Ever wondered why rural dwellers prefer noticeably different cars from their urban counterparts? The cliché is that rural inhabitants prefer trucks and SUVs, while urbanites prefer hatchbacks and sedans. The truth is that rural and urban car buyers live in completely different environments and lead completely different lifestyles, which, of course, means that their automotive needs are completely different as well.
Let’s tell a tale about two car owners: One lives in the congestion of the city, the other lives in the open countryside. One considers their vehicle as an option, the other considers it to be a resource. When a city dweller’s car breaks down, runs out of gas or is parked someplace they can’t remember, they can take a bus, call a cab or get a Car2Go or ZipCar membership. But if someone from the country is without a vehicle, their options for getting around are limited at best – much more limited than you may think.
When you look at the stats presented by Newspaper Canada, the cost for transportation is approximately 12 per cent higher in rural areas, with gasoline and fuel expenditures being 4 per cent higher annually than in heavily-populated urban areas. Automobiles are an integral part of rural living, which means that when someone from the country purchases a vehicle, there are a few factors to consider:
Point A is Further from Point B
On average, a Canadian living in a rural area will travel 33 kilometres more to a supermarket than their city counterpart. In addition, they will travel 54 kilometres more to a car dealership, 37 kilometres more to a local department store and 56 kilometres more to a discount store.
Running errands simply takes more effort and mileage when you are not in an urban area. However, getting stuck in stop-and-go traffic is also less common. So, when every outing is a little road trip, rural car buyers will need to consider a vehicle that has good highway fuel economy and a reliable engine that won’t give up.
Weather Conditions May Apply
When snow falls in the city, ploughs and salt trucks take to the road and clear the path for commuters. When snow falls in the countryside, you can rather wait for rescue or beef up your vehicle so it can take on Mother Nature.
Regardless of where you live in Canada, the unpredictability of weather causes many car owners to consider the performance of their vehicle. People demand their cars to handle rain, snow and storm. Because of this mentality, some drivers choose to rely on trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with four-wheel drives as opposed to sports cars.
Admit it, you’ll probably feel a lot more comfortable driving through a storm in a Ford Explorer than you would in a family sedan.
Rough Roads, Rugged Terrain and Lack of Maintenance
Constructions, repairs and regular maintenance can often drive commuters nuts. However, for rural car buyers, the grass is greener on the other side.
The further the road is from the city core, the less attention it’ll get. Resources are often spread heavily where the population is the most dense. So, oftentimes, a gravel road within a rural neighbourhood will be so low on the priority list that potholes and trenches will form over time, which can cause damages to a vehicle not built for off-roading.
Variety is the Spice of Life and a Lifeline
Due to limited space and expensive parking spots, most household garages and condo underground parking lots in the metropolitan areas can only occupy one to two cars – if they can afford it. But in rural areas, car owners can have a whole line-up of vehicles.
Rural car owners may travel further to get to a car dealership, but they also visit them more frequently. Excluding regular services, 13 per cent of car owners in rural areas will visit a dealership more than three times in a year. Whereas, only 7 per cent of urban car owners will visit it more than three times.
Having several spare cars is not only a luxury for car owners in the country, it is also an insurance knowing that if, say, a truck is not performing appropriately, they can still count on the SUV or the sedan.
Living in a rural area with one vehicle is like having one pair of shoes for every occasion.