Psychology of car driving – does enjoyment depend on price?

Do people enjoy driving expensive, luxury cars significantly more than cheaper, more functional versions? Research shows that people imagine they will do so and report that they do enjoy it more if asked about their driving in general. The reported enjoyment level correlates with the price they paid for the car. However, when asked about how they felt the last time they drove their car, there is no difference in reported enjoyment between cars unless the occasion happened to be a ‘joy ride’ rather than a functional one.

It looks like enjoyment is only actually higher when the driver is focused on the car rather on where they are going or the task in hand or any of the normal things people think about when driving from A to B.

Fortunately for car dealers, a driver will enjoy the test drive in a luxury product because they will be focused on the car! But in daily driving conditions, it emerges that such car-focused episodes are rare.

So, remember when choosing between the expensive luxury car or the standard one, you may think you’ll enjoy it more but for most of your driving time, it won’t make any difference to your actual enjoyment level at all – but you’ll certainly report to others (and believe yourself) that, in general it does.

About Alison Kidd

Research Psychologist
This entry was posted in Psychology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s