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5 vehicle types Americans hate

Your vehicle says something about you. And if you drive a lifted 4x4 or ride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, some people may not like what it’s saying.

That’s according to a new Insure.com/Op4G survey that asked 1,000 respondents which specialty vehicle types they find the most appealing – and which they find the most obnoxious.

The vehicle choices were:

  • Sports cars
  • Classic muscle cars
  • Luxury SUVs
  • Electric/hybrid cars
  • Subcompact cars
  • Lifted 4x4s
  • RVs
  • Harley-Davidson motorcycles
  • Sport bikes
  • Hummers
  • Van conversions
  • Mopeds/scooters
  • Low-rider cars or trucks
  • Rat rods

Perhaps not surprisingly, the type of vehicle respondents cited as most appealing was sports cars. Electric/hybrid cars were the No. 2 choice, and classic muscle cars, luxury SUVs and RVs rounded out the top five.

Yeah, but I drive an Accord

However, when asked if they owned the type of vehicle they found most appealing, only 34 percent of the survey’s sports car enthusiasts said they actually own a sports car. Just 18 percent of the respondents who chose electric/hybrid cars as the most appealing actually own an electric or hybrid car.

Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for Insure.com, notes that while electric and hybrid cars may seem practical because they burn little or no gasoline, they are often more expensive to buy and more expensive to insure than their conventionally powered counterparts – a fact that may deter otherwise interested buyers.

“When we look at insurance costs by model, electric and hybrid cars sometimes cost up to 20 percent more to insure than similar, gas-powered cars,” Gusner says. “And they’re commonly more expensive to purchase too – sometimes in excess of 50 percent.”

Overall, 27 percent of respondents said they own the vehicle type they chose as most appealing.

As for the most obnoxious …

On the other end of the survey, many of the vehicle types people cited as most obnoxious come with their own downsides – not the least of which may be the unfriendly glances they get from other drivers in traffic.

Here are the five vehicle types most cited as obnoxious in the Insure.com survey.


Sport bike5. Sport bikes

These race-inspired motorcycles boast a power-to-weight ratio that scarcely any automobile can touch, which means these motorcycles can navigate traffic at a pace – and volume – that is virtually all their own.

Five percent of respondents, however, do not feel that their remarkable performance makes them any less worthy of scorn.


Harley-Davidson motorcycle4. Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

Harleys, with their low signature rumble and unmistakably American pathos, have been synonymous with rebellion for decades (despite being co-opted by white-collar types in recent years).

But for at least 8 percent of respondents, it’s not necessary to visit Sturgis, South Dakota, in August to feel like they’ve seen too many of these iconic cruisers.


Low-rider truck3. Low-rider cars and trucks

Despite their numerous appearances in classic hip-hop videos and an eponymous anthem (War’s 1975 “Lowrider”), these ground-hugging rides aren’t for everyone – including 10 percent of respondents.

After all, creating a low rider requires some dramatic chassis modifications to the vehicle – and a complex system of hydraulics if the driver wants to navigate speed bumps with any confidence.


Hummer2. Hummers  

How deep is America’s love/hate relationship with the Hummer? This extra-wide, extra-thirsty SUV still ranks No. 2 on this list even though the last Hummer rolled off the assembly line in 2010.

For 15 percent of respondents, the ensuing five years have done little to dull their hatred of the original over-the-top SUV.


Lifted 4x41. Lifted 4x4s

Yes, the ample ground clearance of a lifted 4x4 can be useful in some off-road settings.

Yet 16 percent of respondents do not believe this justifies the downsides of these high-rolling machines, which can include poorer gas mileage (when compared to a regular truck), cabs that are hard to enter and exit, and an inability to sneak beneath all but the tallest parking-structure ceilings. They also can cost more to insure.


You wouldn’t understand, man

While a lot of drivers may revile the lifted pickups, Harleys and low-riders they encounter in traffic – more than 50 percent of respondents expressed contempt for one of the five vehicle types above – these machines’ countercultural nature is undoubtedly part of what drives owners to choose them in the first place.

“Not many of the vehicles on this list could be considered strictly practical,” says Gusner. “Many of them come with terrible gas mileage, awful car insurance rates or other serious shortcomings. But that’s part of what makes them different from everything else on the road.”

Photos: Flickr/Brian Snelson, Flickr/Doug Wertman, Flickr/Don O'Brien, Flickr/Joi Ito, Flickr/Lifted Trucks USA

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