with them were truly times well spent. They're wonderful people... they also drive a Burqa.
One of their vehicles are a Burqa. They also have a big Dodge Ram Pickup, a real "Cowboy Cadillac" of a thing to haul their Air Boat. It is Friday Morning and if they've got the day off, they'll be driving down the block shortly with the Air Boat in tow to go west to Weston and launch for a day of Fishing.
I'm jealous but I can't picture myself doing that. I'd be miserable slapping Mosquitos and getting everyone annoyed as I turn brown then red. Rehydrating yourself with Bud Ice can be fun though...
So what is this Automotive Burqa and why do I call it that?
They also have a Navy Blue Chrysler Grand Caravan. The Penultimate Minivan. It has a "Salt Life" sticker on the back and I have yet to figure out what that means. There are the stickers for each of the kids, a soccer ball sticker has been on it and a university logo from some local university that slips my mind.
Now, Mind You, I am sitting in my house low in the living room and while windows are open I can not see the street or their car down the block. I have a very vivid memory of that Burqa, er, car, and I also have a mental block.
You see every time it drives past me, I realize that some person in that car is waving at me. I can never put to mind who that person is. It always happens once they have completely passed me. I think it is the fact that the minivan is so much of the background of culture that this, the only one within blocks, just immediately falls into a black hole of my mind and I simply don't see it.
They're great people and I truly enjoy having them and their kids as neighbors but pile them in that big blue black hole and they're invisible!
I laugh at myself and am embarrassed to say, I just don't see them. Nice people though, and I'll have to tell them this story once I get past my own shyness...