Flappers. Beatniks. Hippies. Hipsters. The media never tires of creating new terms for members of the Younger Generation. In the old days, those terms often had a negative connotation, but now that the Internet gives the younger generation the power to participate in the media, those terms tend to be less openly hostile. The current younger generation generated quite a bit of hostility in the auto press a while back, with headlines declaring things like “Millennials don’t like ____ (cars, shopping for cars, taking care of cars, driving, etc.).” More recent headlines question those older ones, suggesting Millennials do like cars and driving, but think cars and driving are different than they used to be. We prefer the sound of those recent headlines, and we agree that cars and driving are changing radically.
Dating for millennials is also changing, apparently, but one thing hasn’t: The vehicle you use to pick up a romantic partner and and take him or her out on a date will have a big impact on that date. So in the interest of finding news ways to satisfy old needs, here are 10 vehicles we think would be perfect for 10 new types of millennial dates. We hope you have a great Valentine’s Day, millennial or not.
Millennials care more about what they eat than their parents did, and this concern has rejuvenated interest in fresh, local produce and farmer’s markets. A luxury crossover might be the best vehicle for a produce-shopping trip to Whole Foods, but a trusty old pickup would work much better for a farmer’s-market date. A 1980s Ford Ranger will be quite a bit smaller than a modern full-size pickup, but as long as you don’t plan to bring home prize-winning giant pumpkins, that shouldn’t be a problem. And the fact that the Ranger was discontinued by Ford, giving GM the opportunity to sell tons of its reborn Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, gives it a little of the retro-styliness of vinyl records, waxed moustaches, cat-eye glasses, and old-fashioned cocktails.
We understand the world’s fascination with coffee and its preparation and consumption. We are, however, puzzled as to how fermenting tea via a “symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast” or SCOBY (or just plain yuck) became so popular. But a huge global fanbase has made kombucha commonplace even on convenience-store shelves. Of course, a convenience store’s no place for a proper date, so if you want to enjoy some fine artisanal kombucha with your honey, you’ll want to find a nice, romantic café and arrive in a classy two-seater. Something Italian with plenty of pep, like the Alfa Romeo 4C, might be right for a coffee date, but for kombucha, you’ll probably want less excitement and more comfort. How about a Volkswagen Eos? It can’t match the motivational power of the 4C, but it’s way more comfortable, and it’ll still let you and your honey put a little wind in your hair.
Everyone wants their date to think they’re adventurous, so why not show off your outdoorsy and athletic disposition by bringing your date along rock climbing? Of course, if you’re going to be adventurous enough to climb some rocks, you need to bring along a rig like the Subaru Crosstrek. Subaru has built its reputation as the go-to brand for young, active, and adventurous drivers who don’t want to give up the comfort and safety they’re used to in today’s cars. It’s rugged and robust enough to almost compete against the more utility off-road vehicles, like the Jeep Wrangler, while maintaining the comfort and style you would find in an Impreza. So whether you know a good boulder to climb or if your gym has a decent indoor facility, throw your gear in your Crosstrek and get ready to show off your strength and finesse by blowing past your date on the 5.3 climbing route.
What better way to get to know someone than reveling in the spiritual exercise of yoga? You can practice mindfulness while also watching your partner struggle with Child’s Pose. If you need some wheels to get you to and from the studio, we recommend the Buick Enclave. Available in many neutral colors (and, um, “Crimson Red Tintcoat”), and featuring Buick’s waterfall grille, the Enclave will pleasantly isolate you and your date from the noise of the outside world. Buick uses its QuietTuning engineering process, which includes laminated glass and other noise-deadening materials, to lower noise pollution to world-class standards. What better vehicle in which to reflect on your execution of Downward Dog?
Well, if yoga isn’t lively enough for you, maybe you should consider bringing your date to a square-dancing hootenanny. Yeah, seriously. You’ll definitely score some points for originality. Yes, square-dancing has an association with the 1960s Western United States, country music, and overly romanticized cowboys, but square-dancing was a widely practiced exercise. In fact, square-dancing is the official state dance (because that’s a thing) of 19 states, including Massachusetts. Despite its association with traditionalism, conservatism, and old-timey styles, square-dancing has resurfaced a bit recently. So why not just hop in a Ford Ranchero with your date and prepare to dance around in a square? The Ranchero is the perfect complement to the cowboy hat and boots you’re sure to wear. The old utility coupe will fit right in with your western aesthetic, and we think your date will appreciate your effort in completing the look.
Listen, millennials, music festivals may seem like a fun date, but they can also be extremely disgusting. If you want to woo your date with a three-day music-infused camping trip to Big Cyprus, make sure you’re not planning to live out of a tiny Honda Fit. The Fit may be practical, but there’s no getting around the close quarters, especially when bathrooms and showers are at a premium. Instead, we’d recommend the Pontiac Aztek. Yeah, yeah, we know it’s not the best looking car around, but it’s incredibly spacious, and the rear of the car can be fitted with a tent — perfect for camping out with your date during Phish’s next festival.
With the bloat of modern blockbusters, such as the gratuitous special effects and unnecessary use of 3D, there is no question as to why indie films have gained more attention from a wider audience. Movies like “Garden State,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “Juno” have driven lower-budget, independent films into the mainstream consciousness and often become favorites among millennials. But even these smaller films and festivals continue to rise in price. Why go to an actual movie theater or festival and spend all that cash (you have all those student loans to pay, after all), when you have two perfectly good TVs in the back of your Chrysler Pacifica? You can host your own private indie film festival with the Pacifica’s Uconnect Theater rear-seat entertainment system and its two 10-inch HD televisions. Sounds like a better movie-going experience than most theaters.
We are in the midst of an American craft-beer renaissance that is being driven by an influx of millennial beer drinkers and their taste for non-mainstream beverages. Craft-brew festivals are a common occurrence in areas with a good number of breweries, so chances are bringing a date to one of these gatherings wouldn’t be a bad time. Whether you’re going to show off your own brews or bring home some of the local talent, the Honda Element will get you, your date, and your beer where you need to go. The tall and boxy crossover offers some 75 cubic feet of cargo space, and if you spill beer or break any bottles, you can just hose off the Element’s plastic interior no problem. So stick it to Inbev with your signature pumpkin peach pale ales and your 20% ABV imperial porters. We’re sure your date will appreciate it.
Here’s the thing about the millennial generation: the mainstream just isn’t that interesting anymore. The NFL may be the most popular (and powerful) league in American sports, but the comparatively obscure MLS draws more millennials than any other demographic. If you wanted to take your date out to Bryant Denny Stadium for a tailgate before the Iron Bowl, we might suggest something like the Honda Ridgeline — it’s big and spacious and has a water-tight storage compartment built into the bed. But instead, you bought your date tickets to the Colorado Rapids’ opening game. Since soccer carries more of a European flair than what you’d find down in Tuscaloosa, we’d recommend tailgating with a distinctively European option. The MINI Cooper Clubman is big enough for you and your date and incredibly stylish. Plus, its rear barn doors will provide easy access once you’re in the parking lot.
America’s new enthusiasm for food trucks may have as much to do with rising rents as with millennials’ interest in funky foods. And given millennials’ can-do attitude and desire to share their hobbies with the world, we think actually operating a Food Truck would be a better millennial date than dining in someone else’s. But today’s engine bays include fewer usable cooking surfaces and a lot more black plastic than they once did, which makes today’s engines better for re-heating than for cooking. And if you’re going to serve re-heated food, you’ll want to insist on great atmosphere and easy cleanup in your food truck, no? Honda’s Odyssey minivan has a downright luxurious interior and an adjustable second row that will let eager eaters give themselves a little more side-to-side room after enjoying a great meal. And the Odyssey’s built-in HondaVac will make cleaning your food truck after dinner just as easy as pie.
Which car is perfect for your upcoming date?
-John Harrington, Matt Smith, and Steve Halloran
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Used Ford Ranger
Used Volkswagen Eos
Used Subaru Crosstrek
Used Buick Enclave
Used Ford Ranchero
Used Pontiac Aztek
Used Honda Element
Used MINI Cooper Clubman